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New internet tools create class collaboration


In Alison Saylor’s technology class, she teaches her students more than just computers: In fact, she says they’re learning things that just might revolutionize the classroom, 9news.com reports. “It’s a fun way to do it, and they really get into it. They’re very engaged,” said Saylor, computer and technology teacher at Everitt Middle School in Wheat Ridge, Colo. Saylor is using Google Apps for Education to create a virtual domain for her students. They can use word processors, spreadsheets, and graphic tools to create projects that are done entirely online. For example, eighth-grader Alex Brown created his own imaginary company. His project included conceptual graphic designs, a business plan, an architectural layout, and a spreadsheet containing a payroll outline for the employees. Google Apps for Education allowed Alex to put this all together in an online portfolio. Saylor says it helps her trick students into learning. Right now, she has students creating their own superheroes. “That’s a writing assignment. But you’d never know it, because we dress it up so much and they get graphic skills, they get outline skills,” she said, noting that when students are doing projects about things they’re passionate about, they are more willing take on math problems or essays. “I see it as expanding the walls of the classroom,” said Dan Brooks, education technology specialist for Jefferson County Schools. “The kids can share with a teacher, the kids can share with another student, or they can share with a small group if they’re working together.” Students and teachers can control access to their projects; Brooks says it’s like having their own personal internet with little to no security concerns. “This kind of system is not something we could create on our own,” he said…

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