In the weeks leading up to the winter break I had the pleasure of spending time at our school in Hayward Impact Academy (fondly referred to as IA). These Algebra I students are in the unique situation of being co-enrolled in a second math class, a course we call Academic Numeracy or Ac-Num. The design of this course has been to support the learning in the Algebra I class by reviewing previously learned concepts, by allowing time for remedial and/or extension work, and by enhancing the instruction taking place. In years past the Ac-Num teacher was the only teacher who had a class set of computers, in this case netbooks. Last year the students used FlexMath to practice their basic numeracy skills and also participated in UpsideDown Academy (read previous posts for more information).
Because this year the program is structured do differently I wanted to take some time to hear from the experts about how these changes are impacting learning and classroom experiences. So who better to let me know than a student.
This student took Algebra I and Ac-Num last year and is taking these courses again this year, and here is his story:
My name is Benjamin B. and I am a student here at Impact Academy located in Hayward. Recently, this year, we were given a whole cart of Google Chromebooks that was received from google after a teacher wrote a grant for Impact, so that we could get some new computers. From my experience these Chromebooks are way better than the Dell computers we had last year. The Dells experienced major problems last year. There were many malfunctions, whether it was from not being able to connect to the internet or to shutting down by itself, and many of these unknown errors were really affecting my school work.
But this year all the students here at Impact are really happy that we received these new Chromebooks and it has really improved many of our learning experiences. Last year when we would go on FlexMath or Khan Academy on the Netbooks, it was a really slow experience for a lot of us because the Netbooks were so out of date. Sometimes we would even be late on our deadlines for projects, so it would bring down our grade. But with these new Chromebooks there are almost never any malfunctions when we are working. These computers are also very fast and effective whether it’s practicing math drills on Khan Academy, working at our own speed on problems, or just writing reports for other classes.
So I would like to thank Google and the teacher who wrote the grant for us. It has truly improved our learning experiences here at Impact and we are very grateful for this wonderful gift of Chromebooks that were given to us.
This student clearly has noticed a difference in how these tools allow his to progress through his material from a purely practical point of view. Pedagogically, this allows the teachers to plan for and implement lessons that take advantage of the technologies transparency and as such are less about the tools and more about the content.
Lastly, this student is thankful for the gift that has been given to his school and he sees how this increases his chances of success. Thanks for sharing Benjamin B.