English class gets tech upgrade with Chromebooks

The sounds of ticking and tacking and buzzing permeated the air, accentuated by the low whine of the air conditioner in the background. Those certainly aren’t the usual sounds that you hear when walking into a tenth-grade English classroom, but for the past week they’ve been common in Adrienne Gent’s classes. That’s all thanks to a $10,000 grant she won to receive a set of 25 brand new Google Chromebooks, a new type of laptop, from the school board.

The Chromebooks offer a new level of interactivity to lessons in the classroom that has never before been seen.  Currently, students are using them to write, peer review, and share essays quickly and all at the same time in groups.

“I’m excited,” Gent said. “What we’re really hoping to do is research the different parts of writing essays and then upload videos onto Edline.”

Gent was one of six teachers in Brevard to receive the Brevard Public Schools Educational Technology grant, which is given out every year by the school board to eligible teachers. It comes at a cost, though.

“We have to do all these projects in the classroom,” Gent said. “And then I have to write up to the disctrict how the project goes, show them the links and where we upload the information, show student samples, allow them to log in and look at everything, and then potentially I’ll have to then take that information and do teacher training with it.”

The laptops have received generally positive reviews from the students using them.

“I like that they’re new and they’re faster than the old school computers,” sophomore Fletcher Coard said. “It provides a very easily accessible resource for the classroom.”

However, Jeremy Gluck, a member of Gent’s fourth period class, is disappointed with them.

“They’re extremely minimalistic. It’s very slow,” Gluck said. “It won’t be useful for anything but browsing the web. Nothing else.”

The grant will be given out again next year, but until then no other teacher from West Shore may receive one. In that way, Gent’s class is something like a test case for this school.

“I think it’s a great opportunity,” Gent said. “It’s a lot of money; there’s no way we’d have had the funding to get these in the classroom.”