Monday, January 25, 2010

Smart Boards

Spending time exploring and learning about all of the possible uses for smart boards this past week in class has really opened my eyes to the benefits of having one in the classroom. The students can really become involved in the lesson, whether it is more lecture based or activity based. I think that taking the time to create interactive lessons with this new technology can really enhance the learning experience.

I had no idea that there were so many different possibilities for activities on the smart board. I remember in high school I had a math class that used a smart board, but I don't think my teacher at the time made good use of it. All she did was use the marker tool instead of writing on the chalkboard. At that time I didn't see the value of having one in the classroom. If she had put some of the tools she had access to use I think it would have made a world of difference for me. The new understanding I have of Smart Board technology has shown me that any subject can benefit from this, which is great since I am going to teach at the elementary level and therefore need these kinds of technology for all subject areas.

I can see the definite value in using Smart Boards with younger students. Not only will they pay more attention and have more fun, they can get instant feedback while learning. For example, in an activity that requires a student to drag a term to the proper category, if the student gets it wrong he or she will know right away and learn the correct relationship between the category and term. He won't have to wait a few days to get a quiz or test back.

I am really looking forward to continue exploring the possible uses of the Smart board and implementing it in my future classroom.

Smartboards

I think this article clearly illustrates the benefits of using the Smartboard technology in classrooms. Putting aside the obvious bias that is present due to the fact that the article was written by the Smartboard company itself, it was interesting to read about the advantages interactive classroom activities present for students. I hadn't really thought too much about how hard it must be for students who better understand material if they are physically involved in it until reading this article. Smartboards allow students to be active and participate in a way regular discussion or note taking does not. Not only will this help teachers keep the attention of students, especially elementary students, but it will keep students themselves interested and involved in what is being taught. Thinking mainly of elementary students, I have seen, through coaching at BJHS, the excitement sixth graders experience when they get to write on the board in the rainbow or colorful pens. Overall, I think Smartboard is a great technology that really can only help make classrooms more engaging and effective for the next generation.

SmartBoard

I do agree with this blog to some extent. During my student teaching experience, I did notice that students were much more motivated to participate in my lessons when they had an opportunity to come up to the Smartboard and manipulated different objects, solve problems, and show their work. My student with ADD/ADHD would particularly benefit from using the Smartboard because it interested them and they would be more willing to pay attention if the Smarboard was involved.

I do believe, however, that this article plays up the Smartboard's ability to enhance student understanding and review processes. In order for the student's understanding to be enhanced, the teacher must first know how to use the Smartboard effectively. The article seems to assume that all teachers are proficient using the Smartboard. In my opinion, the Smartboard will be of no help until the teacher is trained to use it properly. At the beginning of my student teaching experience, I primarily used it as a whiteboard and didn't use many of the applications available. I wouldn't say that my student's learning was enhanced by the Smartboard at this point, especially because it was just being used as a board to write on. Had I been more trained to use all the programs, I feel that I would have been able to accommodate a variety of learning styles and enhance student understanding and review processes like the article claimed.

Smartboard Learning

The impression I got from the reading was that the Smart board will really revitalize teaching and learning. Math was referenced a couple of times during the article, about how students responded more to math lessons, improved their learning, and that the Smart board was more fit for mathematical concepts, especially geometry. With all the possibilities to actively include students in mathematical lessons, I believe interactive white boards will really change how math is taught and viewed by students.

Also, I believe that the Smart board is an advancement for helping individual students because it allows teachers to have lesson plans ready, easy to access, and gives them the ability to work with the students individually while the lesson is going on. This will allow better teaching and understanding of the material, as well as positive association with math classes.

Smart Board reading

This reading about the Smart Board really solidifed my view that it a key tool in the classroom of today and tomorrow. It is nice to know that there is such a technology out there to engage children in learning. We had a Smart Board at my grade school and it was so cool to use in english class when we were writing stories and doing grammar activities. Since then, I have used the Smart Board once or twice in high school. Now, I would like to have one in my own classroom, if possible. I like how in the article it really stressed how the Smart Board appeals to different types of learners. It does not matter if you are a visual or kinesthetic learner or have special needs, YOU can use the Smart Board to enhance your learning experience. Also, because of its wide range of learning activites, teachers can use it for almost any subject. One can disect a frog or go over parts of the body with the skeleton. In math, there is the spinner and dice you can use for probability. There is even a manipulative to use in learning how to write cursive letters. It's great! I also like the games you can use to make learning a little more fun. As the article describes, it is extremely user friendly as well. They make it very simple to manipulate text, pictures, and charts in you lessons. All of the icons are also very easy to identify as well. Overall, I really like the Smart Board and all of the things it can do to make learning fun, easy, and interactive.

Smart Board

I found that working with the samrt board creates many different and new opportunities for a teacher to expand the classroom. I could see it being very useful for elementary ed teachers since it will be a very good way to keep the students attentive with all of the different creative tools which come with the smart board. It also has very useful games and simulators which could work from any variety of subject, from grammar games for english to virtual frog dissection in science. As a history major, the tool which I found to be most useful would be the interactive maps. It would clearly be a useful tool when teaching geography, but it will also be very helpful when discussing wars, or even ancient empires. One criticism I do have about the smart board from my breif experiences with them is that many of their tools and activities seem to be very geared toward elementary classrooms, and they don't seem to have many High School level activities. Hopefully with more time and more usage the smart board will become an essential for any level teacher.

Interactive Whiteboards and Learning response

I found the article to be interesting, however I think it is also biased. The article is from SMART Technologies Inc., so it is clearly in their best interest to publish the success of the interactive white board. While I was reading it, I couldn't help but think that everything was a little too positive and there was not even one small complaint. That being said, I do agree that interactive white boards can be a positive addition to any classroom. I also agree that they can pull students in and keep them engaged for a longer period of time. I think they can also increase the motivation of a student, who might be willing to put in a little extra effort for a chance to go up to the board. I would be interested, however, in seeing a study on how long students continue to put in that extra effort. Like anything new, there is definitely a "wow" factor, which the article talks about. However, the article doesn't address if/when this wow factor decreases, which I'm sure it does. I don't think a teacher can count on wowing her students with the interactive whiteboard, I think that is more of a short term benefit.

One problem that I do have with the Smart board is that only one student at a time can be using it. I think having more than one person at the board at a time is a vital part of at least my teaching. I have dozens of lesson plans that include various people at the board at the same time answering questions, filling in charts, brainstorming ideas, etc. For example, one lesson I taught involved reflecting on the different aspects of Day of the Dead. As a quick warm up activity, I wrote "El Día de los Muertos" at the top of the white board and had students come up and write anything they remembered about this holiday. I had about five markers, meaning that at any time there were multiple students writing. After this initial brainstorming, I used what was on the board to first review what we knew and then transition into the new lesson. Had only one student been able to be at the board at a time, I don't think I would have done this lesson. It would have been too time consuming and I feel like I would have lost the attention of certain students while they waited their turn to add something to the list.

A part of the article that I completely agree with is the benefits for teachers. While student teaching, my main source of technology was the overheard projector. After teaching a lesson, I kept the transparencies, however I can't explain how often I wanted to refer back to notes from the previous days/weeks. A lot of times I wanted to refer back to the notes/ activities to help clarify a random student question, which means I didn't always have the exact transparency at hand. I know a lot of time was wasted while I pulled out the stack of transparencies and started flipping through them, looking for the correct one. I would have loved to have been able to use the technology the Smart board offers in saving notes/activities and easily referring back to them at a later time.