Big news coming out of Hamburg School District in Arkansas – they have made the transition and are now a GOOGLE DISTRICT! This is fantastic not only for our environment, but also for the entire community involved in the innovation. Hamburg's District IT Director, Jon Ballard, pushed for the movement after visiting another Google school and seeing the positive results.
What does this mean, exactly? According to Noble/Allbritton Principal Tricia Johnson, "It means we are trying to use Google for everything, from school email to surveys to collaboration and feedback. Even parents are being contacted through Google Forms and Google Voice." Sharing information is a snap (or should we say a "click") – the program compiles data and reports into charts, graphs and the like to make it easier to share.
Says Principal Michelle Dunbar of Wilmot Elementary, "This collaboration in the program allows for two or more people to work on the same document and make changes at the same time." April Adams, Noble/Allbritton's Assistant Principal, completely agrees and adds, "Not only is it great for going paperless, it also helps everyone to be more organized considering they don't have to look for anything – it is all in Google!"
The elementary schools are working towards all students having a Google email address, which will allow assignments to be sent through the emails and completed work can then be submitted via email. The Fifth Grade Noble/Allbritton has a classroom set of Google Chromebooks that rotate daily to each class. Junior and Senior High Schools are already utilizing more Google Classrooms.
Says Kendra Galloway, District Literacy Coach, "The technology has been the most beneficial in preparing students for the PARCC assessment!" Being a Google school, or rather, a Google District, has opened many opportunities for them. They are now able to utilize more websites, such as Kahoots, Math Chat, Book Widgets, DOJO and Insight.
We at JP applaud Hamburg School District's decision to go Google and can't wait to see the impact it has, for we feel certain it will be positive!