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Using Chromebooks to record student Voice

Started by Charlotte Hills 20 Dec 2015 11:39pm () Replies (26)

Looking to connect with others who are successfully using Chromebooks as a way to develop strong student voice.  

Is anyone using individual student blogs as a way to record student voice?

What are some useful apps that can be utilized on Chromebooks to engage learners?   

Or... have you found some flaws using Chromebooks that hinder capturing student voice when using a Chromebook?


  • Becksnewton (View all users posts) 26 Jan 2016 12:27pm ()

    HI Charlotte, 

    A great question and some great discussions going on!

    Another way to capture student voice with any device operating in  a GAFE domain is Google Forms. (Here is a link to a great 'start up guide" from Alice Keeler if you are new to forms.

    You can create surveys on any topic, for a huge range of reasons.  You can plan events, get students to book workshops, set a quiz or a follow up activity, or collect other information in an easy way. The great thing about forms is that it collates all responses easily for you. You can get students to provide yourself feedback on how a particular lesson was for them or as a "get to know you" exercise. There are also many ways you could incorporate forms into your teaching but I didn't want to stray too far from the original question about student voice. (If you did want some more ideas, here is a great video from the wonderful Leigh Hynes about using google forms to flip learning!) 

    Good luck with your journey this year!  Sounds like exciting times ahead for you and your students :-) 


  • Charlotte Hills (View all users posts) 26 Jan 2016 1:55pm ()

    Hi Becks

    Thanks for joining the convo... well definitely check out the links you provided, many thanks :-)


  • Charlotte Hills (View all users posts) 21 Jan 2016 5:43pm ()

    It will be interesting to see if I find that kids stop communicating with 1:1... will let you know what happens.... but I do think we as teachers have to make time to ensure the kids stop to feedback...  :-)

  • Katarina Moore (View all users posts) 17 Jan 2016 8:54pm ()


    I used Hapara last year including workspace. Using Hapara makes it easy to have an overview of the students work including gmail and blogs. You don't have this feature with Google classroom. With Hapara Workspace you can easily share tasks/activities with the class or groups of students. In the end of last year I went to a Google classroom workshop. There were some features I liked that I haven't found in Workspace e.g marking of submitted work. I'm planning to use both for different purposes this year. I wouldn't like to be without Hapara though. 

    I had 1:2 last year and it worked well with children collaborating and discussing with each other. However at times, especially during writing I'd prefer it my class had 1:1. I've tried to used it so one student is writing and the other proofread at the same time (they of course continuously discuss what to write) but I find the student who is a proofreader often gets bored and off task. During writing I've had more success with collaboration if they have a shared doc (with their own section) so they can see what their buddies are writing and get ideas from each other.


  • nicki fielder (View all users posts) 18 Jan 2016 10:59am ()

    Thanks for your post Katarina... I have found it really useful as I look forward to how I will use both this year. You mentioned being able to view work on blogs. How do you use blogs within your programme with students ... Just looking at the purposes and where blogs and google docs fit.


  • Katarina Moore (View all users posts) 01 Feb 2016 8:55pm ()

    Hi Nicki

    My students share their learning and work on their blogs. It gives the children an authentic audience. During reading, I often incorporate blogging. The students read others blogs and comments. Before we do this I spend time with the class to look at what a quality comment is. This year I'm hoping to encourage more parents to check their kid's blog and post comments. Quadblogging is also a great way to get going with blogging.


  • Jace7 (View all users posts) 14 Jan 2016 10:33pm ()

    I am thinking of reducing the number of chromebooks to 1:2 in some collaborative work as it then requires greater communication  between partners as I notice there has been a reduction in talking since being 1:1 in the classroom. 

    Has anyone else noticed this?

  • Johnny Zondagh (View all users posts) 15 Jan 2016 10:51am ()

    Hi Jace7,

    Yes, that sounds good to me as I have noticed the same phenomenon.

    Actually I was contemplating 1 : 3 or will that cause another problem?


  • Johnny Zondagh (View all users posts) 14 Jan 2016 4:07pm ()

    Hi Charlotte,

    We use Chromebooks and I find it a very useful tool. Since we have UFB installed at our school it is working much better. Previously we experienced too many connection problems to be achieving the required results. Last year I started using blogs with my students. This was more of a trial than anything else, however, I hope to take it a step further this year and develop it into an effective tool to record student voice. I have also used Google slides to work collaboratively with my students which I found realy good. Furthermore, Google classroom allows you to grade students work, give feedforward and feedback in an online environment. The beauty of it all is when students are away for various reasons, but they have access to the internet, they can easily stay up to date with their school work. Google Classroom is continually improving their service and I like using it very much. I am wondering how others are doing collaborative learning using Chromebooks and other digital technology.

    Regards, Johnny

  • Charlotte Hills (View all users posts) 14 Jan 2016 5:53pm ()

    Hi Johnny

    I will have to look into UFB, thank you for raising it.

    So how are you going to develop student voice with their blogs?  What have you been doing to this point?

    This year our kids from years 4-8 will have individual blogs with the aim of developing student voice and agency.  I'm proposing that the parents, student and teacher work together, online & in person, using the blog as a central point to share, discuss and consolidate learning.  

    I see you use google classroom... have you tried using Hapara Dashboard where you can do all that and more?   Hapara Dashboard has a workspace where you can set dates, provide work to view and instruct on what needs to be completed.  You also have access to what they are viewing online, when they are online.  Our school uses Hapara and I have found it helpful as I can get students to collaborate with me or other students using the comment feature.

    This year I am going to use Workspace - I need some training in it though :-)




  • Johnny Zondagh (View all users posts) 15 Jan 2016 11:08am ()

    Hi Charlotte,

    The hope is that by using blogs the students will be more engaged and conscientious in their writing. They could express their own opinion and in their own words about the topic. At the same time they could write about topics they are interested in to fully engage them. I started my own blog too and asked students to comment on my articles. We did this during the last term and need to take it further, grow their confidence and have more fun and involve parents too.

    We are a Google school and just makes sense to me to continue along this path. I find Google Classroom rather useful as I can comment on what they are doing while they are doing it, so long they have shared their Google doc or slides with me. I have also used Google slides where I created the slides, one for each student. They had to choose one slide to work collaboratively and comment on each other's slide in the comments box.

    How has collaboration worked for both you and your students? Did you find them to be more engaged and participating?




  • Charlotte Hills (View all users posts) 15 Jan 2016 5:44pm ()

    Hi Johnny

    We are setting up and going with invididual blogs this year from Y4-8.  Currently only some classes have been using blogs.  This year all classes will have a blog as well to record and share student learning with parents and the wider community.

    It sounds like Hapara is very similar to Google Classroom.   

    In regard to collaboration I see many opportunities to develop this with my students, but it comes down to how I set it up.  I have heard a few teachers comment on how a kid can zone out into their own work when working with a 1:1 device.  This is true if the activity is not set up initially as a collaborative one.  Last year I found  that students were more than capable of deciding on what part of the task they would complete as part of a pair or small team (Y5/6 class).  Although, getting them to get it done was another thing!  Having to share a device between two students was a draw back, as inevitability the stronger of the pair would take over.

    This is how I see it rolling out this year with 1:1 devices.  Over half the learning activities I set up need to have a collaborative component to it.  I might have four students (could be bigger or smaller groups) working around the same topic, who each decide on which part they will complete as part of the team.  All parts need to be understood by members in the team as they move forward to ensure they are locating and synthesizing the right material.  So time needs to be set aside where sharing and discussion of learning takes place.  At the end, individually and sometimes as a group, a presentation of their findings would be required to see what connections and new learning took place.  All the collaborative work takes place in one document, which means of course that all students work from this, adding their thoughts, comments and learning.  

    If I want my students to develop and continue to communicate verbally with their peers, I must make time for it and insist on it.  We all know what it is like when we are reading a good book.... hard to put it down. So we must ask the students to stop, assess, reassess and move on.  

    Johnny & Jace how to you encourage your students to communicate with each other?






  • Johnny Zondagh (View all users posts) 20 Jan 2016 12:19pm ()

    Hi Charlotte,

    Last year my students were communicating only through the comments they could leave on both their blogs and slides used in collaboration. I would like then to continue this trend and will look into Blogger and see if that will work better. I don't have the opportunity to use Hapara yet, but do think it may work well. This will be the case particularly to keep better tabs on what students are doing online. However, in saying that, we all know that we are trying to create independant learners and in the college/high school environment in particular.

    Would you say that your students are more engaged when they work collaboratively?

  • Charlotte Hills (View all users posts) 22 Jan 2016 2:36pm ()

    Definitely more engaged when they both have something to do towards the completion of the task :-)

  • Jess Robieson (View all users posts) 11 Jan 2016 2:07pm ()

    Hi Charlotte,

    There's no 'Tips' as such using Hapara, it is pretty straight forward, But one of the great things is the page that shows you what is on the students screen, and what tabs they have open. Now not so much to be watching them, but more the fact that the students know that you can do it at any time (after showing them once at the start of the year) so it helps them to focus, Just as it would if you were roaming around the classroom.

    I have been looking further into workspace, it seems to be really cool, not only providing help when setting assessments, but a whole collaborative working environment where everyone can contribute.

    All the best.

  • Charlotte Hills (View all users posts) 11 Jan 2016 4:40pm ()

    Thanks Jess for your feedback.

    I was wondering if you have used 'Google Classroom' at all?  If so which do you prefer.... Hapara or Google Classroom?

    Kind regards, Charlotte


  • Charlotte Hills (View all users posts) 07 Jan 2016 12:10am ()

    Hi Jess

    We go 1:1 chrome books from Years 4-8 this year so I'm super excited on what the possibilities will be.

    I am keen to know more about Hapara and work with 'Workspace' to allocate learning for my students to provide opportunities for them to play a more independent role with how they manage their learning.  Do you have any tips for using Hapara?  



  • terrywithers (View all users posts) 02 Jan 2016 9:45pm ()

    Kia ora Charlotte, enjoying reading the replies.  We have been a BYOD for year 6 for a year now (rolling into our 2nd) and now our year 5s are trialling it.  As the e-learning coordinator we have suggested either chrome books or PCs as I truly believe that it is not the device that matters but how we as facilitators use it.  We also use Hapara Teacher Dashboard, which is great, it enables us to collaborate any time. 

    The great thing about the whole ‘device’ or ‘chrome book’ thing is student agency.  There is so much more choice (authentic choice) that you can use when doing your literacy plans and other curriculum areas.  Students work collaboratively and take a lot more responsibility for their learning.  They can gather their own research material to assist any learning that is happening.  We use the feedback tool a lot – this really empowers the students, because not only do I comment on their learning but their peers do to. 

    The other thing we do is 80/20 time or Passion Projects (if you google it there is a lot of different names for this).  This allows the students to control what they want to learn about and how they want to present work.  It really motivates the students to complete other learning tasks assigned to them (not that they really need much more encouragement).  We have found that this really helps the students become increasingly capable of self-regulating and collaborative.  Basically we have found that this was a great way to embrace 21st century skills.  If you are interested I am happy to share with you more details about how we do this in class – not sure if I am going in the right direction in helping here.  

  • Charlotte Hills (View all users posts) 07 Jan 2016 12:23am ()

    Hi Terry

    Thanks for your response.  YES I'd love to know more about how you implement 80/20 time as we go 1:1 chrome books this year and I want to maximize their potential for collaborative practice and developing their student voice to not only review their work, but provide ways for their peers to improve their outcomes.

    I have a Year 5/6 class this year and am very open to any ideas/suggestions you have in regard to raising student agency.

    Another question for you... we are going 1:1 student blogs this year as a way of recording student voice, and a way to share their learning with the community.  Set up much like the Manaiakalani Project:  http://www.manaiakalani.org/our-story/journey

    What are your experiences with student blogging?

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Kind regards





  • terrywithers (View all users posts) 11 Jan 2016 7:59pm ()

    Kia ora Charlotte, love to share - I am off on a camping holiday tomorrow so will response when I get back.  Just quickly thought - Hapara is great, I couldn't function without it (I think).  I found its main strength is the ability to give instant feedback and feed forward, either by me or the students themselves.  They can do this either by voice or written message.  Google classroom is good - but we don't have anyone on staff that can set it up and maintain it - if you had a full time IT person it would be great.  With Hapara you pay a small fee per child but they set it up and monitor etc.  We have used Kiwischools to start with, gave me the confidence to use it etc (they set it up and monitor with tutorials etc).  I will respond again soon.



  • Jess Robieson (View all users posts) 01 Jan 2016 11:49am ()

    Hey Charlotte,
    We have used Chrome books for the last two years and loved it. Although we only have about 4 or 5 per class, they are the ones that the students prefer, compared to the other Toshiba and Acer netbooks we have. It's not just that they are the newer ones, but they love them because they are fast. Chrome OS has no built in software or anything so does not need any updates and means that students can access their work and settle quicker, rather than having to wait for ages for a computer to start. We recommend them for our BYOD.

    The main software I love is Hapara Teacher Dashboard. It is great to be able to see what the kids are up to, where their attention is being focused, and what they have in their drive/gmail. I also find that the fact that the kids know that I can see that all, means that they are sensible with what they do, and settle quicker when they know I am watching, just like I would when they are using their books. Parents are also like to know about it as they have piece of mind knowing that someone is watching over them and they are getting done what they need to.

    Another great feature of Hapara, and one I plan on looking further into next year, is the Workspace. This is where students can be assigned a task on Drive, and given a set deadline in which the task needs to be completed. When this rolls around, the document the student has been working on becomes a read only. That way, even if I set the deadline for a Friday at 3pm, and don't get to marking until Sunday. I know the students haven't gone on over the weekend and added to it, where others worked hard to reach the deadline.

    Hope this helps.

  • Charlotte Hills (View all users posts) 23 Dec 2015 10:19pm ()

    Agreed, blogging allows for the collection of student voice.  In 2016 each class will have a blog and from Year 4-8 each student will have their own blog... it's going to be interesting times!  

    Do your students have their own blogs?  If so how often are they posting?  

    Re the voice typing tool..... this year I had two of my boys use it.  When they were left to their own devices (I wasn't sitting next to them when they did it), they would lose their train of thought and go off task.   It might also have been because they had to go off into the side room so the voice tool could record their thoughts.... they may have also felt excluded having to go off into the room..... how do you manage this in your classroom?

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