In politics and reality television, a strategic alliance can serve you well.
Partner with the right player, and a well-timed pact may take you all the way to the top. Attach yourself to a second-tier associate, and you might find yourself being voted out of a position or off the island.
Luckily, in K–12 education, there’s a partnership that reaps rewards without any shady deals or double crossing. And no one’s getting voted out of anything … except maybe student council.
Chromebooks, 20 million of which are used in schools nationwide, and G Suite, Google’s popular education cloud platform which boasts 70 million users, have teamed up. An upshot from this strategic alliance is that schools are seeing more collaboration and higher test scores.
In fact, after Chromebooks and G Suite were rolled out to several school districts, Google and Evergreen Education Group spent 16 months studying the results. The findings, called “Impact Portraits: Success Stories with Google for Education,” were overwhelmingly positive.
Passing rates of students in one class in Oshkosh, Wisc., for example, improved from 75 to 94 percent. Students at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina were outperforming the entire state on standardized tests and exceeding expectations. And Google and Evergreen found that students at all the districts they studied were more engaged and on task after using Chromebooks and G Suite.
In Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS), one of the 20 largest school districts in the U.S., the digital learning initiative was a huge undertaking. IT officials there had to deploy Chromebooks for nearly 150,000 students. The district needed to create a solid network backbone to support the deployment, as well, including adding enough bandwidth to maintain the large number of devices being implemented. Professional development also had to be instituted throughout the district.
CMS chose Chromebooks because they’d cost less and be easier to deploy for the students spread across 168 schools. They also fit in with their personalized learning plan.
“With Chromebooks, teachers can direct activities to the needs of each student,” says Jacob Standish, the district’s digital learning conversion program manager. “Students don’t have to wait for their teacher to guide them, freeing teachers to create open-ended lessons giving students more freedom and creativity.”
With the partnership between Chromebooks and G Suite, students work more independently and master their work more easily.
It’s an alliance that imitates life in the workplace. Students and teachers can be in constant collaboration with each other, with teachers providing real-time feedback to students’ work.
“Students as young as second grade now regularly send emails after school to teachers asking for support and clarification on assignments,” the Impact Portraits reports.
It seems counterintuitive to say that technology such as chatting and e-mail will make our students better collaborators, but the results are in, and it appears that it’s working.
If only our politicians and reality stars were this good at collaborating.
This article is part of the "Connect IT: Bridging the Gap Between Education and Technology" series. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using the #ConnectIT hashtag.