Engaging in Authentic Learning through the use of Technology

Teacher(s) - Jenna Dorshorst and Anna Kim
School(s) - Franklin Middle School
Grade(s) - 6th & 8th grade


Goal / Objective -

  1. Improve the quality and subtlety of differentiation in the integrated EL classroom
  2. Strengthen 21st Century Skills for at-risk students who do not have adequate experience with technology
  3. Improve collaboration and communication through digital modalities

Impact - The Chromebooks have become an integral piece to our instruction and student learning that is interwoven to all aspects of a Language Arts classroom: reading, writing, speaking, and listening.  We are optimistic that this project will progress with exponential growth as we become stronger learners of technology and encounter different sets of students each year to impart this knowledge.

Seventy-two students at Franklin were directly served by the twenty-four Chromebooks this past year.  As the years progress, this number will multiply as more and more students come through our class.  We are happy to report that the Chromebooks positively affected all of the students’ ability to collaborate and create digitally, improved student engagement within the classroom, and allowed subtle differentiation of text, and lessons.

Moreover, we were surprised that our Chromebooks positively affected students outside of our classroom.  The classroom set of Chromebooks allowed us to experiment with different digital tools to enhance student learning.  We shared these ideas with our colleagues, and they felt empowered to try these tools in their own classroom.  More specifically, we experimented with audio recording tools to record student conversations during literature circle groups.  This recording allowed both teachers and students to listen to other groups conversations--conversations that typically would go unheard because they are occurring simultaneously.  The recording also served as an accountability piece, where students felt more motivated to go Because our classroom set of Chromebooks directly and indirectly affected so many students--both within and outside our classroom--it is difficult to quantify exactly how many students were served as a result of our project.

Another unexpected benefit of the Chromebooks is that students have a tendency to write more digitally than they do on paper and pencil.  For example, when students are asked to characterize by finding evidence and interpreting it, they tended to write one sentence as their interpretation.  Using the Chromebooks, however, students began to elaborate on their interpretation, going deeper in a multiple-sentence format.  Students have expressed that they enjoy typing on the Chromebooks better because it is faster and easier.

Do you know a Community School District 200 educator who would like to apply for a Student Excellence Grant? The Foundation offers a Fall and a Spring grant cycle each year. Please feel free to share information regarding grant procedures with any District 200 educator. Classroom teachers, administrators, LLC Directors: any staff member with student contact is eligible to apply!

To read about other grants that have been provided to educators, click here.

Here are some Thank You slideshows and videos created by the students on their new Chromebooks...

Thank You #1

Thank You #3

Thank You #2

Thank You Slideshow #1

Thank You Slideshow #2

Thank You Slideshow #3