Giving students and teachers access to devices is only a small part of a successful technology rollout. They also need powerful classroom tools that have the ability to connect the entire school community.
Technology for Every Student and Teacher
Bishop Gorman High School, a leading private college preparatory school in Las Vegas, decided to bring a 1:1 device model to the school to remove a technology bottleneck. Although the school’s 1,500 students had access to technology through shared laptops and computer labs, dividing device time throughout the school was preventing students from easily accessing and using technology.
“Students and teachers needed a consistent way to use technology without each classroom competing for individual computer time,” explains Bishop Gorman President John Kilduff. “Instituting the 1:1 iPad program gave students the ability to fully immerse themselves in the technology and prepare for a successful academic and professional future.”
New devices would not only increase access to technology for students, but they would also give the school the opportunity to provide a platform for teachers and students to create and share assignments, collect feedback, and work together in a cohesive, consistent manner. Bishop Gorman Director of Instructional Technology April Sauline began researching which of the classroom management apps on the market could create this type of collaborative environment. Once she found Showbie, she knew it was perfect for Bishop Gorman.
“After reviewing multiple paperless classroom apps, I found that Showbie was by far the most advanced,” says April. “Showbie gives users the ability to seamlessly share and save assignments and provide feedback across multiple platforms. It is a complete game-changer in our paperless classrooms.”
Finding the Key for Successful Implementation
Introducing new technology at a school can present a significant challenge. Rather than implementing Showbie schoolwide, April instituted a pilot program with a small group of teachers who were excited to use Showbie to create content for their classrooms. Over several months, April and her pilot team worked together to analyze Showbie’s features and determine how it would be most effective at the school. April says the pilot program was critical to the success of implementing Showbie at Bishop Gorman.
“Analyzing the data from our pilot program gave me a deeper understanding of how Showbie could be utilized in our classrooms,” explains April. “Without this knowledge, I would not have been able to conduct and maintain a smooth campuswide rollout of the app.”
The pilot also showed that training would play a vital role in a successful implementation of Showbie. As a result, Showbie training is offered at the beginning of every school year. Training is divided into sessions for both new and current users, which ensures that everyone has a comprehensive understanding of Showbie and how to incorporate its features into classroom instruction. April and her team also provide on-demand tech support throughout the year to give teachers the tools and resources they need to successfully use Showbie. Feedback has been 100 percent positive. Even teachers who say they are not “tech savvy” love Showbie.
The Impact of a Digital Classroom
While Showbie has advanced Bishop Gorman’s goal to be 100 percent paperless, there has been another positive impact – increased communication and accountability for the entire school community. President Kilduff explains, “With all Gorman administrators, educators, students and parents having access to Showbie, everyone can now keep track of a student so that nothing gets lost in the cracks.”
“With everyone having access to Showbie, we can now keep track of a student so that nothing gets lost in the cracks.”
To increase communication, April used Showbie to create “class groups” to communicate with each grade of students at Bishop Gorman. Additionally, all related administrators and teaching staff are able to join each class group as “co-teachers” so that they may electronically communicate with everyone in that grade. Bishop Gorman also uses “Showbie Slips” (reminders via Showbie) for assignments, volunteer opportunities, meetings and student activities. This method of communicating with students is unparalleled.
“With the click of a button,” says Dean of Students Kenneth Sanchez, “I can now personally communicate with each and every student in the school, rather than spending the time searching for them on campus and taking away valuable instructional time if I need to pull them out of the classroom for a meeting.”
Bishop Gorman is completely committed to holding students accountable, and now teachers can more easily do this through Showbie. Teachers use Showbie to track student progress on work, remind them of upcoming deadlines and answer questions about assignments. Showbie not only helps teachers hold students accountable, but the app also has proved invaluable for students as they manage multiple assignment deadlines, class expectations, and group projects.
“Showbie is my lifeline to my school,” says Arianna Sanchez, a sophomore at Bishop Gorman. “Without Showbie, I wouldn’t be able to stay organized with all of my projects and assignments. It’s also nice because I can communicate with group members on projects that we are working on when we can’t meet in person.”
Parents are also pleased that they can track their child’s assignments as well as progress reports anytime. With more parental involvement, students are held more accountable for work and are less likely to fall behind or struggle to meet deadlines.
Monica Sanchez, parent of a student at Bishop Gorman, explains, “With access to my child’s Showbie account, I can help her plan her week so that she can get all of her schoolwork done, while still having time for after-school activities and fun!”
Across the board, the Bishop Gorman community highly values the ease with which Showbie can be used to communicate with one another and to stay on track with assignments and projects. “Ultimately, Showbie helped to solve problems that all teachers – and even administrators –were having across campus,” April says. “That is why within just two years of implementing the app, today all of our teachers at Bishop Gorman are using Showbie as their primary workflow app.”