As education majors, it is important that we are aware of what our teaching environment will be like in a few years. As years progress, the technology component in a classroom is becoming more and more prevalent. There are an unbelievably large number of ways that teachers can incorporate technology into their lessons regardless of the subject. One type of technology that is becoming very popular in many of the classrooms we are in is the smart board. This is prevalent in the English, math, and education classes we are currently taking at John Carroll.
An interactive smart board is basically like an electronic whiteboard. It allows images and videos from a computer or phone to be displayed largely on the board for students to see. Not only does it do that, but its writing component is what makes it even more useful. There are many different features when using the whiteboard to write. To write on the board all you have to do is use your finger as a pen. For example, teachers are able to change the color of the pen and change the width with a click of a few buttons. There are also features that allow teachers to move whole paragraphs or images and put them in a different spot on the board for spacing convenience. The eraser and undo buttons are also very useful and make transitions much easier.
From a math standpoint, I have been learning from a smart board for about two years now. In my math classes at John Carroll, I have had one teacher who consistently uses the smart board to teach her classes.
At first it was a bit challenging to learn with, but each day it became easier. I started off learning about how the board works by simply observing the teacher. Right from the beginning I was very intrigued by this type of technology. I watched as my professor used the board with such ease. She would write equations for us students and change the color of the pen for different steps of the problem, which made it easier for myself to recognize which numbers were associated with one another. The professor would import graphs onto the board and enlarge the image so that my class could clearly see what was going on with the graph. I loved that she did this because it made it easier for me to learn by seeing the large image of the graph on the board, and what my professor would draw on it. It lets me be able to write alongside her. When she doesn’t like where she wrote a statement, she uses the copy and paste feature to move it, which I really like. She just draws a dotted circle around the statement she wants to move, and then pastes it in a different spot. This helps me because it makes it much easier for me to see where certain statements should be on my paper, and then I can quickly make those same adjustments.
What I really benefited from when learning from the smartboard, was that things were able to be done with such ease. This really let me see how the math problems were different from one another. I am a visual learner, which is probably why I find the smart board so helpful. It really helps me be able to see what is going on in class by watching the teacher use different colors and fonts to make certain concepts more distinct. In math there are a lot of formulas, and with the smart board, my professor is able to highlight and color coat each formula so that I know what formula goes with what problem. I cannot express how much this has helped me. I am a very organized person, and the smartboard keeps everything very organized when watching the lessons in class.
It also lets me have more hands-on opportunities. I have better access to walking up to the board and writing when my professor uses a hands-on approach. She asks us to come up to the board and show the class how to solve a problem, which I really like because I am also a tactile learner. As soon as I am done writing, she can edit what I wrote (or drew), and then quickly remove it from the screen for the next student. The smart board sparks much discussion between myself, the teacher, and the kids in the class while solving problems together.
From an English standpoint, a smartboard can be a useful tool as well. Over the course of my John Carroll classes, I have learned that a smart board can be utilized to elevate my learning. I have had several professors incorporate a smart board in a myriad of ways. One professor that I had would have the learning objectives and the tasks for the day written on the board. She would use the smart board to play videos, display prompts, and show pictures. On more than one occasion she would ask questions and then write the students’ responses on the board as they spoke. She would incorporate activities where she and her students would annotate passages or leave notes on assignments. This made it possible to do assignments both as a class and individually. Another professor that I have strictly uses it to display powerpoints and videos to his class. Every day that I would come in there would be some sort of visual available for us to look at as we went through our learning. For both of these professors, they give me the opportunity to see what we are learning and talking about in a visual format, which helps me to understand the concepts better. This has certainly impacted my personal learning by teaching in an interactive way through technology. The board not only benefits my learning, but it makes things much easier, quicker and more convenient for teachers. Personally, it makes concepts more clear by the number of tools the board has.
As future teachers, this is definitely something we want to incorporate into our curriculum. Along with helping us learn the concepts for the courses, our teachers have shown us how to teach in an effective way which will be beneficial moving forward.
All in all, a smartboard can be an effective learning technological tool across curriculums. As an English and education major and a math and education major, we have been able to further our studies and succeed in our classes while learning from a smartboard. Our professors have utilized this device to teach us, and we will be able to use this tool moving forward to teach our future students. Technology has helped empower us to better learn.