Google Classroom is a great tool which allows students and teachers to collaborate in an online classroom. This video will give an overview showing how students can join a Google Classroom. https://classroom.google.com
HMS and iLearn Opportunities for Students
We believe in 21st Century Learning at HMS
Skills for 21st Century learning include the use of technology, specifically to conduct research, organize, evaluate, collaborate, and communicate information. Students will be using digital technologies to communicate, network, integrate, evaluate, and create information to be successful as they progress through their education and eventually toward a career. Students will also begin to understand the fundamentals of responsibility and the ethical/legal issues that come with utilizing digital information technology.
To accomplish student learning at a deeper level as well as extending learning outside of the classroom for students HMS became a Google Apps for Education School (https://www.google.com/edu/) 4 years ago. Google Apps for Education (GAFE) is a free resource to schools that has given all students and teachers at HMS access to Google Docs, Slides, Sheets, and Calendar to collaborate, create and stay organized (https://www.google.com/edu/products/productivity-tools/). Students will have access to Gmail accounts. The Gmail accounts will only enable students to communicate electronically with others inside the HCUSD#5 domain only. Students will not be able to receive or send email outside of the district. Teachers have also been experimenting with Google Classroom (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wM9JlGAi6ao) and free web applications to communicate with their students and extend learning beyond the 50-minute period that they have with students. Teachers are posting the lessons that they have taught during the day, videos that supplement what was discussed in class, collaborate with students through discussion boards and blogs and engage students through easy electronic dissemination of assignments that students can complete and turn back in electronically.
How is my child protected while accessing technology?
We realize as students come to HMS they may be experiencing the use of technology for the first time. We have built in precautions to help students make good decisions while they are accessing material online. First and foremost students undergo extensive training the first few days of school. Teachers review the Acceptable Use Policies and the expectations that we have for them as they utilize technology at school. After student training is conducted they take a technology usage quiz to assess them to see if they have an understanding of what is expected of them. After they pass the test they will bring home the Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) for students and parents to read and sign. After the AUP is returned with the electronic device information the device is registered and the password is put into the device so the student can access HCUSD#5 Wi-Fi only. Students’ are not allowed to access 3G or 4G services on school grounds during the school day.
How much can I expect my child to use their device?
As I stated earlier, we are in our 7th year of BYOT implementation and each year teachers have grown in finding new ways to utilize technology in the classroom. As we acquire new curriculum, we are making sure that we purchase a curriculum that has online resources. Our current social studies, science, and math curriculum have online resources available to the students. For the current school year the district purchased a new 6-8th grade mathematics curriculum that has an online resources that include videos, tutorial resources, quizzes, manipulatives and access to homework assignments if they forget their assignment at school. HMS also has 7th Grade Geography and 8th Grade American History Resources that are available online that have interactive resources for your child. Devices are also used in English Language Arts Classes to collaborate quickly and easily between your child and the teacher giving real-time feedback to them as they are writing. I have also witnessed cross-curricular assignments that teachers have assigned to students where they have constructed one piece of writing and turned it into two teachers for two separate grades.
Nearly each teacher at HMS has written grants and used fundraising monies to acquire devices for students to use in the classroom. Students are no longer allowed to utilize a smartphone device during the school day (turned off and in their locker). However, they can register other devices such as an iPad, Chromebook, or laptop device.
BYOT is still a VOLUNTARY program and not a requirement for families to purchase a device but I wanted to dispel a rumor that they are not being used and they are a waste of money for parents. If you are skeptical about how much your child might use a device my suggestion to you is to wait and see what their thoughts are after a few months into the school year.
How do we register a device from home to use at school?
If you choose to allow your child to bring a device to school to utilize during the school day the following procedures are followed:
- Student Training / Technology Quiz taken with teachers at school
- Acceptable Use Policy is reviewed by parent/student and signed at home
- Information about device is recorded on the AUP and sent back to school for teacher to review
- $5.00 Fee is collected per device that is registered along with student/parent signed AUP (collected fees are used for Wi-Fi infrastructure upgrades at HMS and to purchase machines for students to use at school who cannot bring a device to school)
- Designated teacher from each academic team will enter the password needed for students to access HCUSD#5 Student Wi-Fi
What type of device would you recommend for my child? Why Chromebooks specifically?
Any device that has access to Wi-Fi can be used to access your child's Google Apps for Education Account. With the ever changing advancement of technology we have had parents come to us for a recommendation as to what device their child would get the most use of at HMS. One of the benefits of utilizing Google Apps for Education is that no matter what device a student may be using at school they will be able to access and work from the same platform across any device from a smartphone to a laptop.
Keeping this in mind we have parents that ask for our advice to help them make a decision on what would be utilized the most at school. The reason that we suggest purchasing a Chromebook is that Chromebooks do not need to continuously need software updates or anti-virus updates. This is done via the cloud through the connection that is made each time the Chromebook is opened. If you are considering a purchase this year we are recommending the HP14 Chromebook and suggesting that you shop around for the best price & warranty.
Note: Students are not required to bring a device to HMS. Teachers will have a limited number Chromebooks available in the classrooms for students to use during the school day. Assignments that are given that require access to technology are given with ample time for students to complete the assignment in class.