Some of you know that I have spent the past few months in a new school system. I’ve gone through the process of going 1:1 once, and now it’s happening again. Of course, I’m thrilled that I now have a Promethean Board, and my school will be adding one Chromebook per student very soon.
I am also thrilled to be on the 1:1 implementation committee at my school (that’s right, I just used the words “thrilled” and “committee” in the same sentence–it must be getting very cold in a traditionally hot place, either that, or large, pink farm creatures are sprouting wings and frolicking in the clouds).
But I LOVE using technology in the classroom. I like the traditional stuff, too, (blending is best) but technology opens so many doors that are otherwise unavailable. For example, using Google Expeditions, I can take my students on a tour of Hadrian’s Wall–that would be really expensive from a traditional classroom.
From this, I can hope that 1:1 has the potential to literally open up new worlds to my students.
But there is an inequitable side to technology (at the moment, anyway). Not all students have access
to the internet at home. My fix for that when I’ve assigned homework digitally has been to send home a textbook and have the student complete a comparable activity using the book–not ideal, but workable.
Today, at a “committee” meeting, an ESL teacher asked a question that gave me pause: “When we go1:1, that’s great, but how will students with no internet access at home complete their assignments?” Some students need leveled readings.
She uses ThinkCerca, which is a great program that levels reading based on Lexile. But the program needs the internet in order to actually work. That makes it no good for some of her students at home.
Of course, the ultimate work-around here is a solution: provide affordable internet to everyone, or at least allow students without internet to check out hot spot devices (is this the correct terminology?).
But until that day comes, here’s a suggestion.
We all know that the internet provides an abundance of articles on relevant issues that paper textbooks cannot match.
1. Pick an article you want your students to read.
2. For the students who have no internet access, copy and paste the article and your comprehension questions into a Google Doc.
3. Have students set their Google Drive to “work offline,” so that they don’t need internet access.
4. Simplify the text for students who need it simplified, using rewordify.com.
5. Copy and paste that text into a Google Doc to share with those students.
They can now complete a leveled reading offline and digitally at home.
This is not the perfect solution, but at least all students of differing ability levels can be on the same page during a class discussion about a particular article. Lack of internet access should not prevent that.