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My Favorite Smart Technology: The Mother of All Boards

Treva Jenkins Education, Life in the Classroom, Web/Tech

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I am one of the very few teachers that actually have a Smart Board in their classroom! I am definitely grateful. This very expensive mammoth of technology is one of my most favorite tools for student engagement. Now that my language arts curriculum is all online (new platform), the Smart Board has taken on a whole new level of status in my classroom. I am even more intentional now on how I enriched the learning experience for my scholars. It also makes differentiated learning much easier because I am able to accommodate different learning styles. Visual learners are able to observe the interactions with the board, while tactile learners can learn by touching the board. The touchscreen option is absolutely wonderful; with just a tap from my fingertips, I can run the new curriculum lessons hassle free. I feel like I am in a commercial right now, but having the Smart Board in conjunction with this new online curriculum, has truly become a game changer for me this year.

For me, one of the greatest advantages of the Smart Board is the ability for my kids to be more interactive. Research has repeatedly demonstrated that students learn best when they are fully engaged, and hands-on learning is one of the best ways to do that. With this technology, my scholars have the ability to utilize the Smart Board all at the same time. This interactivity provides my scholars the ability to write, draw, or take notes via a tablet as well. This is really great for my shy kids because I can then incorporate Kagan’s “showdown” where students use their tablets to display their own answers. Teammates either celebrate or tutor, and then celebrate. For my very shy students, they are still able to participate in whole group without the fear of talking aloud. They are physically displaying their answers (tactile vs. verbal).

There is also what I like to call the “peek-a-boo” feature of this Smart technology. With my Smart Board, I am able to embed images, answers, and videos that my kids have to find and unlock. I love how the author from a AZ K-12 Center Homeroom article explains it, “Play hide and seek. Capture students’ attention by hiding objects, like answers to questions. You can do this by layering objects — like a gallery image that you place “on top” of the object or text you’re hiding and slide away when you’re ready to reveal it.” One of my favorite games that I love playing with my scholars and that truly highlights this feature is Jeopardy. These interactive boards really do provide an extraordinary opportunity for teachers to create a classroom environment where scholars with different learning styles can learn from each other.

I also love the Smart Board community of educators who support each other and provide valuable resources that we can all share.  As Smart Board teachers, we have access to a slew of databases that can help reinforce our lessons. Scholars can also easily access a wide range of resources to help them complete a project or conduct any research. There is even online customer service that has multiple one-hour live broadcasts each week where teachers have the opportunity to ask questions and chat with agents in real time. There are also more than 150 archived on-demand sessions. This is a must for professional development hours!!

I definitely feel like I am falling in love with my Smart Board all over again. It’s a gem! I just wish it wasn’t so expensive so more schools could afford to purchase it for their teachers.

What is your favorite Smart technology? Do you have a Smart Board in your classroom? How are you using it? What are your thoughts about the different types of Smart technology? Please share your ideas below.

 

Treva Jenkins

Phoenix, Arizona

My name is Treva Jenkins and I am an Arizona Master Teacher. My journey into education did not begin right away. After college, I spent several years in the United States Army as a Military Intelligence Officer. I learned a great deal and the knowledge and experience gained from the military was priceless, but my heart yearned to work with young people. After leaving the military, I began to pursue a career in education by working at a very special charter school for at-risk youth. This experience shaped my educational philosophy; this is when I truly fell in love with teaching. I eventually received my post-baccalaureate and a Master’s degree in Education Reform and Intervention from Ottawa University. I am currently teaching at a Title I public school in the Maricopa Unified School District. Each year, I get the privilege of teaching an amazing group of 7th grade students. My love and passion is helping my students discover the exhilarating world of English, Language Arts. Not only do I get to teach an extraordinary group of 7th graders every year, I am a mentor teacher. As a mentor teacher, I have the wonderful opportunity of helping beginning teachers find success and gratification in their new work. I understand that being a lifelong learner is a core responsibility of my profession. Currently, I am a candidate for National Board Teacher Certification. The journey into becoming a National Board Certified Teacher has truly changed my teaching practice. The process helps to inform my practice, to become a better teacher, and to reflect on what I do in the classroom. I have been teaching for over 16 years and the greatest inspiration is my students. I am also experiencing the best of both worlds, a type of educational utopia: helping my students discover their true potential and providing support to our valuable beginning teachers. There’s a passage from the Bible that I keep close to my heart when I am reflecting on my teaching experiences. The author writes, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Regardless of the many trials we may face in education today, platforms like this one provide hope for educators who want to have a voice on issues that really matter to them. I look forward to sharing my stories with you and hearing your feedback, experiences and opinions on policies impacting the classroom. Remember, “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela

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Comments 1

  1. Amy Casaldi

    I do have a Smart Board in my classroom but I love my document camera and projector more than the Smart Board. I have been able to utilize primary and secondary sources in much more engaging ways with the document camera. I am going to take what you suggested as to how you use your Smart Board as I implement my district’s new ELA curriculum in the Spring. Thank you so much for the suggestions!

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