Monday, April 19, 2010

88 - SMART Board

I don't know how much attention you've been paying to the educational tools available nowadays... but there's this pretty fantastic one called a SMART Board. Being pretty interested in education myself (bet you never guessed that), I've been waiting to see one of these in action for a few years now. Luckily, I work in a school, and this year some generous donors bought a few for some of the classes. And they're pretty stinking cool.

Imagine combining a whiteboard, computer, powerpoint, video, survey system, and tons more into one... and that's a SMART Board.I can't really even begin to explain it, other than by saying they are incredible educational tools.

Below, a student is creating a diagram of the lungs by using his finger to drag parts from one side of the screen to the other. They stay exactly where he puts them, unless he picks them up and moves them. He (or the teacher) can also write on the board with one of the special pens or their finger, if, for example, they wanted to label each part of the diagram.

It also lets you use media and technology like never before... and totally gets the kids interested. One day I walked in and they were watching various commercial clips, then discussing and analyzing the persuasive techniques the advertisers were using. And everybody wants a turn up front to be the one to answer and move things around.

Another great aspect of it is the interactive automatic response system. All the students are given an ID number, and for various activities, quizzes, tests, etc, they can use a handheld system to input their answers/responses. It can be in the form of yes/no, true/false, A-G, 1-10... you name it. Each student's answer is automatically logged and recorded for the teacher, but anonymous to the class. So, if there's a vocab quiz, students input answers, and at the end, the teacher sees the individual students' responses, and the class gets to see it broken down instantaneously as to the percentage of the class that got it right, the median score, the correct answer, the most popular answer, etc. It's pretty fantastic.

So, there you have it. A quick post on SMART Boards that barely even scratches the surface. I bet that's exactly what you thought you'd be getting in today's photos, huh? =)

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