Integrating SMART Boards into the Classroom

Kyla Hogan - PED3177 C (Wednesday)


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Technology in the classroom has come a long way in the nearly 20 years since I graduated from high school. However, many teachers seem unsure of how to use it in a productive manner. Being a computer hardware & software specialist, it's perhaps no surprise that I think technology should be used in new and exciting ways. In my opinion, it’s not enough to present data with presentation software. You need to use new technologies to help make your subject matter more appealing to students and, from what I've seen lately, it can be done. I was amazed when I went to ‘meet the teacher’ night a few weeks ago and my daughter’s grade 3 teacher had the SMART Board on. There was a map of Canada on it with the provinces scattered around and the teacher showed us how students could go up to the board and drag and drop the provinces in their correct places. How cool is that?! This teacher was using the SMART Board technology in a way so as to make learning the location of the provinces not only educational but fun. The teacher said that the biggest problem with the activity was losing PEI and having to play hide-and-seek to uncover it but he thinks that just makes it more likely the kids will remember PEI's location. I had no idea that the SMART Board had this kind of potential, so I wanted to look further and see if it could be useful teaching intermediate/senior students. After all, perhaps it’s easy to make games out of learning grade 3 curriculum, but high school is another matter. Is the SMART Board just another gadget to drive teachers crazy or can it be used to enhance learning regardless of the subject and student age? Well, why don't you take a look at the following information and see for yourself.
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In this Wiki you can find:

The SMART Board is Great - A YouTube video featuring teachers and students who love the SMART Board.
An English Teacher Reflects - A 13 year teaching veteran reflects on how she ended up with a SMART Board in her classroom and what she did with it.
Another Perspective - A website run by two teachers with a discussion asking (mostly teachers) if technology in the classroom is worth the money.
Resources for your Classroom - Links to some interactive activities to help you use technology in your senior high English and Language Arts class.
Conclusion

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The SMART Board is Great!

Well, the opinion of the teacher in the following video is that the SMART Board technology is fantastic. In this short video, the teacher and students describe why they enjoy learning with the SMART Board.



My favourite quote from this video is when the teacher says:"The more fun you have with it, the more fun they’ll have with it. When they use the SMART Board, they become a teacher as well and they become teachers to other kids. Make it a community. That’s really what the SMART Board is, the SMART Board is a community. It helps you draws everyone together.”Table of ContentsBorder-LitPurple.jpg

An English Teacher Reflects...

Well, the YouTube video is perhaps only one teacher’s perspective but, as I searched, I found more and more positive reviews for the SMART Board. Check out this article written by a teacher who was in her thirteenth year of teaching and on the cusp of getting kind of bored with it. She got a SMART Board in her classroom almost by accident but now loves how much more she and the students get out of each lesson.
Link: Article written by English teacherTable of ContentsBorder-LitPurple.jpg

Another Perspective...

Not all comments on SMART Boards are favourable. Here is a discussion on a web site, run by two English teachers, that has a number of people weigh in on the question of whether or not we need SMART Boards to teach writing well. While not everyone was in favour, many people involved in this discussion commented on the fact that it gets students more involved.
Link: Teachers discuss SMART Boards pros and consTable of Contents

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Grammar Bytes: http://www.chompchomp.com/exercises.htm
This link will take you to Grammar Bytes to learn about common grammar mishaps with a gorilla. The game I played was to identify comma splices and fused sentences but there are sections for fragments, irregular verbs, commas, pronoun agreement, and many more. There is even a section on word choice. Each section has several interactive games and the games each have a .pdf file with all of the questions that you could give as a handout to the students before the game.
The Odyssey Vocabulary Games – http://www.quia.com/jg/1057741.htmlFlashcards, concentration, matching, and word search.
Macbeth PowerPoint Trivia Game -http://web.archive.org/web/20060925213237/www.alleghany.k12.va.us/DGB_ITRT/PP+Presentations/English/Multiple+Choice+Games_Eng/Macbeth.ppt

The following two links contain more links to interactive activities that cover many of the literary works that would be covered in grades 10-12. http://www.rockingham.k12.va.us/resources/high/solenglish.htm Note: not all links on this site work but most of them do.
Resources for teaching English with the SMART Board
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Conclusion


Do you NEED a SMART board to teach English and Language Arts? Well many people who commented in the discussion link above would say no. However, there were no students weighing in on that discussion and I think they're opinion would be decidedly in favour of using technology to spark their interest in a particular subject. I would certainly be more likely to play 10 of the games on Grammar Bytes than to do 10 'old fashioned' worksheets and I expect most students would agree. I don’t think learning has to be fun but if you can sneak some fun into it everyone can benefit. Table of Contents