March 27th, 2019
When I first moved to Amsterdam in 2014, there were a small number of passionate educators using Google tools to shape digital teaching and learning. Schools like Corlaer College, a secondary school in Nijkerk, were already working with Chromebooks at the time. Over the next few years, organizations like Corlaer invited others to learn from what they were doing. I saw educators sharing their stories and experiences with one another through communities like Google Educator Groups.
Across these schools, one common thread we noticed was that teachers were using Chromebooks as a way to make learning more accessible and prepare every student for a future where they’ll need digital skills. “The role that schools play in society is shifting. They no longer just impart facts and theories. It’s just as important that students learn skills such as cooperation, communication, reflection and research, which prepare them to play a role in society,” says Ronald Schaefer, Vice Principal at Corlaer College.
This school-led movement brought Chromebooks and G Suite to more classrooms, enabling students to work together and learn from one another efficiently and effectively. Since then, Chromebook adoption across The Netherlands has been rapidly growing. At the same time, our partners have developed an ecosystem of tools which extend the functionality of the G Suite Admin Console and the G Suite for Education experience for students and Chromebooks in collaboration with Dutch IT admins and teachers. One of these is Cloudwise’s “COOL picture login,” which allows young students to get started in a simple way by using pictures to log into their Chromebook, instead of memorizing their email address and password.
At ds. Pierson College, students are also using G Suite and Classroom to work at their own pace, in their own way. Teachers can see exactly where students are with the content of the curriculum and take into account differences between pupils. “I sometimes have thirty pupils in my English class, none of whom are doing exactly the same lesson at any one time. As a teacher, you take on more of a coaching role,” says Frank Klumpers, who’s an IT coordinator at the school.
Schools in the Dr. Schaepman Foundation prepare students for a digital future by creating their own Google Sites and linking them to Classroom and Forms, developing their own digital portfolios. The school’s ICT coordinator Björn de Wals explains, “This portfolio will contain everything that they’ve done. If they’re proud of a project, a drawing or something they made in craft lessons, they can share it with their parents and grandparents.”
Futuresource, a leading market analyst, released a new report showing Chromebooks were the top-selling device in Benelux schools in 2018. With this news, they join the U.S., Canada, Sweden and New Zealand, where Chromebooks are also the top devices used in classrooms.
Today, there are 80 million educators and students around the world using G Suite for Education, while 40 million students and educators rely on Google Classroom to stay organized and support creative teaching techniques. Meanwhile, Chromebooks are opening up a world of possibilities both inside and outside the classroom for 30 million students worldwide.
For the coming years, I know that teachers in the Netherlands will continue to amaze me with their use of technology in the classroom and make learning more accessible for every student. And that’s the real goal.