Polk Schools eyes Chromebooks

Published 5:30 pm Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Connor McCarthy and Frederick Veser collaborate on a short essay assignment using a Chromebook during Jeanne Burgin’s 9 a.m. class at Polk County Middle School. Polk County Schools administrators are looking at purchasing more of the devices to better connect students with technology in the classroom. (photo by Samantha Hurst)

Shiny, black devices known as Google Chromebooks sat open on almost every desk in Polk County Middle School (PCMS) teacher Jeanne Burgin’s class on Wednesday, Jan. 25.

The Google Chromebooks are Internet-based portals to resources and several Polk County Schools administrators said they would like to put them in every classroom within the next year.

“It’s really helped us become a global classroom and so much more technologically literate,” Burgin said. “The sky is the limit, really.”

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Eighth-graders in the class paired up to write a short essay about what their lives would be like if another Civil War broke out in America now.

Then Burgin asked students to open their Chromebooks and a document of essay questions related to the Civil War. Included in the document were links to a History Channel essay about the lives of Civil War soldiers. Above on the projector, Burgin started a short documentary about the same topic.

“[The Chromebooks have] really helped open doors for what we can research and what we can learn,” Burgin said. “In this unit, for example, they can learn the difference between primary and secondary sources, and put them to use.”

Her sixth-graders, meanwhile, have collected postcards from different countries and sent emails to Chinese pen pals via the Chromebooks.