Google visits Mason City High School

Representatives from the company wanted to observe and learn from students on teachers on how they utilize their Jamboard technology in the classroom

Posted: Nov. 8, 2018 8:14 PM

MASON CITY, Iowa - Imagine a whiteboard that allows you to work on a project, combined with an interactive canvas that uses the internet, cloud technology and other smart features.

They're called "jamboards", which were created by Google. Now, a team from the company is visiting with students and teachers at Mason City High School to see what their product is doing for the classroom.

Kassie Drey is the tech coach at the high school, and since the purchase of the jamboards, the district has been posting how they're benefitting the classroom on Twitter. That caught Google's attention, and asked to come to the school to see their product in action.

"They're more here to see what are teachers doing, how's it going with students, and taking that feedback and build that platform. This was built for the business world, and now they are studying the education applications."

Emily Bruns has been teaching social studies for the last four years at the school, and says the addition of jamboards has helped the school play catch up in terms of tech in the classroom.

"I felt like we were behind the curve in terms of technology, especially at the high school, we didn't have a true 1-to-1 program. We didn't have any access to smartboards here."

And it helps ensure all students to learn.

"One of the benefits of jamboards is that they can be differentiated and diversified. So for students that struggle with reading and writing, there's a jamboard usage for them that will help them in the classroom succeed."

For senior Keira Nobis, she says the jamboard pairs perfectly with another Google product: the Chromebook.

"We have Chromebooks that we can take home, work on a project, and then we can even cast it on the jamboard for presentations or other forms."

And within a few months into the school year, the response has been positive.

"Teachers and the students both love it. Some people get so excited that they're like, 'can we use the jamboard today? I'm so excited!'"

The jamboard was initially released by Google in May 2017, and costs around $5,000. But Drey says it's an investment that can pay off in the long run by allowing teachers and students to be more flexible and creative.

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