Learn how Google can improve student learning

Brief recap of the eSchool News webinar, “Going 1:1 with Google in Education at Hillsborough Township Public Schools”


Did you know that Google can help your school or district improve learning so students will be more marketable in the workforce?

On Dec. 3, eSchool News hosted an engaging webinar featuring Kristin Kahlich, a Google Education team member, and Joel Handler, director of technology for the Hillsborough School Township Public Schools in New Jersey.

Listen to the entire webinar here.

Kahlich offered tips on how Google can help schools by not only providing students with an edge, but by preparing them for job opportunities that have yet to be created.

The conventional way of learning is changing and children need to be taught with new tools to communicate, participate, and experience the world. Did you know that there are more than 30 million Google Apps for education found in more than 30 countries?

Kahlich says that technology has changed the way we learn with Google Apps, easy-to-manage web-based computer Chromebooks, and Google+ Hangouts. Google Apps are free and have no ads. According to Kahlich, when a school goes “Google,” it adopts a culture of openness, curiosity, and collaboration. Google provides the tools to help students discover infinite resources, and schools benefit with this affordable, scalable technology.

(Next page: How Google Play can improve classroom learning)

Kahlich says that Google Play for Education can help students adjust to this change, and the app on tablets can be easily deployed to the classroom.

Echoing Kahlich’s remarks, Handler argues that students have to understand that technology has changed. Every student in Hillsborough Township Public Schools has a device issued to them in the 1:1 program.

Listen to the entire webinar here.

Hillsborough switched to Google Apps because it increased productivity and lowered overhead costs. One benefit of using Google Apps in education is that it is storm proof. During Hurricane Sandy, Handler said teachers could remain in constant communication with students.

How can Google technology help transform the student learning experience?

Unlike a traditional classroom setting where students are seated single file, students work in different areas throughout the classroom known as “organized chaos.” Handler says this method helps students take true ownership of their learning.

Handler shares the following teaching strategies recently implemented in the school: Asynchronous learning, or flipping the classroom. This includes finding new ideas to improve how information is grasped. Learning can take place whenever convenient to achieve maximum results. Globalizing the curriculum, or using technology to learn and collaborate across borders and boundaries, is another recent initiative example.

The ultimate goal, Handler adds, is to have all students in grades 5-12 using Chromebooks.

Concluding his remarks, Handler conveys the message to teachers that it is OK to fail with implementing new technologies as long as they learn from their mistakes. This is an evolving process, he says.

(Next page: Q&A from the audience)

Q&A from the audience

When someone asked if Chromebooks would have access to Google Education, Kahlich answered that Chromebooks run with chrome applications available in the Chrome web store while Google Play applications are Android applications, so they are currently two separate entities.

Why should schools use Google Apps instead of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)?

Handler replied that part of the problem with BYOD is students bring different devices, each of which supports different capabilities. With Google Apps, students receive the same device and the same functionalities.

What were the biggest challenges during implementation of going 1:1?

Handler said that the deployment of 3,000 tablets took about one week and the process was smooth. Rolling out the wireless feature in the classrooms was more challenging because passwords were frequently changed. Looking back, Handler adds, we should have set up the wireless system provisionally instead of manually.

Regarding age restrictions, Kahlich said for Google Apps, it is the school’s responsibility to handle covering age requirements for 13 and under for privacy and security reasons. Handler said that when rolling out Google Apps, parents have to sign for their children because it is part of the curriculum.

Listen to the entire webinar here.

Kristin Kahlich is a member of the Google in Education team, helping schools to transform their classrooms with the help of open, affordable technology. Before starting with Google, she was focused on computer-based learning for professionals with the marketing team at Enspire Learning, a small company that designs online simulations, courses, and games for corporate training.

Joel T. Handler is the Director of Technology for the Hillsborough School Township Public Schools in New Jersey. He has two masters degrees, one in Computer Science and another in Educational Administration from Rutgers University. He has presented at several New Jersey venues including Techspo, and NJASA, NY/NJ Google Apps Summit and ISTE 2012. Under his leadership, the district has made great strides in technology integration in a short amount of time thereby transforming the delivery of instruction and the learning of all students K-12.

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