At Vartek, we focus on helping our school leaders create the learning environment that they envision – a classroom that effectively uses the most appropriate learning tool for the curriculum. Oftentimes, our Classroom Technology Coaches (CTCs) can assist teachers with leveraging existing or new technology to transform learning.

We want to celebrate these successes by highlighting Classroom Success Stories throughout our schools.

Casting a Wide Net Using Screen Sharing – Columbus School for Girls

Access to technology does not guarantee success. Keep your tool belt light, ask other teachers about successful implementations in their own classrooms, invite an instructional coach or specialist to plan or co-teach, and practice using the tools that will support your objectives and engage students.

Google’s Cast for Education is a simple-to-use extension that can be added to your browser through the Chrome Web Store. While only available for G-suite Education accounts, it gives the user the ability to turn their own computer into a wireless receiver, allowing self-selected individuals to project the contents of their screen onto the device running the application.

At first glance, this remote screen sharing might not scream “transformative” over the sound of 3D printers churning out large scale replicas of animal cells in the tech lab next door. But a closer look reveals just how big of a splash this application can make.

Active Student Engagement

Active student engagement was the focus of my most recent after-school technology session. Open to Upper School faculty members, the purpose of our meeting was two-fold: helping teachers download and setup the extension before utilizing it to generate ideas and examples of classroom use cases.

The first thing the teachers noticed was how simple it was to access and use the extension right from within their browser. “Cast for Education is really user friendly,” acknowledges Genelle Castro, Upper School Health and Wellness Instructor. “It is easy to use on my end and is really quite simple to explain to the students. There are so many things that I ask the kids to collaborate with me on anyways, this is just a really organic way to collaborate digitally,” she points out.

Teaching with, instead of for, technology allows the teacher to focus on the students and learning objectives, freeing up time to walk around the room, survey student work, and clarify misunderstandings in the moment. If a handful of students are mislabeling an ecological map of the Great Barrier Reef, for example, the teacher can explain to the whole group where the confusion is stemming from while one student presents their screen for everyone else to see. The role of technology is to help identify a problem and let the teacher do what they do best with that information: teach.

Cast for Education also gives students a chance to spotlight what they know, as Genelle provides an idea on how she sees two students working together during an upcoming anatomy unit: “One student will label the system on their computer while it is casted on the screen for all to see. Another student will narrate/explain the organs that the other student is labeling. Pretty simple but easy way to incorporate Cast into the class!”

Conditions will not always be smooth, but thoughtful charting and a willingness to get your feet wet are the first steps towards embracing the open waters and changing the course of technology integration inside your classroom.

Evan Heintz

Evan is a Classroom Technology Coach at Columbus School for Girls. Evan supports teachers in leveraging technology to transform the learning environment through co-teaching, lesson planning, and professional development.

If you’re interested in learning how Vartek CTCs can help increase technology integration in your classrooms, contact us today.