Six years ago, my school, Ames High School went one-to-one and handed every student a laptop. This was a major shift for many of our teachers, and school administrators wanted to be sure they had the resources they needed to adapt to the transition. The school created the position of “technology coach,” which I was chosen to fill because, as a lover of all-things-tech, I strive to use technology effectively in the classroom.
If teachers—especially those who are less comfortable with technology—don’t have someone they can go to for technology help at that exact moment, they tend to shy away from it altogether.
Every day, I work alongside our teachers to develop professional learning, create resources, model lessons and co-teach with them. Ames High School is a public high school in Ames, a mid-sized city in central Iowa, just north of Des Moines. We’ve been named a top high school in the U.S. on multiple occasions, and part of that distinction comes from our commitment to providing teachers with the right resources. We’re always looking for engaging tools that level the playing field for all our students and give them every opportunity to create, collaborate, apply their critical thinking skills, and share their voices.
This is How We Do It
This upcoming school year, we’re looking to transition our high school from Apple’s Mac OS X-based MacBook Air to Google Chromebooks, which the remainder of the Ames school district already uses. As part of this transition, I’ll ask students to explore some of the digital tools we’re considering. What better advocates/critics for certain tools than the actual end users?
Kids love anything that helps them create. At the middle school, we recently bought every student a subscription to Soundtrap, and I hope to bring it to the high school once the transition to Chromebooks is complete. Soundtrap is a cloud-based podcast

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