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

School is Starting

The bulletin boards are up, the desks cleaned off, the first ay letters written and the class schedules printed.  I am sure there are half a dozen or more things that I am forgetting but there are only a handful of days before a new batch of cherubs show up.

As far as technology goes it has been an exciting few days.  As the person in the building with the most experience with interactive whiteboards (or at least the impression of experience), I have been helping those who recently gained whiteboards of their very own.

When I arrived in Greenwood there were only two interactive whiteboards in our building. Now there is at least one per grade level as well as one for special education, music, and a fancy cart-mounted board that lives in the library.

When it comes to teaching someone the ropes of using an interactive whiteboard there are a few things that are universally useful. Some great examples include a mock-up of the assignment notebook, an assortment of maps and types of paper (lined paper, grid paper and dots), as well as a few ‘gadgets.’ Some of my favorites include using colored shapes to ‘reveal’ the answers to questions; a page that randomly picks students; and several timers to help keep track of time saved and time wasted.

But most importantly, I try to find the strengths of the teacher I am working with, what things will they use, what things will make their instruction sparkle and complement their teaching style instead of replacing it.  It’s my opinion that any new technology should be applied this way: Give teachers wings instead of crutches.

With the beginning of the year and school coming to life, I can’t help but be giddy with the potential of everything.  My lesson plans are in, seating charts at the ready, and all I can hear as I sit at home is my grandfather’s old clock ticking closer to Thursday …

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