The Chromebook is Mightier Than the Sword: History Students Become Heroes

History students in the Perris Union High School District can do more than adorn their classroom walls with cool projects and posters. PUHSD students join larger communities of activists, historians, and journalists to make the world a better place. In one class, students learned about serious human rights abuses, chose a topic that resonated with them, and created thought provoking Prezis and Google Slide Presentations that were posted on a Weebly website to educate each other and call for an end to such abuses. Thanks to the Scholar+ program, Chromebooks, and Google Apps for Education, these students collaborated with ease whether they were sitting in groups or were at home extending their learning.

In another project, students used their Chromebooks to learn important communication skills before participating in the nation’s largest collection of personal interviews, known as Storycorps: Students used their Chromebooks to listen to touching interviews done by other students, created their own questions, and practiced interviewing one another. Then, students were invited to interview classroom guests, such as Technology Director Joe Williams.

Finally, the flexibility allowed by the Haiku Learning Management System allowed very quick instructional pivots when historical parallels suddenly present themselves. For example, in February, 2014, World History students were learning about policy of appeasement leading up to World War II. When Russia, under the leadership of Vladimir Putin, invaded the Crimean Peninsula, Mr. Ashley was able to use this event comparatively in his class. Students took polls and then were required to create an “Internet Meme” over the event. Some students succeeded in making very creative GIFs illustrating the aggressive behavior.

There is a learning curve for both teachers and students, but it is becoming clear that when wielded correctly, the Chromebook is  mightier than the sword - at least for Scholar+ students.