- Collaboration and Sharing of documents such as written pieces in Google Docs. (I love that my students can easily send me their typed papers, share in the revising/editing process , and add comments via voice feature.)
- Ease of organization. (Students turn in papers seemlessly through Google Classroom. This equates to no “lost” papers.) Returning grades is at the click of a button.
- Assignments are stored in Google Classroom. (Students can move ahead or work on a variety of projects at the same time. This equates to ease of differentiated practices.)
- Ease of grading. (Flubaroo makes grading multiple choice questions a breeze saving hours of needless work grading papers. Also helps with data collection.)
- Ease of research. (Students can research and work on their papers at the same time via the research tool.)
- Split screen ends needless flipping between taps. (Students can work on their paper adding in text evidence directly from the text from one screen.)
- Multimedia savvy. (Students can create blog posts and add videos or podcasts through Blogger or other apps. Students can also create their own websites for projects such as Genuis Hour (a personal project based on student passions). Students love Google Slides and can create with ease.
- Collaboration via Google Hangouts. (Students can work on group projects by collaborating via GH or through the online chat feature in Google Classroom. Students love the chat feature.)
- Enhances keyboarding skills. Most of my students can read, annotate, and type their papers in one class sitting. It took about five months to get really fluid at this, but now they tell me how easy it is for them.
- Teacher and Student Relationships are diminished. (I began using Chromebooks in September and integrated almost daily this year, and there has been less dialogue/discussion happening in my class than ever before. I do not like this aspect. Students love tech, yes, but they also need to develop relationships from discussion between peers and teacher–the online chat feature in GC doesn’t count. A balance must be created within assignments, so Chromebooks are needed no more than once or twice a week.)
- Student empathy is diminished. (Overuse of technology creates a disconnect with students. They are less patient, quick to argue, or say why someone is wrong. BYOT, IPads, chromebooks become–all consuming. It becomes less about the learning for students and more about just using the technology. In order to create better learners and future citizens, technology must be limited to strict purposes with strict time limits attached for instructional needs only.)
- Grading can be difficult to adjust to for ELA. (There is not a perfect rubric system for Google Docs. One friend gave me the tip of copying the rubric to the bottom of student papers and then typing in comments with a grade. I could then return to students by emailing. One class of thirty students took me three to four hours on a Saturday. There must be a better way. I can grade 120 paper essays in one evening with an excellent rubric, which offers quick feedback for daily instruction and differentiation.)
- Students get tired of Chromebooks. Technology will never be a magic cure for engagement and it certainly won’t replace great teaching. It is only one more tool in the teacher toolbox. A great one, yes, but can never replace a quality teacher.
- Harder to reach every student. (Not all students do well with typing or written feedback on a Chromebook. Some need one on one time with a teacher who can teach and reteach with paper and pencil. They need the human connection and serious guidance.)
The Final Analysis: I would love a class set of Chromebooks! The good outweighs the negatives. We must always keep in mind that excellent teaching will always be a matter of the heart and sure willpower that every child succeeds. Chromebooks are a tool for enhancing great teaching, but will never replace it.