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Patience and Progress

As we reach the end of a super productive, high energy week, it is crazy to think about how much progress was made over such a short period of time.

It started with patience...
Last spring, we started to prepare for the beginning of this school year. Anticipating our new 1:1 Chromebook environment, we worked through the spring and summer in order to create Hyperdocs, slides, and videos to introduce our chosen Google Essentials to students. If we want them to successfully use these devices to learn, we need to model effective practices and provide opportunities to grow as digital learners. On Monday and Tuesday, we added 20 minutes to the first two class periods in order to introduce a new Google Essential: Chrome, Classroom, Drive, and Keep. With this, teachers were asked to take time away from instruction and facilitate these activities. In addition, all students were asked to have their Chromebooks, fully charged, and actively use them to explore these essentials. The scary part...nearly 4,000 students trying to utilize the same websites and resources at the same time. We were optimistic but knew we could run into some problems...

Well...unfortunately, due to numerous issues, the problems we encountered were worse than expected. Teachers and students struggled to connect and access the materials, and the time provided quickly passed without an opportunity to actually dig into the content created.  As I visited classroom after classroom, I was extremely proud of our staff as they shrugged off the problems and rolled with the punches...which is not easy to do in this type of situation. started with patience.

While challenging, we learned quite a bit during this process and found that despite our initial problems during Google Essentials, most students are utilizing their Chromebooks in class with little to no problems. Teachers are excited about the activities they are trying in their classes and are eager to share them and ask questions. The energy is contagious, and it is refreshing to see teachers step out of their comfort zones in order to try new things, especially after experiencing a rough start to the process.

Mrs. Laura Dabezic, for example, one of our English teachers, made it a goal this year to utilize Google Classroom with her English classes. She attended a session during Institute Day, took copious notes, and got her Classroom pages up and running for the first day of school. She was nervous about the process but not scared enough to give it a try. After working through some initial issues, she came into our office at the end of the week genuinely excited about her progress with Google Classroom. She created an assignment, all of the students completed the assignment, and she let them take the lead by presenting what they created in front of the class. Google Classroom made this process easy because "everything is right there." Her next task....grade the assignments in Classroom and return them to the students. As I explained this process to Mrs. Dabezic, her eyes lit up with ideas for the future. It was awesome.

Laura's willingness to take a risk in her classroom was extremely motivating and made all of the struggles from the beginning of the week disappear from my mind. Progress. We are making progress and will continue to do so as we move forward and focus on our students. According to Laura, "If I can do it...anyone can do it!"