(Cross-posted on the Official Google Canada Blog)

Last week all across Canada, students started a new school year. Educators everywhere have been getting ready for that first bell to ring and for classrooms to fill up. In the spirit of kicking off a new year, we talked with teachers in several provinces who are empowering their students with Chromebooks and Google Apps. We discovered some really inspiring work going on, so we’re sharing a few of our favorite stories here with you.

Grade four students Gabriel and Emily in Edmonton work on their e-portfolio sites.
Photo credit: Edmonton Public Schools
Bill MacKenzie is an Information Communication Technology Consultant for the Upper Grand District School Board just outside Toronto. He first introduced Chromebooks and Google Apps to the district’s 34,000 students two years ago. In deciding between platforms, MacKenzie noted, “What’s different about Google is the collaborative piece. More than one student can work on a project at the same time and share their work with others in the classroom or across the globe. That’s an absolute game changer for us.” Currently, 4,000 shared Chromebooks are deployed throughout the district’s elementary, secondary, and high schools.

IT Director Philippe Lemieux was equally excited about bringing Google Apps and Chromebooks to his French-language public school district in Canada. This fall, all 13,000 students and 38 schools in the Eastern Ontario French Public School Board will be using Google Apps, and over 3,000 Chromebooks will be deployed across the wide-spread school board. While Lemieux was blown away by the potential in Google’s collaboration platform, IT staff benefit too: “Chromebooks are the only thing I can deploy massively without adding staff, without adding resources, without a lot of preparation. It is so easy. We purchase them, we enroll them in our domain, and give them to schools.”

To the west, in Edmonton, Alberta, more than 96,000 students, staff, and teachers are using Chromebooks and Google Apps. Terry Korte coordinates Technology Integration Planning Services for Edmonton Public Schools, where dedicated labs have been replaced by class sets of Chromebooks. Students have access to the technology right in the classroom, and “they’re writing more, editing more, accepting feedback more. Google Apps is a real leveling force across our district.”

We’re excited about what educators in Canada are doing with Google technology and can’t wait to share more about their and others’ work with you throughout this school year.

To learn more about Chromebooks you can contact the Google Education Team through our website. Or learn from some educators: Scott Monahan and Jim Jamieson are Digital Literacy Resource Teachers for the York Region District School Board in Ontario. As part of their board's roll out of Google Apps for Education to over 120,000 users, the two have organized a “Google Camp” for more than 500 of their teachers next month; join their G+ community to get in on the conversation.