The interactive smart board is substituting the hanging projector in many schools across the United States. Bringing smart board technology into the classroom can enhance school curriculum by taking a typical lesson and turning it into a fun activity.
Learning how to use a smart board in the classroom to make it an effective learning tool doesn’t have to be challenging, as long as you realize the fact that good teaching is still the most significant thing in any classroom. Teachers need to determine what their students need to learn and how best to teach them. As long a strong foundation of teaching is established, teachers can use any tool that can help them to achieve their goals.
Since 1991, smart boards have been making their way into K-12 classrooms to prove themselves as an effective teaching tool. Just like a snowball augmenting in size and momentum, smart boards are on a roll taking over classrooms.
How teachers can use smart boards in the classroom
Smart boards have remodeled the way teachers perform their duties, including how they manage simple record-keeping tasks, engage student interest, illustrate complex concepts, assess learning, and prepare students for an evolving digital world.
Like all other technologies, however, there are certain challenges for teachers trying to adopt smart boards. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of this technology. You could use it for:
Better classroom management
Smart boards are amazingly effective in the classroom for start-of-day tasks, including daily attendance and lunch count. So let’s get creative. For instance, every day before class, you could post large, colorful icons tagged with each student’s name. Plus, you could use the board to show different pictures of the day’s lunch options. Then, instead of recording roll call and lunch count on a magnet board or a pocket chart, the students could merely use their fingers to guide their name tags to their lunch choices. Once it is done, you could easily report attendance and lunch counts. You could save more than ten to fifteen minutes by inevitably completing this daily task.
This way, students can become comfortable with the touch process from an early age. And no doubt, this has become so important in using Wi-Fi digital tools, including notepads, e-readers, and tabs, etc. that most of the schools are embracing for instructional practice.
Curtail the need for eyes on the back of your head
Mostly, teachers flippantly say that it takes time to develop “eyes on the back of their heads,” so they can spot any mischievous activity when facing away from students. Smart boards improve classroom management by reducing the number of times teachers have to turn their back to the class in order to write on the traditional whiteboards. There is no need to monitor the students’ behavior in the classroom constantly.
Smart boards are connected to computers, so you can stand face forward and interact with the students by engaging their attention. You can attract their attention to a specific point with the help of PowerPoint presentations, videos, interactive websites, or software lessons with the whole class in a single sitting. This way, you could explain the whole concept before students begin to work on the same topic either in small groups or independently.
Furthermore, advanced smart boards have the ability to monitor classroom behavior using visual intelligence. With the help of a camera on the board or a device, it enables you to monitor all the activities of the students, and the device can present a real-time report to the teacher on how students are engaging in the classroom.
Build motion into kindergarten lessons
Young students have short attention spans. They respond better to all those instructions that involve movement and actions. For example, if you give them a chance to get up and answer a question or demonstrate a process to their fellow students, they will participate and learn more effectively.
It is interesting to mention here that according to the Australian Journal Teaching Science, a research study found that kindergarten students enjoy touching smart boards to answer questions and participate in lessons. They also respond interactively to graphical images. They can sort items using a digital pen to circle them or move virtual objects to show their teacher and other students what they know about the object.
Provide academic as well as digital learning
The intention of the smart board isn’t to take traditional book learning or paper testing away from students. Rather, they are used to reinvigorate students up by adding diversity to guidance. With a smart board in the classroom, you could provide students an opportunity to improve their digital and other presentation skills.
You can give all the students turns to operate the equipment. Nowadays, there are advanced smart boards available in the market that enable at least four students to interact with the board simultaneously. Furthermore, smart boards can expand your teaching skills regarding different subjects.
For example, in a fifth-grade classroom, smart boards can help you make fractions more coherent by showing the movement of virtual tools, including shapes of cubes, squares and graphical representation of the pie chart, etc. For middle school students, the smart board can help you in presenting the minor details of the Civil War history graphically. And, of course, for high school biology students, you can present virtual dissection of a frog only with the help of an interactive digital smart board.
Multiple choice assessments
With the help of a smart board, you could assess the knowledge of your elementary or higher grade students by conducting multiple choice tests in the classroom. You could also arrange a review session before the final assessment and ask all the students to participate in one-by-one sessions.
If your school provides them the right equipment or devices, you could even ask them to respond to a query by locking their answers from their handheld remote clickers. You can then review these answers later and use these results for grading. Though live assessment can reduce the chances of cheating, it is recommended to use student monitoring apps like Xnspy to ensure that all the devices are remotely controlled to block access to student websites or other sources that may help students to cheat.
In a nutshell, smart boards are smart choices to present a big picture of learning quickly and efficiently. With smart boards, you can make your lessons really interesting and fascinating. Connected to computers, they enable you to offer the entire class access to colorful and interactive educational content, student engagement assessment, automated attendance, and powerful learning as well as an effective assessment tool. These should be the reasons enough for you to choose a smart board for your classroom today!
Andrew Carroll is a former high school social studies teacher. He taught for eight and a half years at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in South Paris, ME. During that time he piloted 1:1 laptop use before the program went school-wide. He coordinated a “laptop squad” to support teachers’ use of laptops in their classrooms. His work is focused on sharing free web-based resources that educators can use to enhance their students’ learning experiences.