Teachers learn latest Google classroom tools

6:26 PM, Aug 13, 2013   |    comments
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LOUISVILLE - When Jonathan Wright starts school this fall semester, he wants to be ready to utilize all of his classroom resources effectively, So, he is one of 300 attendees from schools across Colorado at the Google in Education Rocky Mountain Summit.

"You have Google Apps. You have online. You have sharing docs," Wright, teacher at Boulder High School, said. "I can be at home helping a student co-edit their paper."

Wright teaches language arts to freshman. He says the ability to use free software provided by the internet giant Google is revolutionizing the classroom.

"Just by the very nature of limited resources, we have to share and communicate and figure out how to do things sort of smarter and more efficiently," Wright said.

The Boulder Valley School District is hosting the Google in Education Rocky Mountain Summit at Monarch High School in Louisville. BVSD Educational Technology Manager Kelly Sain says teachers must keep up with the digital nature of today's students.

"We have to figure out how to make that be active within our classroom," Sain said. "So, it does transform. You know, it gives students a voice."

But, Sain says, expanding digital learning means expanding digital capabilities, too.

"We just upgraded all of our Wi-Fi. So, we are able to do that," Sain said.

She envisions more students submitting more work online, through classroom wide forums provided by programs created by Google. She sees students in Boulder working with students around the state through the online networks.

"I would like to see our kids connect with somebody in (Denver), to connect with somebody in Colorado Springs. So, they're actually doing authentic learning," Sain said.

While teachers like Wright learn from trainers from the Google in Education team and other instructors from around the nation, he says they also learn from themselves.

"Talking with a woman from Idaho of how are you rolling this out? The other thing is, how do you get people to change?" Wright said. "These side conversations, you know, the personal one-on-one, that's where the change really starts."

For his language arts instruction, Wright says he sees value in having his students publish their work on the classroom web site.

"That's a way to actually create writers who write as people do in the real world," Wright said.

Sain says the use of the free Google Apps gives the district a different kind of freedom.

"By giving this stuff free for kids, it opens up the opportunity of giving (students) more devices," Sain said.

That's why teachers are learning the best ways to use them at the two-day Google summit.

"The access that students have is unprecedented," Wright said.

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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