Teachers are taking a digital approach
Technology creates new opportunities, and teachers are beginning to integrate more of it into their classrooms.
One of these technologies, dubbed "Google Classrooms," is an online blog where teachers can post assignments, announcements, video lectures, useful tools and grades.
Using Google Classroom, students can complete work assigned through internet links using Google Docs. This service is provided by Google for Education, to which the Nashua School District has a subscription.
South biology teacher Lisa Marshall said she learned about Google Classrooms last year through the New Hampshire Science Teachers Association.
"(I) saw it as a great tool to help students stay organized and have one place to go for all information," Marshall said.
Marshall has recruited other teachers, including Katherine Johnson, South Blueprints and Advanced Placement government teacher.
"I like the idea of using less paper in the classroom and having quicker access for students to turn in their assignments," Johnson said.
Students generally agree that Google Classroom is an easier way to turn in schoolwork because of its flexibility.
Nashua South Sophomore Owen Mooso said, "I like Google Classroom because it allows me to complete assignments without carrying as much paper around."
Among the positive features of Google Classroom is that teachers now have more discretion in regards to using class time. Marshall said she has the ability to attach videos of lectures so she doesn’t have to lecture all class, leading to more hands-on activities.
This is commonly known as the "Flipped Classroom," essentially when learning takes place outside of the classroom, while learning exercises can take place in class.
Johnson said class participation and completed work have increased since she started using Google Classroom. Students can provide evidence that they completed the work, instead of cramming it five minutes before a teacher checks it off at the beginning of class.
However, making Google Classroom a permanent feature of the school would only work with increased classroom access to computers.
"If we have more computers available because more teachers are using it, then we have more need for computers," Johnson said.
Over the past few years, the Nashua School District has invested in Chromebooks for students and teachers in the classroom, essentially creating a computer lab in the class.
However, many teachers find difficulties scheduling them because of the limited supply. If the supply were to increase, then the use of a program like Google Classroom would become more feasible.
"(Google Classroom) is more of a 21st-century approach to assignments, and students are used to accessing things digitally, and this is what they will experience in the workplace – more than paper assignments," Marshall said.
Cam McIntire is a sophomore at Nashua High School South.