CULLOWHEE (February 24, 2015)—Educators gathered together at the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching January 26–29 in Cullowhee to learn more about Google Chromebooks—ahead of the rollout of the devices in Davidson County Schools.
Instructors from Martin County and Transylvania County, which have had similar rollouts of the devices, were on hand to share tips and answer questions. Greg Cline, chief technology officer for Davidson County Schools, says the school system has a three-year plan for dispersing the small laptops.
A Chromebook is a laptop running Google’s Chrome OS as its operating system. The devices are designed to be used primarily while connected to the Internet, with most applications and data residing “in the cloud.”
Lisa Adams, the technology facilitator at Martin County Schools, was a presenter at the program and had previously led a group from her school district in studying Chromebooks at NCCAT’s Ocracoke campus.
“We are trying to go as paperless as we can,” Adams said. “We have some teachers who have taken to it and some who are unsure. It helps to experience something like this. It makes it easier for teachers to see how this will be used. They see how much time it saves to be connected in Google Docs and be able to collaborate when you can. If you just show them, it will not happen. You have to show them and let them do it. That is what we’ve done here.”
Vera Cubero, the instructional technology facilitator for Transylvania County Schools and authorized Google Education Trainer who presented at the program, said being together in one setting helps educators grasp
how to teach a 21st century skill of collaboration with 21st century technology like Chromebooks.
"The main thing for teachers is having time to explore the technology,” Cubero said. “They need hands-on training. I remember as a teacher we would sometimes have someone come in and show us a new technology, but for it to really be used we need time to try it and be sure what it was before we introduced it to the classroom. We’ve been given time with the tools to see exactly how they would be used.”
Cline, who was in Cullowhee for the program, said that in a larger county like Davidson it is hard to come together and get on the same page. “This has been a great success for us being at NCCAT. We’ve had the chance to hear how other educators in North Carolina have used the technology in the best way possible.”
NCCAT Senior Digital Learning Specialist Jonathan Wade helped bring the groups together and took part in the sessions in Cullowhee.
“The Davidson County event serves as strong evidence that NCCAT programs can be a meaningful part of any district’s efforts in digital learning,” Wade said.
Maria McGhee, Instructional Program Specialist at Davidson County Schools, said the time and help that NCCAT provided lining up instructors from other parts of the state who have experienced Chromebook rollouts will be a huge advantage in her school system’s efforts.
“We brought two separate teams—our Instructional Technology Facilitators and Instructional Coaches,” McGhee said. “After coming here we are focused on creating collaboration between the two teams. I believe getting on the same page here is going to help us do great things for the students of Davidson County Schools.”