East embraces internet education in English class

By Amanda Tonoli



East High School English teacher Jennifer Coles-Shesko is embracing the school’s new Chromebooks to their fullest by using them to prepare her students for their upcoming American Institutes for Research tests.

In March, East High rolled out the district’s 1:1 initiative, providing about 600 East students with $200 Chromebooks to use during school.

Co-teacher Dennis Miller joked about students’ technology savvy by saying: “Sometimes they’re teaching us.”

Coles-Shesko said it’s difficult to “fight” technology coming into the classroom, so she embraces it.

It is obvious the students embrace it, too, working silently on their assignments in Coles-Shesko’s fifth-period class.

This week, her students were given a novel to read and instructed to make connections to the text by familiarizing themselves with the 1960s, and to draft an essay of their findings.

“It’s good, hands-on practice for the tests because the AIR tests are online,” Coles-Shesko said. “Instead of direct instructing, we are facilitating their classwork. Doing this in the classroom keeps them engaged and helps them get connected to the subject matter and the upcoming test.”

Miller said class engagement has since improved “immensely” and he wishes the Chromebooks had arrived sooner to give students more test practice.

Sophomore student Melanie Guzman said she appreciates being able to have a wealth of information at her fingertips.

“It’s nice to be able to have access to the web all day in school,” said Arnaldo Oliveras.

Coles-Shesko said the Chromebooks are helping students grow regardless of their timing entering the schools.

“We have students who can now learn at their own speeds – some can even work faster than before,” she said. “I think the Chromebooks will improve growth and fill in some gaps we have as time goes on. It’s just another tool we have to help get them where they should be.”

She added that it’s nice to be able to give every student the same chance to work with the latest technology in education.

“We have good kids [at East] who deserve to have equal learning opportunities,” she said.

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