The transition to using Chromebooks was easy. “We were able to extend what we had already started, to become collaborative, connected learners,” Celia says. “That was the main benefit. Learning is enhanced when you connect with others, both within and beyond the classroom. Having that access has been fantastic.”
Students and teachers were already familiar with Google Workspace for Education. Combining Google Workspace with Chromebooks creates new or unplanned learning opportunities, and “contributes to the whole schooling atmosphere,” Celia says. “Students are happy to learn, share what they're learning, and find the meaning themselves. It's just good practice in a school to let students be self-learners.”
Google Workspace for Education provides a suite of tools useful at home and in the classroom, while also opening an entire ecosystem of powerful learning tools that go beyond collaboration. These include Google Maps, and Chrome apps Read&Write and Screencastify. Students and teachers use Google Drive, Google Docs, and Google Slides to learn and collaborate. With Google Sites, St. Luke created a landing page where students can access any resources they need. Students also write 100+ blogs, which teachers monitor. “We try to teach them to use online spaces in a professional way, rather than in a social way,” Celia says. “Our blogs are open to the world, so anyone can see the work that they present there and create further learning opportunities.”
Occasionally, too, students lead the way in learning how best to use the digital tools. “Our staff have a lovely attitude, and are not afraid to admit that we’re all learning at the same time,” Celia says. What she calls the “open-endedness” of Chromebooks and Google Workspace make such student-teacher collaboration possible. One teacher, for instance, wanted to determine where pupils’ families had originated. While some students located printed maps, or opened digital files in Google Docs, a few immediately turned to Google Maps and began inserting pins.
"Chromebooks have changed the way we learn in many ways,” says Cooper, a Year 6 student. “We can share with our classmates and teachers and everybody can work together—not just in the classroom, but also on the Internet."