Tag Archives: Chromebooks for Education

Creative tools on Chromebooks foster skills of the future



(Cross-posted on the Google for Education Blog.)

Editor's note: Earlier today we announced four new ways to help teachers engage their students using Google tools. This post dives deeper into one of the four announcements: creative apps on Chromebooks. If you’re at ISTE in Denver, visit us at booth #2511 in the expo hall to learn more and demo these apps.

Skills of the future 

In 2015, Google commissioned research from the Economist Intelligence Unit to better understand the skills students need to be successful in the future workplace. In addition to literacy and numeracy, the research uncovered a wider range of skills — including problem-solving, teamwork, communication and creativity — that are most sought after by employers.

“It’s increasingly rare for someone to sit in the office with the door closed and do tasks individually,” says Kaitlyn Manchester, ELA Teacher at Muller Road Middle School in Blythewood, South Carolina. “There’s a need to come together as a team to get something done. If you leave school and you don’t have these skills, it’s difficult to do your job in the modern workplace.”

Creative apps on Chromebooks

With this inspiration in mind, we’re on a mission to discover Chromebook tools that can be seamlessly integrated into classroom life, while also fostering skills of the future. We reached out to teachers in Chromebook classrooms and collaborated with EdTechTeacher to identify Chromebook apps that nurture these skills. Three creative apps consistently bubbled up as loved by teachers and students alike: Explain Everything, Soundtrap and WeVideo.

To see these apps in action in the classroom, we visited Muller Road Middle School in Blythewood, South Carolina:


During our visit, students used WeVideo’s collaborative video creation tool in English Language Arts to edit documentaries about a flood that ravaged their town. In Science, they used Soundtrap’s spoken word and music-making platform to create public service announcements about how hand-washing kills germs. And in Math, they used Explain Everything’s interactive whiteboard to animate their thinking about histograms.


“With creative apps on Chromebooks, students bring ideas to the table I never thought of,” says Tryphena Cuffy, 6th grade science teacher at Muller Road. “They are not limited; they combine concrete and abstract thought, and that’s when they shine.”

Finding student voice

A classroom that nurtures creativity often results in students taking different approaches to interacting with the same curriculum. “There are some students who are happy to express themselves verbally. There are others who prefer to write. There are students who don't like to have their face shown, but they’re more than happy to explain their ideas. With these apps, you can help everyone focus on their strengths,” says Bailey Triplett, Muller Road’s AVID Teacher.

Tom Cranmer, Chief Technology Officer at Richland Two School District confirms, “Students want to work with digital content. They want to create. They want to pull in multimedia resources that they can use to create their world and create their stories. This helps them take ownership of their learning and keep them engaged throughout.”

Good things come in threes

To make these creative apps on Chromebooks more accessible to a wider range of school districts, we worked closely with our Chromebook partners to create a special price when all three apps are purchased as a bundle. They may be purchased alongside Chromebooks or on their own, and they are available as an annual subscription per license from Chromebook resellers in the US.

And we’re just getting started. We look forward to working with teachers and partners to bring even more 21st century tools into the classroom.

To learn more about these apps, visit g.co/educhromebookapps, check out the apps’ websites, or contact your school’s Chromebook reseller.

Creative tools on Chromebooks foster skills of the future


Editor's note: Earlier today we announced four new ways to help teachers engage their students using Google tools. This post dives deeper into one of the four announcements: creative apps on Chromebooks. If you’re at ISTE in Denver, visit us at booth #2511 in the expo hall to learn more and demo these apps.

Skills of the future 
In 2015, Google commissioned research from the Economist Intelligence Unit to better understand the skills students need to be successful in the future workplace. In addition to literacy and numeracy, the research uncovered a wider range of skills — including problem-solving, teamwork, communication and creativity — that are most sought after by employers.

“It’s increasingly rare for someone to sit in the office with the door closed and do tasks individually,” says Kaitlyn Manchester, ELA Teacher at Muller Road Middle School in Blythewood, South Carolina. “There’s a need to come together as a team to get something done. If you leave school and you don’t have these skills, it’s difficult to do your job in the modern workplace.”

Creative apps on Chromebooks
With this inspiration in mind, we’re on a mission to discover Chromebook tools that can be seamlessly integrated into classroom life, while also fostering skills of the future. We reached out to teachers in Chromebook classrooms and collaborated with EdTechTeacher to identify Chromebook apps that nurture these skills. Three creative apps consistently bubbled up as loved by teachers and students alike: Explain Everything, Soundtrap and WeVideo.

To see these apps in action in the classroom, we visited Muller Road Middle School in Blythewood, South Carolina:
During our visit, students used WeVideo’s collaborative video creation tool in English Language Arts to edit documentaries about a flood that ravaged their town. In Science, they used Soundtrap’s spoken word and music-making platform to create public service announcements about how hand-washing kills germs. And in Math, they used Explain Everything’s interactive whiteboard to animate their thinking about histograms.

“With creative apps on Chromebooks, students bring ideas to the table I never thought of,” says Tryphena Cuffy, 6th grade science teacher at Muller Road. “They are not limited; they combine concrete and abstract thought, and that’s when they shine.”
Finding student voice
A classroom that nurtures creativity often results in students taking different approaches to interacting with the same curriculum. “There are some students who are happy to express themselves verbally. There are others who prefer to write. There are students who don't like to have their face shown, but they’re more than happy to explain their ideas. With these apps, you can help everyone focus on their strengths,” says Bailey Triplett, Muller Road’s AVID Teacher.

Tom Cranmer, Chief Technology Officer at Richland Two School District confirms, “Students want to work with digital content. They want to create. They want to pull in multimedia resources that they can use to create their world and create their stories. This helps them take ownership of their learning and keep them engaged throughout.”

Good things come in threes
To make these creative apps on Chromebooks more accessible to a wider range of school districts, we worked closely with our Chromebook partners to create a special price when all three apps are purchased as a bundle. They may be purchased alongside Chromebooks or on their own, and they are available as an annual subscription per license from Chromebook resellers in the US.

And we’re just getting started. We look forward to working with teachers and partners to bring even more 21st century tools into the classroom.

To learn more about these apps, visit g.co/educhromebookapps, check out the apps’ websites, or contact your school’s Chromebook reseller.

Updates from ISTE: 4 new tools to help teachers do what they do best



(Cross-posted on the Google for Education Blog.)


Editor's note: This week our Google for Education team will be joining thousands of educators at the annual ISTE conference. Follow along here and on Twitter for the latest news and updates.


Teachers are great communicators, collaborators, creators and critical thinkers. It takes a teacher to empower students with these skills and create the leaders of our future. As technology becomes an increasingly integral component of our classrooms, the role of teachers becomes even more important.

Today at ISTE, we’re announcing four more ways for these everyday heroes to engage their classes and empower their students using Google tools. Look out for a deeper dive on each of these launches on the blog throughout this week.

Bring curriculum to life: introducing the Expeditions app
Since we launched the beta Expeditions Pioneer Program in September of 2015, more than one million students across 11 countries have taken one of our virtual reality trips. Today, we’re making Expeditions available to everyone. To get started, all teachers need to do is download the Expeditions app onto a set of devices. With more than 200 Expeditions to choose from, students can journey far and wide, learning from immersive new experiences. Our content offering has also grown and now includes Expeditions made by established educational content providers including Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Pearson is beginning work on Expeditions content as well. The app is available today for Android and will be available for iPhones and iPads soon.

While Expeditions can be used with many of the devices schools or students already have — either smartphones with Google Cardboard or tablets in 2D full screen mode — Best Buy Education will also be making Expeditions kits available for schools to purchase. These kits will contain everything teachers need to bring their classes on amazing Expeditions: a tablet, virtual reality viewers and a router to connect them all. Kits are available for pre-order and will ship in time for back-to-school. We’ll also publish clear specs for partners interested in working with us to create their own kits.
Empower student-driven classrooms: Google Cast for Education 
Collaboration is key to student success, but in most classrooms today the biggest screen in the room is out of reach for students. If students want to share their screens with the class, they have to physically connect their devices to the classroom projector. When teachers present, they’re tied to the projector at the front of the room. Educators are eager to overcome this barrier, so much so that wireless screen sharing for schools was one of the top features requested by teachers in 2015.

Today we’re announcing Google Cast for Education, a free Chrome app that allows students and teachers to share their screens wirelessly from everywhere in the classroom. Cast for Education carries video and audio across complex school networks, has built-in controls for teachers and works with Google Classroom so it’s easy to invite your students. And because the app runs on the teacher’s existing computer, it doesn’t require new hardware. Teachers run the Cast for Education app, and students can share their screens with the existing Cast feature in Chrome. Check out the Cast for Education video.
Teacher view (click to enlarge) 
Student view (click to enlarge)
Accelerate the feedback loop: Quizzes in Google Forms
Getting feedback early helps students learn and teachers teach. Starting today, Quizzes in Google Forms will allow teachers to auto-grade multiple choice and checkbox questions — so teachers can spend less time grading and more time teaching.

Teachers can also add review materials in the form of explanations, supplemental websites or review videos — so students can get quick, actionable feedback. Plus, teachers can get instant feedback on student progress, so they know which lessons need more explanation and what to teach next. We’ve also added a common request from educators to disallow students from sending themselves a copy of their responses.
Ignite student creativity: creative apps on Chromebooks
We’re on a mission to discover Chromebook tools that foster skills of the future, including problem-solving, digital literacy, leadership and creativity. We listened to teachers in Chromebook classrooms and collaborated with EdTechTeacher, and we’re excited to announce a collection of creative apps on Chromebooks that schools can purchase as a bundle.

Explain Everything, Soundtrap and WeVideo are creative apps that help students demonstrate their understanding of curriculum through their own unique voice. We’ve worked closely with our partners to offer these apps to schools at a special price when all three apps are purchased together. They may be purchased alongside Chromebooks or on their own, and they’re available as an annual subscription per license from Chromebook resellers in the US. Contact your school’s reseller to learn more.


Students use creative apps at Muller Road Middle School in South Carolina (watch video here)

Look out for a deeper dive on each of these product updates on the blog throughout this week. If you’re at ISTE in Denver, visit us at booth #2511 in the expo hall to demo these tools. And check out our sessions — taking place in room #103 — where educators and Googlers will be giving short presentations throughout the conference.

Updates from ISTE: 4 new tools to help teachers do what they do best

and
Cyrus Mistry, Lead Product Manager, Devices and Content, Google for Education

Editor's note: This week our Google for Education team will be joining thousands of educators at the annual ISTE conference. Follow along here and on Twitter for the latest news and updates.

Teachers are great communicators, collaborators, creators and critical thinkers. It takes a teacher to empower students with these skills and create the leaders of our future. As technology becomes an increasingly integral component of our classrooms, the role of teachers becomes even more important.

Today at ISTE, we’re announcing four more ways for these everyday heroes to engage their classes and empower their students using Google tools. Look out for a deeper dive on each of these launches on the blog throughout this week.

Bring curriculum to life: introducing the Expeditions app
Since we launched the beta Expeditions Pioneer Program in September of 2015, more than one million students across 11 countries have taken one of our virtual reality trips. Today, we’re making Expeditions available to everyone. To get started, all teachers need to do is download the Expeditions app onto a set of devices. With more than 200 Expeditions to choose from, students can journey far and wide, learning from immersive new experiences. Our content offering has also grown and now includes Expeditions made by established educational content providers including Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Pearson is beginning work on Expeditions content as well. The app is available today for Android and will be available for iPhones and iPads soon.

While Expeditions can be used with many of the devices schools or students already have — either smartphones with Google Cardboard or tablets in 2D full screen mode — Best Buy Education will also be making Expeditions kits available for schools to purchase. These kits will contain everything teachers need to bring their classes on amazing Expeditions: a tablet, virtual reality viewers and a router to connect them all. Kits are available for pre-order and will ship in time for back-to-school. We’ll also publish clear specs for partners interested in working with us to create their own kits.
Empower student-driven classrooms: Google Cast for Education
Collaboration is key to student success, but in most classrooms today the biggest screen in the room is out of reach for students. If students want to share their screens with the class, they have to physically connect their devices to the classroom projector. When teachers present, they’re tied to the projector at the front of the room. Educators are eager to overcome this barrier, so much so that wireless screen sharing for schools was one of the top features requested by teachers in 2015.

Today we’re announcing Google Cast for Education, a free Chrome app that allows students and teachers to share their screens wirelessly from everywhere in the classroom. Cast for Education carries video and audio across complex school networks, has built-in controls for teachers and works with Google Classroom so it’s easy to invite your students. And because the app runs on the teacher’s existing computer, it doesn’t require new hardware. Teachers run the Cast for Education app, and students can share their screens with the existing Cast feature in Chrome. Check out the Cast for Education video.
Teacher view (click to see larger) 
Student view (click to see larger)

Accelerate the feedback loop: Quizzes in Google Forms
Getting feedback early helps students learn and teachers teach. Starting today, Quizzes in Google Forms will allow teachers to auto-grade multiple choice and checkbox questions — so teachers can spend less time grading and more time teaching.

Teachers can also add review materials in the form of explanations, supplemental websites or review videos — so students can get quick, actionable feedback. Plus, teachers can get instant feedback on student progress, so they know which lessons need more explanation and what to teach next. We’ve also added a common request from educators to disallow students from sending themselves a copy of their responses.
Ignite student creativity: creative apps on Chromebooks
We’re on a mission to discover Chromebook tools that foster skills of the future, including problem-solving, digital literacy, leadership and creativity. We listened to teachers in Chromebook classrooms and collaborated with EdTechTeacher, and we’re excited to announce a collection of creative apps on Chromebooks that schools can purchase as a bundle.

Explain Everything, Soundtrap and WeVideo are creative apps that help students demonstrate their understanding of curriculum through their own unique voice. We’ve worked closely with our partners to offer these apps to schools at a special price when all three apps are purchased together. They may be purchased alongside Chromebooks or on their own, and they’re available as an annual subscription per license from Chromebook resellers in the US. Contact your school’s reseller to learn more.

Students use creative apps at Muller Road Middle School in South Carolina (watch video here)

Look out for a deeper dive on each of these product updates on the blog throughout this week. If you’re at ISTE in Denver, visit us at booth #2511 in the expo hall to demo these tools. And check out our sessions — taking place in room #103 — where educators and Googlers will be giving short presentations throughout the conference.

How one teacher discovered the perfect teaching tool: a business

Posted by Melissa Horwitz, Marketing Manager, Google for Education

(Cross-posted on the Google for Education Blog.)

Editor's note: Teachers are uniquely inspiring people. It takes a teacher to engage students, bring the classroom alive and turn classroom concepts into lifelong passions. We’re thrilled to celebrate everyday heroes like Matt from High Tech High, whose story is below, at ISTE this year in Denver. If you’ll be at the conference, stop by booth #2511 in the expo hall to demo the latest Google for Education tools. We’ll also be sharing over 50 presentations from educators and Googlers in room #103.


San Diego’s High Tech High encourages its teachers and students to think outside the box. Instead of traditional curricula, the school emphasizes experiential projects and student-teacher equality, like using teachers’ first names in the classroom. These are some of the many reasons why Matt Martin has been teaching chemistry there for 4 years. In keeping with High Tech High’s interdisciplinary approach to learning, Matt’s students aren’t just amateur chemists — they’re entrepreneurs-in-the-making who use knowledge from all of their classes to take on classroom challenges.

Matt wants his students to learn about the real-world applications of chemistry, not just the contents of their textbooks. Matt and his students work together on projects, like the Mad Scientist program, which gives students the opportunity to design their own experiments. When one student had the idea of making soap with sodium hydroxide, otherwise known as lye, Matt saw the potential to turn a one-time experiment into a full-fledged business. All the students needed was a name. They came up with the Wicked Soap Company, an e-commerce business dedicated to handcrafted soaps. With help from some real-world scholars, John Cahalin and Elyse Burden, Wicked Soap Company has grown into a self-sustaining enterprise. While initially only 20 percent of the soap students produced was usable, the class has boosted the number to 80 percent over time.

Matt’s students love working for Wicked Soap Company. It has encouraged them to take pride in the uniqueness of their education. “The soap project was an amazing experience and was the first time I had ever done anything like it,” said one of Matt’s tenth-grade students. “ I became a business strategist, selling soap to people from all around the world and informing them about something that separates us from all chemistry classes.”
Matt Martin, chemistry teacher at High Tech High

A formula for success 

Students were so eager to get involved with Wicked Soap Company that Matt decided to extend the project over multiple semesters. Matt’s 50 chemistry students — and dozens more supporting the company — rely on technology like Chromebooks and Google Apps for Education that let everyone participate and learn together. As technology becomes increasingly vital to education, the guidance and instruction teachers like Matt provide has never been more important.

Many of Matt’s students have also discovered the intersection of their skills and interests. By merging students’ various interests — whether it’s in math or English — Matt created a classroom experience like no other. “I’ve learned so much more than just science, or making soap,” said another tenth-grader, “I’ve also learned about the dynamics of entrepreneurship. There was nothing more satisfying than watching people buy and admire something that I made.” Students haven’t just earned experiences, though — they’ve earned profits.
Student from Matt's class making soap
With Matt’s guidance, students have enthusiastically used Wicked Soap’s profits to give back to their community. They’ve donated over 1,000 bars to local homeless shelters. Students also purchased a motorized wheelchair for a senior student who would attend UC Irvine in the fall. When a community member’s house burned down, students donated all of their income the next day in support. It hasn’t been all work and no play for Wicked Soap’s staff, though. Students have gone on outings they wouldn’t have been able to attend otherwise, like a trip to see the Padres take on the Rockies.

There’s no doubt Matt takes an unconventional approach to teaching chemistry, and students are more engaged in the subject as a result. “I walked into this class knowing nothing about chemistry,” said one of Matt’s students. “Now I feel like I have learned so much and am more interested in chemistry. I even want to do experiments on my own time now that I have been introduced and shown how to run an experiment.”

Wicked Soap Company, the fruit of Matt’s Mad Scientist program, shows how it takes a teacher to create engaged, successful students. As a chemistry teacher, Matt didn’t just teach how to make solutions and compounds — he showed his students how to discover their passions.
Wicked Soaps, almost ready for sale
If you’ll be at ISTE in Denver, come visit our Booth #2511 in the Expo Hall and our Session Room #103 to hear more stories like this one.

How one teacher discovered the perfect teaching tool: a business



Editor's note: Teachers are uniquely inspiring people. It takes a teacher to engage students, bring the classroom alive and turn classroom concepts into lifelong passions. We’re thrilled to celebrate everyday heroes like Matt from High Tech High, whose story is below, at ISTE this year in Denver. If you’ll be at the conference, stop by booth #2511 in the expo hall to demo the latest Google for Education tools. We’ll also be sharing over 50 presentations from educators and Googlers in room #103.

San Diego’s High Tech High encourages its teachers and students to think outside the box. Instead of traditional curricula, the school emphasizes experiential projects and student-teacher equality, like using teachers’ first names in the classroom. These are some of the many reasons why Matt Martin has been teaching chemistry there for 4 years. In keeping with High Tech High’s interdisciplinary approach to learning, Matt’s students aren’t just amateur chemists — they’re entrepreneurs-in-the-making who use knowledge from all of their classes to take on classroom challenges.

Matt wants his students to learn about the real-world applications of chemistry, not just the contents of their textbooks. Matt and his students work together on projects, like the Mad Scientist program, which gives students the opportunity to design their own experiments. When one student had the idea of making soap with sodium hydroxide, otherwise known as lye, Matt saw the potential to turn a one-time experiment into a full-fledged business. All the students needed was a name. They came up with the Wicked Soap Company, an e-commerce business dedicated to handcrafted soaps. With help from some real-world scholars, John Cahalin and Elyse Burden, Wicked Soap Company has grown into a self-sustaining enterprise. While initially only 20 percent of the soap students produced was usable, the class has boosted the number to 80 percent over time.

Matt’s students love working for Wicked Soap Company. It has encouraged them to take pride in the uniqueness of their education. “The soap project was an amazing experience and was the first time I had ever done anything like it,” said one of Matt’s tenth-grade students. “ I became a business strategist, selling soap to people from all around the world and informing them about something that separates us from all chemistry classes.”
Matt Martin, chemistry teacher at High Tech High

A formula for success 

Students were so eager to get involved with Wicked Soap Company that Matt decided to extend the project over multiple semesters. Matt’s 50 chemistry students — and dozens more supporting the company — rely on technology like Chromebooks and Google Apps for Education that let everyone participate and learn together. As technology becomes increasingly vital to education, the guidance and instruction teachers like Matt provide has never been more important.

Many of Matt’s students have also discovered the intersection of their skills and interests. By merging students’ various interests — whether it’s in math or English — Matt created a classroom experience like no other. “I’ve learned so much more than just science, or making soap,” said another tenth-grader, “I’ve also learned about the dynamics of entrepreneurship. There was nothing more satisfying than watching people buy and admire something that I made.” Students haven’t just earned experiences, though — they’ve earned profits.
Student from Matt's class making soap
With Matt’s guidance, students have enthusiastically used Wicked Soap’s profits to give back to their community. They’ve donated over 1,000 bars to local homeless shelters. Students also purchased a motorized wheelchair for a senior student who would attend UC Irvine in the fall. When a community member’s house burned down, students donated all of their income the next day in support. It hasn’t been all work and no play for Wicked Soap’s staff, though. Students have gone on outings they wouldn’t have been able to attend otherwise, like a trip to see the Padres take on the Rockies.

There’s no doubt Matt takes an unconventional approach to teaching chemistry, and students are more engaged in the subject as a result. “I walked into this class knowing nothing about chemistry,” said one of Matt’s students. “Now I feel like I have learned so much and am more interested in chemistry. I even want to do experiments on my own time now that I have been introduced and shown how to run an experiment.”

Wicked Soap Company, the fruit of Matt’s Mad Scientist program, shows how it takes a teacher to create engaged, successful students. As a chemistry teacher, Matt didn’t just teach how to make solutions and compounds — he showed his students how to discover their passions.
Wicked Soaps, almost ready for sale
If you’ll be at ISTE in Denver, come visit our Booth #2511 in the Expo Hall and our Session Room #103 to hear more stories like this one.

Canberra Public Schools use Chromebooks and Google Apps for Education to help students to "Learn, Anywhere"


(Cross-posted on the Google for Education Blog.)

Editor's note: Today’s guest author is Daniel Bray, Program Manager, eLearning, for the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Education Directorate. A former teacher, Bray initiated a districtwide digital program, which brought Chromebooks and Google Apps for Education into all Canberra public schools. The “Learn, Anywhere” program has since been recognised at the federal government level as a finalist for the national eGovernment Excellence awards for Project and Program Management. You can read full the full ACT case study here.


I work for the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Education Directorate, which serves 45,000 students from preschool through year 12 in the 87 schools comprising the Canberra Public School system. In 2013, the Directorate launched a district wide digital transformation program with the goal of empowering students to "Learn, Anywhere.”
Students at Amaroo School, a 'super' school in the Canberra district, that has classes from Kindergarten to Year 12
While we were thrilled at the prospect of helping students learn both inside and outside of the classroom, making this goal a reality came with it’s own unique set of challenges. Our first step was to bring all of Canberra Public Schools into a single, centralised network. We soon realised that our learning management system didn’t scale, and that many schools’ laptops were beyond obsolete. A group of our students, frustrated with computer log-in times, sent our CIO an assignment that recorded log-in times of up to 7 minutes on multiple laptops. That was one of our 'a-ha' moments, and since then, we've taken every effort to use student feedback to inform our overall program strategy.

When we realized that we needed to overhaul the district’s entire technology infrastructure, Chromebooks and Google Apps for Education (including Google Classroom) stood out as a clear choice for us.
Primary students at Amaroo School collaborating on a class project
Chromebooks were affordable and intuitive; Google Apps would let students work from anywhere, on any device; and Google Classroom would let teachers share assignments, track student progress and grade papers — all without printing a single piece of paper.

In 2014, we ran a pilot test with 208 Chromebooks and Google Apps in four primary and secondary schools. During the pilot, the students using Chromebooks and Google Apps experienced super quick logon times and went from 2GB of network storage to enjoying unlimited Google Drive storage. As a Directorate, we couldn’t have been happier with the results: the pilot was a huge success for students, parents and teachers. Most importantly, Google was the choice selected by the schools. Not me. Not the CIO. The schools.

Based on that pilot, in 2015 we decided to roll out Google Apps accounts for all teachers and 32,000 students across the Canberra Public Schools. We also purchased 4,500 Chromebooks (and counting) for schools across the district.

Today, we equip students and teachers with a “Digital Backpack” that comes with Google Classroom and Google Apps, all available in one dashboard. Students get a single login and password for their Google accounts, which stays with them from primary through secondary school.

It’s amazing to watch student learning portfolios grow from year to year. Families can track student development and celebrate achievements, and teachers have a richer, more holistic view of student progress.

By adopting Chromebooks and Google Apps districtwide, we’ve greatly improved the way our students share ideas, give peer feedback and collaborate with each other, in real time. These intuitive and helpful technologies have helped us achieve and exceed our “Learn, Anywhere” vision.


You can read full the full ACT case study here.

Canberra Public Schools use Chromebooks and Google Apps for Education to help students to "Learn, Anywhere"



Editor's note: Today’s guest author is Daniel Bray, Program Manager, eLearning, for the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Education Directorate. A former teacher, Bray initiated a districtwide digital program, which brought Chromebooks and Google Apps for Education into all Canberra public schools. The “Learn, Anywhere” program has since been recognised at the federal government level as a finalist for the national eGovernment Excellence awards for Project and Program Management. You can read full the full ACT case study here.

I work for the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Education Directorate, which serves 45,000 students from preschool through year 12 in the 87 schools comprising the Canberra Public School system. In 2013, the Directorate launched a district wide digital transformation program with the goal of empowering students to "Learn, Anywhere.”
Students at Amaroo School, a 'super' school in the Canberra district, that has classes from Kindergarten to Year 12
While we were thrilled at the prospect of helping students learn both inside and outside of the classroom, making this goal a reality came with it’s own unique set of challenges. Our first step was to bring all of Canberra Public Schools into a single, centralised network. We soon realised that our learning management system didn’t scale, and that many schools’ laptops were beyond obsolete. A group of our students, frustrated with computer log-in times, sent our CIO an assignment that recorded log-in times of up to 7 minutes on multiple laptops. That was one of our 'a-ha' moments, and since then, we've taken every effort to use student feedback to inform our overall program strategy.

When we realized that we needed to overhaul the district’s entire technology infrastructure, Chromebooks and Google Apps for Education (including Google Classroom) stood out as a clear choice for us.
Primary students at Amaroo School collaborating on a class project
Chromebooks were affordable and intuitive; Google Apps would let students work from anywhere, on any device; and Google Classroom would let teachers share assignments, track student progress and grade papers — all without printing a single piece of paper. In 2014, we ran a pilot test with 208 Chromebooks and Google Apps in four primary and secondary schools. During the pilot, the students using Chromebooks and Google Apps experienced super quick logon times and went from 2GB of network storage to enjoying unlimited Google Drive storage. As a Directorate, we couldn’t have been happier with the results: the pilot was a huge success for students, parents and teachers. Most importantly, Google was the choice selected by the schools. Not me. Not the CIO. The schools.

Based on that pilot, in 2015 we decided to roll out Google Apps accounts for all teachers and 32,000 students across the Canberra Public Schools. We also purchased 4,500 Chromebooks (and counting) for schools across the district.

Today, we equip students and teachers with a “Digital Backpack” that comes with Google Classroom and Google Apps, all available in one dashboard. Students get a single login and password for their Google accounts, which stays with them from primary through secondary school.

It’s amazing to watch student learning portfolios grow from year to year. Families can track student development and celebrate achievements, and teachers have a richer, more holistic view of student progress.

By adopting Chromebooks and Google Apps districtwide, we’ve greatly improved the way our students share ideas, give peer feedback and collaborate with each other, in real time. These intuitive and helpful technologies have helped us achieve and exceed our “Learn, Anywhere” vision.

You can read full the full ACT case study here.

3 ways independent schools can implement new technology without raising tuition



(Cross-post noted on the Google for Education Blog.)

Editor's note: Small schools are seeing great success with Google for Education tools. We spoke with educators and administrators from smaller schools and districts across the United States to better understand how technology has helped them innovate, create more efficient processes and make a positive impact on their students. This is the first in a series of posts that explore the impact and successes of small schools. To learn more about using Google for Education tools in independent schools, visit us here

Teachers and staff at smaller schools are experts at stretching resources and keeping close tabs on expenses. For independent schools, it’s important that tuition remains affordable. Historically, bringing new technology solutions into classrooms has presented a tough choice for these schools: buy new devices and software and raise tuition, or maintain tuition while settling for out-of-date technology that doesn’t position students well for the future. Today, schools are discovering that technology can not only be affordable, it can also help teachers and staff save time and increase productivity.

Keeping tuition affordable

St. Jude Catholic School in Indianapolis maintained the balance between technology upgrades and affordable tuition by introducing Google Classroom and Chromebooks to their students and faculty. Google Apps for Education, a suite of productivity and collaboration tools that includes Google Classroom, is free for schools, and Chromebooks cost a fraction of what other tablets, desktops and laptops cost. “We’re a tuition-based school, so having the ability to expose our students to advanced technology, such as cloud computing, without drastically increasing tuition is a huge benefit,” says Joe Shelburn, principal at St. Jude Catholic School.
At Lake Catholic High School in Mentor, Ohio, school leaders faced a similar situation: they wanted to buy laptops for every student, but were concerned their budget wouldn’t stretch. “We didn’t have enough state funding to cover the entire cost — the purchase had to come out of the school budget, and we didn’t want to raise tuition to do it,” says Taylor Smith, the school’s technology coordinator. Chromebooks quickly became the school’s top choice for its 1:1 program, since they didn’t break the budget starting at $149 per device. Chromebooks are also easy for the school to maintain. Quite simply, they don’t have many technical issues, and any issues that arise are easy to fix. They’re also light and sturdy, making them easy for students to carry.

Limiting time spent on paper-based tasks to spend more time on student programs 

Time is another precious resource — particularly at schools where staff members wear multiple hats. As is the case with many educators, teachers at Jackson Preparatory School in Jackson, Mississippi, regularly dedicate time outside of the classroom to grading papers and coaching sports teams. Laura Bishop, head of IT at Jackson Prep, says, “We’re always looking for ways to give our teachers more time to be involved with their families and community.”

When the school switched from legacy software to Google Apps for Education, teachers no longer needed to spend hours on time-consuming tasks like printing and organizing paper assignments. “I’ve dramatically reduced the amount of time I spend in front of the paper copier this year,” says Hunter Upchurch, a Spanish instructor at Jackson Prep, noting that worksheets and quizzes can now be shared through Classroom. The saved time not only gets put back into student programs like sports and music, it helps teachers reduce their “homework”— so they have more time to spend with friends and family when they go home for the day.

Giving IT more time to focus on strategic projects 

When teachers and staff are able to shift away from the slower, paper-based processes that once ate up their time, they make room in their busy schedules to work on projects that would normally be pushed to the backburner, or on creating spectacular lessons for their students. Modern, easy to use technology like Google Apps for Education and Chromebooks can also help IT staff save time on things like computer maintenance and training, so they can focus instead on solving more strategic, challenging problems.

Switching from desktops and legacy software to Chromebooks and Google Apps for Education has allowed Joe Schultz, tech support specialist at Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein, Illinois, to reduce the amount of time spent fixing PCs, maintaining their old Microsoft server and troubleshooting tech issues. “I’m less busy solving technology-related problems than I was a few years ago,” Schultz says. He plans to devote the saved time to projects like improving network efficiency.

Schools like the above are adopting classroom technology that not only helps keep tuition affordable, but also allows teachers and staff to do more with their limited time. Here are 3 ways you can do the same at your school:
  1. Shop around: There are many devices on the market, so find the ones that meet your students’ unique needs. For example, tablets can work well for younger students who can’t yet type on a keyboard, while laptops may be suitable for older students who spend a lot of time on research.
  2. Automate what you can: Use online tools to eliminate admin tasks that waste time — like copying worksheets or grading paper exams 
  3. Look to the cloud: Reduce IT maintenance, training time and overall costs with easy to use and easy to manage cloud-based solutions. 
Is your school saving time and money by getting creative with technology? We’d love to hear your tips. Share your story below or on Twitter and tag us (@GoogleEdu) or include the #GoogleEdu hashtag.

3 ways independent schools can implement new technology without raising tuition



Editor's note: Small schools are seeing great success with Google for Education tools. We spoke with educators and administrators from smaller schools and districts across the United States to better understand how technology has helped them innovate, create more efficient processes and make a positive impact on their students. This is the first in a series of posts that explore the impact and successes of small schools. To learn more about using Google for Education tools in independent schools, visit us here.

Teachers and staff at smaller schools are experts at stretching resources and keeping close tabs on expenses. For independent schools, it’s important that tuition remains affordable. Historically, bringing new technology solutions into classrooms has presented a tough choice for these schools: buy new devices and software and raise tuition, or maintain tuition while settling for out-of-date technology that doesn’t position students well for the future. Today, schools are discovering that technology can not only be affordable, it can also help teachers and staff save time and increase productivity.

Keeping tuition affordable 


St. Jude Catholic School in Indianapolis maintained the balance between technology upgrades and affordable tuition by introducing Google Classroom and Chromebooks to their students and faculty. Google Apps for Education, a suite of productivity and collaboration tools that includes Google Classroom, is free for schools, and Chromebooks cost a fraction of what other tablets, desktops and laptops cost. “We’re a tuition-based school, so having the ability to expose our students to advanced technology, such as cloud computing, without drastically increasing tuition is a huge benefit,” says Joe Shelburn, principal at St. Jude Catholic School.
At Lake Catholic High School in Mentor, Ohio, school leaders faced a similar situation: they wanted to buy laptops for every student, but were concerned their budget wouldn’t stretch. “We didn’t have enough state funding to cover the entire cost — the purchase had to come out of the school budget, and we didn’t want to raise tuition to do it,” says Taylor Smith, the school’s technology coordinator. Chromebooks quickly became the school’s top choice for its 1:1 program, since they didn’t break the budget starting at $149 per device. Chromebooks are also easy for the school to maintain. Quite simply, they don’t have many technical issues, and any issues that arise are easy to fix. They’re also light and sturdy, making them easy for students to carry.

Limiting time spent on paper-based tasks to spend more time on student programs 

Time is another precious resource — particularly at schools where staff members wear multiple hats. As is the case with many educators, teachers at Jackson Preparatory School in Jackson, Mississippi, regularly dedicate time outside of the classroom to grading papers and coaching sports teams. Laura Bishop, head of IT at Jackson Prep, says, “We’re always looking for ways to give our teachers more time to be involved with their families and community.” When the school switched from legacy software to Google Apps for Education, teachers no longer needed to spend hours on time-consuming tasks like printing and organizing paper assignments. “I’ve dramatically reduced the amount of time I spend in front of the paper copier this year,” says Hunter Upchurch, a Spanish instructor at Jackson Prep, noting that worksheets and quizzes can now be shared through Classroom. The saved time not only gets put back into student programs like sports and music, it helps teachers reduce their “homework”— so they have more time to spend with friends and family when they go home for the day.

Giving IT more time to focus on strategic projects 

When teachers and staff are able to shift away from the slower, paper-based processes that once ate up their time, they make room in their busy schedules to work on projects that would normally be pushed to the backburner, or on creating spectacular lessons for their students. Modern, easy to use technology like Google Apps for Education and Chromebooks can also help IT staff save time on things like computer maintenance and training, so they can focus instead on solving more strategic, challenging problems.

Switching from desktops and legacy software to Chromebooks and Google Apps for Education has allowed Joe Schultz, tech support specialist at Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein, Illinois, to reduce the amount of time spent fixing PCs, maintaining their old Microsoft server and troubleshooting tech issues. “I’m less busy solving technology-related problems than I was a few years ago,” Schultz says. He plans to devote the saved time to projects like improving network efficiency.

Schools like the above are adopting classroom technology that not only helps keep tuition affordable, but also allows teachers and staff to do more with their limited time. Here are 3 ways you can do the same at your school:

  1. Shop around: There are many devices on the market, so find the ones that meet your students’ unique needs. For example, tablets can work well for younger students who can’t yet type on a keyboard, while laptops may be suitable for older students who spend a lot of time on research.
  2. Automate what you can: Use online tools to eliminate admin tasks that waste time — like copying worksheets or grading paper exams 
  3. Look to the cloud: Reduce IT maintenance, training time and overall costs with easy to use and easy to manage cloud-based solutions. 
Is your school saving time and money by getting creative with technology? We’d love to hear your tips. Share your story below or on Twitter and tag us (@GoogleEdu) or include the #GoogleEdu hashtag.