I was trying to get a different classroom ready for summer school last week and planning all the fun things I wanted to do with my summer school students using the Smart board when I ran into some technology issues. Fortunately, it was all repaired in time to use the board with students, but I was going into a real panic not being able to use some of the programs and activities I have established or created over a 8 year period by having a Smart board in my classroom.
It is amazing how quickly we come to depend on new technology in a classroom, but really interactive white boards have changed the face of teaching like smart phones have changed the way we communicate with each other.
When I started teaching, the only technology we used on a regular basis in a classroom was the overhead projector and occasional film strip projector. Now, I use the Smart board several times a day. Students are able to write, draw, click and drag on objects, read and view videos or multi-media displays. Anything we can do on a computer can also be done on the Smart board with the touch of a finger.
I always start my day with a letter written to the children that they can answer by writing or drawing on the Smart board. Sometimes they can select and drag items to sort objects or answer a question of the day. The students are all able to see, read and interact with the text in a deeper way than they can with merely writing on chart paper.
We also demonstrate any activity we are doing that day either in a template or by using a document camera. This gives children a real example and model of the work we are expecting them to do. I can also display videos, read Scholastic News or any other text in front of the class or as a shared reading. There are even web-based games or activities that are designed for interactive Smart board use. I also teach and demonstrate math concepts, language arts and science concepts all with the help of the white board.
In my class we always do the everyday math, calendar, graphing and even classroom birthdays on the Smart board. What is most useful about this technology is that all children can see it, interact with it and we can refer back to previous work because it is easily saved for future use.
Obviously any classroom could work without a Smart board, but the fact is in this day and age it is another tool that teaches children the capability of technology with real life applications. With more experience students are able to create their own work and research projects on the Smartboard. They learn how to read, link content, pictures even videos in a safe and controllable environment. It even can be used simply to doodle and create pictures. Over time the technology can be used in more and more ways and in my opinion becomes irreplaceable in every classroom.
What do you use your Smartboard or other interactive whiteboard to do?