Using the Smartboard in classrooms, the smart way
I was in high school not so long ago. I was studying in the last year before the new educational reform in Québec arrived, and all we ever had in class for our use were old textbooks and dictionaries. Nowadays, however, technology has developed quite a lot, and teachers now have access to not only new textbooks that are up to date, but also a laptop for their use as well as a Smartboard. The project proposed by the government is one of the largest in North America in terms of implementation of ICTs in classrooms.
As a future teacher, the use of a thing such as a Smartboard in a classroom got me all excited, as you might imagine. I felt overjoyed the first time I used it in my first practicum. It was like giving a candy to a kid, or rather a toy. Not only that, but I am required to use it in order to help students learn. I can finally hope to give students what I wish I would have had as an education, that is the proper tools to encourage students to participate and interact in their English class, instead of mostly doing individual work. However, how can the Smartboard help me achieve that goal?
First of all, the Smartboard is cleaner than a regular board. Have you ever felt frustrated when the teacher erased the board, but missed a little spot? Or when he used and erased the board so often that you can’t see clearly what he’s writing anymore. Or maybe he just couldn’t find a chalk to write on the board. Well, that problem is completely solved with the Smartboard. No need for chalk or even an eraser. Want to clean everything at once? Create a new page. You want to go back to what you just said but you changed the page? Go back to your old page. No need to erase, you can just create a new page and go back if necessary, instead of losing forever something or having to re-write on the board. As for cleaning the Smartboard surface itself, you won’t need to clean it so often, and just follow Alex Kane’s tips or what the manual that arrived with the Smartboard says.
Another way to use the Smartboard in class is by making it fun. Let’s say you’re teaching students from an elementary school how to read a clock. You can go online and look for a game, such as this one. You can then bring some students in front of the class, and they need to read out loud the time written, then stop the clock when that time is reached. That is just one example of the many things you can try out with your Smartboard. For a rather long and interesting list, I suggest you look at Mrs. Hurley’s website under her Smartboard favorite section.
Another way to use the Smartboard is to show a document, for example instructions for an exam, and write down clarification on the board directly for everyone to see. That way, if a student is late, you can tell him to look directly at the board and it makes the whole thing a lot clearer.
Overall, these are just a few points on how you can use the Smartboard up to use in your classroom. There are many others, such as calculation contests for a math teacher (two students go up front and try to solve the problem as quickly as they can) or a geography teacher (students go up front and write down the name of the capitals or countries on a map shown on the board). It’s also a good way to correct exercises directly on the sheet (shown on the Smartboard), and it makes it easier for students to follow.
The whole point of having those kinds of resources is to use them. We just need to be Smart about it 😉