While I’m sure you, like me, have grown to rely upon technology more and more each year, I am willing to bet you now have a greater appreciation for the role technology can play in your children’s education. How wonderful it was for our children to interact with their teachers and classmates through video conferencing each week, and work on assignments, quizzes, tests, and even projects remotely while we were not able to have in-person instruction. Thank you again to all the teachers and staff who worked tirelessly through that last four months of the school year so that our children could graduate to their next level of learning!
With that in mind, I’m excited to share with you news about how Faith Christian School will continue to leverage technology, even while attending school in-person. In the beginning of September, Faith Christian School deployed Google G Suite for Education for use by teachers and students. G Suite consists of many tools to assist teachers and students, some which you are likely familiar with: Gmail, Drive, Docs, Slides, Sheets, Meet, YouTube, etc.; and ones you might not know, like Google Classroom and Jamboard. We will focus our initial deployment attention upon 5th through 12th grade classes, but will have logins for all students as a backup plan should we need to resort to distance learning again.
So you may be wondering, what’s the big deal? Why am I so excited? Well for starters; this creates a lot of benefits for Faith Christian School, and at no additional costs. Deploying Google will provide us with unlimited storage for files in Drive, all securely accessible in the cloud from any internet connection location. That means students can pick up on assignments at home where they left off at school; and teachers can access their files and grades in the comfort of their home. And because we’re using an Education account, we can rest assured communications remain safely within the fcslions.org domain. Documents, meetings, and other information cannot be accessed outside of the domain without explicit intention. It also means we can provide students with their own fcslions.org email address!
Secondly, it prepares our students for college and the professional domain. Adopting digital technology practices early on in education will create strong skills that will provide lasting benefits. Utilizing these applications as a suite of tools will help students learn digital best practices and keep them on the forefront of technology change, as applications are constantly being improved with new features and functionality. In fact, many businesses have chosen to use Google G Suite, migrating away from traditional Microsoft products.
Lastly, I’m excited about the possibilities Google Classroom brings for digital organization. You may have been in my shoes in March, with multiple students, trying to juggle multiple assignments, waiting each Sunday for the teachers’ weekly email of assignments and lesson plans. Well, that’s the old way of doing things, working out of your inbox hoping you’re reading the correct email. And when something changed mid-week, did your student really hear that right, or were they just optimistically hearing that assignment no longer needs to be handed in? Well Classroom creates one place to go for a single-source of the accuracy, an interactive communication board, and collaborative document sharing.
I also want to take a moment to thank a couple of people. Mrs. Thomas was the champion of this change and has spent many hours working on a plan to deploy these tools within the teaching staff. And Andrea Kimes has been the behind the scenes (volunteer) admin, learning settings and configurations, and ensuring logins are created correctly. Thank you both for making this plan a reality!
Faith Christian School Board of Directors
Technology committee chair