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Glenbrooks embrace technology


As technology continues to rapidly evolve, so, too, must the classroom experience for a 21st century high school student.

From Facebook to Twitter and the tools of Google, instructors at both Glenbrook North and Glenbrook South High Schools have embraced these applications as teaching resources that have enhanced the learning experience.

"We used to have to send an email out to numerous students for editing purposes, and then we'd get back multiple copies with conflicting suggestions," said senior Stella Tu, who works on GBN's student newspaper The Torch.  "Now, we can use Google Docs to share the same document among many editors."   

Recently, Instructional Technology Coordinators Ryan Bretag (GBN) and David Jakes (GBS) invited students and staff to demonstrate to the Board of Education how tools such as Google Apps, Moodle, and Twitter are utilized.  

By utilizing such applications, it has not only allowed for greater efficiency but also expanded the classroom beyond the high school walls.  Students from GBS AP Spanish helped demonstrate this through the use of Google Apps for Education, which provides document sharing tools. 

"With Google Docs, you can collaborate with anyone, at anytime, from anywhere," said senior Gabriela Chuchro.   

GBS physics students also showed how teachers are using an online tool called Moodle to offer assignments and calendars.

"Moodle allows teachers to post an interactive calendar, so if a student misses class, they know the assignments," said junior Ethan Boner. "If you miss school, you might not have access to your materials, but links are provided so you can still complete the assignments from home."

At Glenbrook North, Teaching Internship and Seminar is the third level of child development classes. Teacher Katie Jones uses Twitter to teach her students how to think publicly, develop their professional identity and connect with educators in a more global fashion.

Because students are often out working in multiple schools with different grade levels, Twitter has also served as a communication channel to share their experiences with each other. Check out their works on Twitter: #gbnfuted.

"I wanted students to follow each other's work and also those of field experts," Jones said. "They have learned to speak in public in a professional manner through Twitter."

Also at GBN, students in AP US History class use Google Sites, a website template that serves as a collaborative work space.  They use this method to prepare for the AP test. Each student posts outlines and has roles and responsibilities regarding the website.

"It fosters a learning community among my peers and I," said junior Sam Aber.