District continues to introduce new in-school technology updates

Delia Rush, Staff Writer

This fall, Google Chromebooks were introduced to Schreiber.

“The Chromebooks are a great stepping stone; adding variations of technology into the classroom is a great way to keep students and teachers involved and progressing together,” said English teacher Ms. Michal Cohan.

Earlier in the year, members of the faculty spoke excitedly of the possibilities of this new program.  However, the accessibility of Google Apps for Education varies.  Weak Internet service in school makes promoting the program in school a little difficult.

“This program is really great for group projects.  As of now, the school Internet is pretty slow so the biggest challenge is having an entire class signed on at the same time but after the connection is improved, the program will probably be used in even more classes,” said Chemistry teacher Mr. Carmody.

With updated thoughts and lots of student feedback, the district hopes to further improve the school’s technology.  The main aim of the project is to make in and out-of-school work more accessible.

Director of Technology, Mr. Ryan Meloni, and Technology Staff Director, Ms. Jackie Gilmartin, made a PowerPoint presentation on March 17 at the Port Washington Public Library for the Port Washington Parent Council about this new program.

The goals of the technological initiative were outlined in this presentation.  It stated that they would like to “improve the district student to computer ratio in order to provide an increase in opportunities for students to use technology to enhance their learning, improve their research, and enable sharing and collaboration.”

At this presentation, the PowerPoint also explained the Google Drive accounts students are given and how they can be used both in and out of the classroom.

“With Google Apps for Education, everything is automatically saved in the cloud—100% powered by the web.  This means that documents can be accessed and edited on almost any mobile device of tablet.  Anytime, anywhere,” read the first slide of Mr. Meloni and Ms. Gilmartin’s presentation.

With this specific ability, Google Apps for Education is ideal for essays and assignments that can be worked on in or out of class.  A student can work on an assignment during class or an off period while signed on to their Google Drive account and work on it at home without having to go through the trouble of emailing his/her work or using a USB flash drive.

“I think the Chromebooks can be very helpful in some situations, especially group projects,” said sophomore Helena Littman.  “I think the idea of every student having a Google Chrome account is very good as well because it allows assignments to be done both in and out of school and you also don’t have to go to a computer lab during class.”

The ability to work with other students on the same document is also a major feature of the Google Chrome system.  Specific students can work on an assignment as a group project without having to send each other work or worry about being able to save documents.

Overall, the district seems to believe that the Google Apps for Education program has brought more convenience to both students and faculty members out of class but the slow service can make the program seem less appealing.

“We learned how to use our accounts and the Chromebooks in English class.  So far, we haven’t used them significantly but I think it will be really useful in the future,” said freshman Remi Mankes.

The technology department intends to continue to educate parents, pupils, and teachers about the use of Chromebooks.  According to Mr. Meloni, the district hopes to make a variety of technological devices available to students and teachers, possibly including more Google Chromebooks, or Mobile Devices such as Apple iPads, Windows tablets or laptops, and Android devices.  The decision to purchase such devices will be made based upon the target grade level, content area, and student outcomes.

Both students and faculty members may benefit from future technological introductions to the Port Washington School District and the improving programs.