We are introducing a new feature to our blog called “From the Vaults”. These articles have been previously published in our blog and we felt the content was still relevant and worth sharing with you again.
One Easy Fusion of eBook and Whiteboard
Recently a good friend of mine invited me to visit his school – a small local elementary school. As a former teacher and administrator, I was excited about visiting – especially as their school had recently taken delivery of a few SMART Boards. I had heard so much about interactive whiteboards that I was curious to see them in action in an elementary classroom.
Interestingly, what I had heard about interactive whiteboards in classrooms had been a mixture of good and bad. They were certainly heralded as amazing pieces of technology with the potential to enhance the teaching and learning in a classroom. But I was also being told that due to a lack of materials specifically designed for them (as well as the osmotic training method being applied…), many were sitting largely unused in classrooms. (I even heard stories of one Math teacher using his interactive whiteboard as a regular whiteboard, with regular whiteboard pens – yikes!)
I was welcomed into a second grade classroom and had the pleasure of witnessing an amazingly engaging lesson that involved all the students in the classroom, and the SMART Board. The teacher was doing a comprehension and vocabulary lesson with her students. She was using a regular PDF eBook – great content but nothing fancy in regards to interactivity. She had downloaded it onto her laptop (which was connected to the interactive whiteboard) and had opened the eBook to a page that had a story on the top half of the page and questions on the bottom half of the page.
Using a very basic aspect of the software that ships with the SMART Board, the teacher was able to easily cover (like a roller window blind from the bottom of the page up) the bottom half of the page containing the questions. She then worked through the story one sentence at a time with different students reading each sentence. After the sentence was read, another student would underline (using the SMART Board pens) any new words in the sentence. These words would then be written on the whiteboard beside the story as a list of new words.
Next the class read through the entire story together and then reviewed the new vocabulary words to ensure comprehension and correct pronunciation. Now it was time for the questions which again the teacher uncovered one at a time. Answers were once again solicited from the students and the “blanks” beside the questions were completed with the answers, again using the SMART Board pens. Once the entire page was completed, the teacher hit one key on her keyboard and we all heard a “click” as a photo was taken of the screen. This JPG was saved for future reference.
The students had a blast, the desired lesson/learning outcomes were met, and the teacher made use of some innovative technology in a basic and useful manner. Perfect!
Could the lesson have used even more functionality of the technology to be further enhanced? Yes. Could the lesson have been more effective with a greater element of “amazement” in the technology? Possibly. (But how many times have you listened to a speaker at a conference who had his PowerPoint doing amazing, cool things? Do you really remember what he was talking about? Or were you more focused on what might happen with the special effects on the next slide?)
1) the use of technology in the classroom doesn’t have to be high end to be effective
2) learning to use technology effectively in the classroom is like eating an elephant – one bite at a time is most effective
3) technology should fit the lesson – don’t try to make the lesson fit the technology
4) using technology should be an enhancement, not a distraction
I know that many of our customers have interactive whiteboards in their classrooms and use eBooks from DedicatedTeacher.com in a variety of ways with this technology. Come to our eStore for a large inventory of educational materials that can be used as the teacher in our article used in her classroom. Also, check out our interactive Whiteboard materials now available in our eStore.