In today’s classroom technology is inevitably changing the way we teach. There are countless opportunities to use technology in a classroom setting to engage children in a way that is meaningful to them. As educators, we are always looking for a variety of teaching methods and tools to use so that we can meet the needs of all our students. Using an interactive whiteboard, otherwise known as a SMARTboard, can assist to accomplish this. SMARTboards are large electronic boards that are touch sensitive and controlled by a computer with a digital projector. Educators can project any website or document on the board and make it interactive by using the digital tray that includes pens and an eraser or simply by touching the board. This interactive tool has become increasingly popular. In 1991, SMART Technologies introduced the first SMARTboard and there are 1.6 million used today not only in education but the business world as well. (SMART Technologies, n.d.).
There are many advantages to using a SMARTboard to facilitate your classroom instruction. Instead of your students simply listening to information through a lecture, they can be actively engage in creating their own knowledge. Students can manipulate objects on the board and use the special pens to explain their thinking for the rest of the class. This activity based learning creates a meaningful learning experience for all students.
As an educator, it can sometimes be challenging to get our students to think critically and use higher order thinking skills. One experienced SMARTboard user, Corryann Thompson, believes “The more she can get her students to share, demonstrate and model what they’ve learned to their peers, the more advanced thinking skills they master.” (SMART Technologies, 2007). Using a SMARTboard creates opportunities for students to demonstrate their new knowledge and become more effective communicators.
SMARTboards have also proved to increase motivation and enhance attentiveness. Anna Smith conducted a study on the use of 10 interactive whiteboards in a variety of classrooms in 2000. She found that the staff and 78% of the students reported to have had an increase of motivation when using the SMARTboard. (Smith, n.d.). Reluctant students are often eager to participate and it can help them to build more confidence academically.
There are many interactive SMARTboard games that can be used to get the whole class involved. SMART Technologies provides many games and lessons online, searchable by standard or grade making it very easy to find a lesson to use or modify it to meet your needs. Many of these lessons can provide opportunities for the teacher to reach all students with different learning styles such as auditory, visual, and tactile learners.
Using a SMARTboard for instruction can also be effective to reach students with special needs. Students with attention deficit disorders, ESL students, and students with dyslexia can all benefit from the use of a SMARTboard. SMART Audio classroom audio enhancement systems can also be used in combination with the SMARTboard to allow hearing impaired students to benefit from the SMARTboard activities as well. (Blossom Learning, 2010).
Using a SMARTboards is an effective way for educators to create engaging lessons and achieve a high level of involvement from the students. Students take an active role in creating their own knowledge. It provides many features that students of all ages and learning styles can benefit from. SMARTboards are the technology of today and in the future.
Blossom Learning. (2010). SMARTboards and special needs students. Retrieved fromhttps://www.blossomlearning.com/ShowResource.aspx?rid=56
SMART Technologies. (n.d.). Quick facts and stats. Retrieved from http://smarttech.com/us/About+SMART/About+SMART/Newsroom/Quick+facts+and+stats
SMART Technologies. (2007). SMART Board interactive whiteboard facilitates differentiated learning. Retrieved from http://downloads01.smarttech.com/media/sitecore/en/pdf/customerstories/k12/
Smith, A. (n.d.). Interactive whiteboard evaluation. Retrieved fromhttp://www.mirandanet.ac.uk/pubs/smartboard.htm
Check out this interesting video demonstrating how a SMARTboard can enhance your teaching!