Teacher Lee Briggs on technology in today's classroom. Brought to you by Weekly Reader.

Welcome back, SMARTboard

Many teachers in my district received SMARTboards this year. I’d had a SMARTboard in the last school I’d taught in, but after moving to Greenwood last year, I was without my beloved plastic slab for a year. Having an interactive whiteboard for two years—learning to use it, love it, and depend on it, and then having to switch back to chalk—I break into a sweat now just thinking about it.

Two teachers at Greenwood received SMARTboards last year. These were the first interactive whiteboards in the district. Part of my job was to teach them how to use that new tool in the classroom. I helped both of them learn the ropes while I held my jealousy at bay.

This year, three more teachers have received SMARTboards—me included, thank goodness.

The transition to using interactive whiteboards in the classroom, as it is for anything new in the school, was different for every teacher. For me, it was like coming home. The three teachers in my end of the building are not firmly chalk-free and online. We quickly scanned in worksheets and imported the scans onto the whiteboard. In one day, we made all of our overheads obsolete.

The SMARTboard has changed the way I teach. It has changed, too, how my students learn; they are more engaged than ever. Many of my lessons now resemble game shows. I have written several weeks’ worth of material on the board and never had to erase anything.

The interactive whiteboard is an example of a simple tool that has the potential to fundamentally change the future of education for the better. If you have one and apply yourself to it, you may already understand what it means to love the thing and wonder how you ever did without it. If you don’t have one, don’t worry; you may have one soon enough. Then you’ll understand completely.

I could go on for ages about the SMARTboard. In fact, I plan to post frequently about new skills I am picking up. I hope I’ll also get comments from you readers about how you use interactive whiteboards.


Comments on: "Welcome back, SMARTboard" (5)

  1. Elizabeth Wiegmann said:

    We are considering using Ipads in the classrooms and projecting the interactive screens through our projectors in place of white Boards do you know of any schools who may have gone this direction? Do you have any suggestions? Thanks

  2. Lee Briggs said:

    I have not heard of connecting an ipad to a projecor, after some looking it seems like it is theoretically possible and developers are able to do it, but its unclear what kinds of adapters/docking systems you would need to make that happen.(http://ipad4edu.com/questions/3/can-you-connect-the-ipad-to-a-projector) The ipad is great and I think it has a lot of potential, but I don’t like waiting around for developers to re-invent the wheel, plus apple decides what apps to put on the ipad- you might not be able to open everything or watch everything you would like (the ipad cannot play a DVD or use flash). I taught once with a tablet/projector combo and I found that I was glued the podium and that the tablet was a “teacher only” device. I like that the smartboard is something that anyone can come up to the board and use. however, the idea of having some kind of tablet is useful too, it was a lot easier to write on it at times than the smartboard. For your money, I don’t think anything beats having a smartboard connected to a desktop machine, then having a wireless tablet “remote controlling” it using a remote desktop program like VNC, this allows you to wirelessly write on the board and still have “come up to the board” time. While the ipad is great, there are a lot of more “open” tablet options out there if you are on the cheap, the Dell latitude 2100 (http://www.dell.com/us/en/k-12/notebooks/laptop-latitude-2100/pd.aspx?refid=laptop-latitude-2100&cs=RC1084719&s=k12) comes to mind- a full featured computer, very small, very tough that comes with a touch screen option.
    I would be happy to hear from anyone that has used an ipad in the classroom and how it works for them.

    • A colleague and I are sharing a set of 30 iPads in our first grade reading groups. Our action research project’s driving question is: Can iPads be used to measurably improve scores of recognizing the 100 first grade sight words, oral fluency, understanding vocabulary, along with literal and inferential comprehension. Since we use the RTI Model for Reading Instruction, my colleague has 20 students in her group and I have 10 (We have the classes with students that have the highest needs for intervention). At this point, we have only been using apps, but hope to “expand” to more things soon. It’s worked really great so far, we’re in our 3rd week of using them. I definitely agree with the issue of “no flash” being a bummer. Even though we have the wifi, the flash issue limits our internet usage. I also have a smartboard, and as you mentioned, could not live without it. I have taken numerous classes and have a pretty good handle on things. I also use the Senteo Response System Clickers and the Airliner Slate. The kids just eat it up. It also helps with discipline issues (iPads and SB) as no one wants to miss out for misbehaving! I could go on and on. If you’re interested, check out my delicious site for online bookmarks for smartboard and iPads! I’m looking forward to following these discussions! Thanks for doing this!


  3. Lee Briggs said:

    also found this for you:

    I stand corrected about the VGA adapter:

  4. I would love to hear some ideas for using I-Pod Touches in the high school English classroom!!

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