The Sierra Academy for Expeditionary Learning, also known as SAEL, has purchased Google Chromebook laptop computers for all of their students. After receiving a public charter start-up grant, principal Erica Crane says the school purchased more than 100 Chromebooks to give students technological applications to communicate and learn some of their daily school lesson plans.
“Using Google apps for education gives us the ability to use technology strategically and still use traditional writing and reading of books, and not get rid of the traditional pieces that really help students learn,” Crane said.
“But we’re providing this Chromebook so we can strategically use technology to take education to the next level.”
Crane says that with around 60 students currently registered for SAEL’s first school year, every student will be given the laptop computers to use in the classroom and to take with them after school to use for homework assignments.
“They’ll use their Google docs to work on documents and also to share those documents and collaborate with teachers,” Crane said. “When they leave high school, they’ll be asked to be able to professionally communicate electronically, along with in person, and to collaborate using those kind of systems.”
SAEL math teacher Mike Mendelson has been an educator for five years and says the Chromebooks will give him the ability to teach his students, who are at all different levels.
“With modern programs like Chrome Academy, instead of teaching everybody at the same pace, you can kind of give kids the opportunity to learn at their own pace,” Mendelson said. “You’re not stuck at everybody else’s pace, so it helps to differentiate the pacing.”
SAEL, a public charter school, has had issues with launching in the past due to a lack of funding or registration. Crane said, though, that the school currently has around 60 students registered, and this fall it will begin academic operations and is expecting close to 100 students registered and attending the 2014-15 school year.
“We are getting at least 10 applications a week, and we’re getting more and more,” Crane said. “Really, we’re on that path to launching instead of just talking about the numbers and wondering if we’ll have enough students.”
Located on the Bear River High School campus in South Nevada County, Crane said SAEL is collaborating with the Nevada Joint Union High School District to provide their students with bus transportation to the SAEL campus from the district’s Silver Springs High School, and the local Kmart in Grass Valley.
Crane says having the Chromebooks gives their school the potential to incorporate technology into different aspects of their curriculum.
“The Chromebooks we are giving to students also have a management program that they will be able to use in the classroom,” Crane said. “And we’re going to work with teachers to give them the support and development they need to get that up and going in our classrooms.”
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“They’ll use their Google docs to work on documents and also to share those documents and collaborate with teachers.”
SAEL principal Erica Crane