Chromebook learning curve

Ramona Community School teacher Carolyn McNulty, left, and teacher on assignment Pixie Sulser concentrate on their Chromebook training. Sentinel photo/Maureen Robertson
Ramona Community School teacher Carolyn McNulty, left, and teacher on assignment Pixie Sulser concentrate on their Chromebook training. Sentinel photo/Maureen Robertson

By Maureen Robertson

They came in two shifts, ready to learn. After signing in, each received a new Chromebook and found a seat.

The first hour-long class started at 2:30 p.m. The teacher, Joe Hartman from the San Diego County Office of

Education, faced a captive audience — a roomful of teachers.

Hartman, a fifth-grade teacher before accepting a job as technology integration architect, knew how to work this group. He used visuals, sprinkled his narrative with questions, gave frequent “gold stars” for correct answers, moved briskly about the room, initiated some friendly competition, and had two observant aides eager to assist those with questions.

The instruction was part of the professional development tied to the Common Core State Standards budget the school board approved in December. The district received $1.17 million from the state to use in the next two years to implement the new approach to teaching.

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Teacher on assignment Leslie Wilson explains a feature of the laptop to Ramona Elementary teacher Sandra McInish. At right, Kevin Brazelton, who provides technology support for the district, concentrates on what the speaker is saying. Sentinel photo/Maureen Robertson

Ten percent, or $117,500, of that buys 40 Chromebooks for each of the district’s nine schools. The 360 laptops are being delivered to the schools this week, and teachers at the Chromebook training last Thursday afternoon used the laptops destined for Ramona Elementary and Mt. Woodson Elementary.

All Ramona teachers received an invitation to one of the two trainings: 36 attended the first session and 32 the second. In addition to kindergarten through 12-grade teachers, support staff participated, and so did Theresa Grace, the district’s senior director of education services.

“From the feeling in the room and the comments teachers made, I believe they are excited to have mobile devices to integrate into classroom instruction,” Grace said. “They are also ... asking for more professional development related to technology integration in the classroom. It’s a great time to be in education.”

The $300 charge for the two session — about $4.41 per person — also came out of the common core budget. Trustees designated $415,000, or 35 percent of the $1.17 million, for staff development.

Chromebook training is not required, but was offered for those wanting a greater understanding of the laptop’s

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Montecito High teachers Bruce Tovias and Sue Ketteer learn Chromebook basics. Sentinel photo/Maureen Robertson

features, noted Grace. She plans an advanced Chromebook class before summer.

Each school has site-specific money it can choose to spend for professional development, instructional materials and/or technology. Some schools have purchased additional Chromebooks, bringing the total to about 500 in the district, said Grace.

The education services department holds monthly “Bring Your Own Device” trainings in the district office. Working with Grace are teachers on assignment Leslie Wilson and Pixie Sulser.

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Teacher on assignment Leslie Wilson explains a Chromebook feature to Ramona High teacher Marty Barritt. Working behind Barrett is Theresa Grace, senior director of education services. Keith Wright, director of information and education services, stands in the back of the room. Sentinel photo/Maureen Robertson
   
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