Ask Me, I Am a Chromie!
Are you teaching young children to use “G Suite”, formerly known as Google Apps For Education? With Chromebooks taking over as the device of choice for most districts, we as classroom teachers have an exciting yet challenging role to play in this transition to integrate technology into our classrooms. Most of us are in the process of learning how to use Google Suite ourselves, so teaching our young K-3 students what G Suite can do and how to use it in meaningful ways can appear to be a slow and daunting process. However, since no one can truly be a tech expert since technology changes so rapidly, we need to model a humble “Growth Mindset” and learn alongside our students or we will greatly inhibit the learning process for us all. I am far from being an expert on Chromebook use in general, however, I am willing to share my insights and experiences as I am in the process of learning in hopes that my failures, successes and overall process will expedite yours. If you have read over any of my other posts, you will see that most of my G Suite experiences have been on iPads. That is about to change!
As I thought about how to best help my fellow teachers and students make confident gains toward learning Google Tools, I wondered if I should just start with teaching a few kids in each classroom to mentor others instead of training the teachers first like we have done so often in past professional development opportunities. It was then that I read an interesting post on Kasey Bell’s blog- “Shake Up Learning-Student Chrome Squad”. Her post was exactly what I needed! The post was actually written by a colleague of hers, Mr. Cody Holt from Royce City, Texas and was about how this former high school teacher, now a Digital Learning Specialist had developed a mentoring program to help manage his district’s 1:1 Chromebook program with a select group of high school students that he later called “The Chrome Squad”. My idea would take a more primary form of Cody’s Chrome Squad but I believed I was on to something!
Being a primary teacher, it is second nature to take a great learning opportunity that upper grades are participating in such as this and scale it down to a level that can benefit our younger students. I asked myself- “What if I took the same basic program that Cody began and made my own elementary version of it?” Student expectations would certainly look different but the overall goals would be the same. Students using what they learn to in turn help others.
I began my journey with 10 third grade students that I had in my class as second graders the year prior. I already knew the kids and the parents trusted me. (Scary thought, I know!) I selected my “Little Chromies” rather quickly as I kept in mind how Cody had selected his Chrome Squad.
In my next post, I will begin to walk you through my setup process, the attributes I looked for in our Little Chromies, our specific goals and how I began our first few sessions. As always, you can and should adjust your program given your own building variables.