Tuesday, September 15, 2009

interactive white boards: The Beginning

Interactive white boards are becoming standards in the classroom arsenal for teachers, but the question is; are teachers using these tools effectively with students. I am beginning my second year at a school, which had no interactive white boards when I arrived. During my first year I brought in two SMARTboards (I personally like these boards). The boards were located in the school's two computer labs, and received very little use. I needed to ask myself why? I sat back and had to take a mental inventory of what my teacher's opinions were in regards to interactive white boards, and how I could inspire them to use them.

Sparing you the boring details of what went on in my head, I decided that I would not take steps backwards and began to plan a strategy on how I could motivate teachers to move their practices from standard white boards onto interactive white boards.

I took the plunge and purchased 8 more SMARTboards, putting 7 in classrooms and 1 in a new computer lab! Teachers began to show interest when they found out that they were getting the boards. Questions about what books to read, what websites to look at, and most importantly...who to speak to!

This posed a challenge to me; how can I give my teachers the resources that they will need without overwhelming them and making those resources easily accessible? I needed to prioritize, so I began with a website. The SMART website is a great repository of information and lesson plans, tutorials and samples http://www.smarttech.com . The only other resource I am giving them off the bat is membership to a diigo group I have created specifically for SMARTboards. This is a grouping of sites, that we choose (myself and the smartboard users), that we will have easy access for. With these two resources at the start, I feel that my teachers will feel comfortable to begin the learning process.

Interactive white boards are, as I said, becoming standard tools in the teachers arsenal. However, it is becoming more and more obvious that teachers are not being trained to use the tools that are available. I have a school full of teachers and I would guess that 90% have never used a board! Some of them have just begun using a projector and I even have some that swear that technology in the classroom is unnecessary! The future is here and I need to begin guiding and leading my teachers to it. Interactive white boards are just the beginning, but you have to start by taking the first step. One step at a time is the motto for professional development at my school this year.

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