Jennifer Tuller and Carrie Sanchez are 5th grade science teachers at Auten Road Intermediate School in New Jersey, part of the Hillsborough Township School District — the first district to offer its students and staff the complete Google for Education solution. In Hillsborough, the students and teachers work together with Google Apps, Chromebooks and tablets with Google Play for Education.
When we visited Jen and Carrie’s classrooms a few weeks ago to see how students used the tools, I was extremely inspired by what I saw. Students were working on an ecocolumn project, where they were closely observing the interaction between living and non-living elements in land and water environments. Before this year, the teachers told me, students had to individually log their observations on paper, which limited them from working as a group. But this year, students eagerly documented their observations together in real-time with Google Docs on their Chromebooks, compared the growth in their ecosystems by looking through the photos they had taken with their tablets, and presented the final report of their findings through Movenote — an app in Google Play for Education.
The kind of new, collaborative learning I saw in Jen’s and Carrie’s classrooms reinforced the impact of simple and powerful tools when used together. Inspired by the Auten Road students and their ecocolumn project, we put together this video. Everytime I watch it, I smile thinking about the kids working together to construct their own ecosystems and wish I could have done a project just like it when I was in 5th grade.
Later today we’ll share an in-depth interview with Carrie, Jennifer and some of the other teachers from the Hillsborough school district, who will provide some tips about how to drive classroom impact with Google for Education.