I chose to look at smartboards for my tech of choice this week. I know that they will be discussed more in-depth in class, but since I’m not going I figured I should research the technology anyhow.
In all the placements I have had I have only seem smartboards in one classroom. The teacher uses it to grade math problems, show you tube clips and other images that relate to class. It seems like a great tool, but I wasn’t sure of the extent of possibilities before this post.
I did a small amount of research (the majority being from Wikipedia, since we established last week that it was a credible source) and learned that smartboards were actually created in 1991! Maybe it was naive of me, but I assumed it was a very new technology. Since it is over ten years old I am surprised more classrooms do not have them. I also learned that smartboards are primarily used in education as a means of easily differentiating instruction, I had assumed that they were also used in business meetings and such. Another great feature of the smartboards is the pen tray. Once a pen is picked up the tray can sense what color it is and then the pen will write in that color, which is great for group work and individual student accountability. I was also unaware of the wealth of software available specifically to increase the useability of the smartboard in the classroom.
Smartboards have also been shown to really help ESL and special needs students since the children can learn in a variety of ways. The stmartboard allows the students to touch and see (not to mention the size and colors available for instruction) the combination of touch and sight is vital for most special needs as well as ESL students. Smartboards have also shown to decrease teacher stress. Studies have also shown that the touch screen capability comes more naturally to students, increasing it’s use and success with younger (preschool age) students.
One of the ways I would first use a smartboard would be in a math lesson. The smartboard allows different pages to be created and then ‘saved’ for later. I would take a problem and break it into different chunks on each page and have the students solve it from there. I also like the interactive grammar tool options that are available.