Thinking Smart in The Classroom

Beau Hickman & Nathan Gough & Ashley Kahl

FROSTBURG STATE UNIVERSITY
SPRING 2009

Technology has become an important part of the way we live today. As technology grows so does the use of technology in the classroom. Using technology in the classroom gives teachers more options and the students more learning opportunities. It also gives students and teachers the chance to learn how to use the new technology for things other than school projects. The invention of the Smart board is one new item in the classrooms today. The Smart board has proven to increase learning motivation and improve teaching style, however, there are some limitations due to cost and technical setup.

The smartboard is an excellent way to combat the short attentions spans of young and older students by keeping their attention on the lesson. The dynamics of the lesson is constantly changing with the use of the smartboard and their thoughts. The downside to the smartboard is the price tag for the unit and the software costing $3,000 - $10,000 (web.bsu.edu/professional/Technology/SMARTboard/SMART5.htm). But once this hurdle is overcome the teacher has a class recorder built right into their teaching lesson, saving all the class notes on smartboard. Some of the cons in these articles are petty. Teachers do not like having to walk from the smartboard to the computer. The negatives may be from teachers’ inexperience with the smartboard and with time and practice these cons should go away. After reading all these articles the smartboards are a great addition to a teachers’ toolbox of different ways of engaging the student to think and interact with the subject material. This may be just another step towards a classroom where students never interact with books, or have to read from a book. The smartboard is a great part of a teaching strategy but that’s all it should be, just a part of the classroom and not the entire focus of all teachers’ all the time.
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The smartboard can help motivate students to learn. Technology is all around us, iPods, PlayStations, cell phones, they are all computers (Cohn, 2005). So why not have this type of technology in the classroom? With smartboards becoming more popular in classrooms, students are getting more interested in learning. The thing that students are enjoying is the interaction with the material and the students get hands-on learning experiences and can participate easier. The teachers enjoy the board because they can integrate many different types of media into one lesson (video, PowerPoint, internet…), they can also save the entire lesson and notes to a file and save it on the computer to be brought back the next day, instead of starting over for the next day’s class.
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Due to the high cost of the Smart Boards, many schools feel like they can not afford them, however, Brady Public Schools have found ways around the price. Teachers in grades first through sixth grade took a Spanish class over the summer, which made their school district eligible for the Foreign Assistance Program (FLAP) grant funds (Egenberger, 2008). They used the money from the FLAP grant funds to purchase LCD projectors for each class. Then, Susan Golter, a first grade teacher, wrote the John R Appellate Grant. The grant was for $2,050 and was used to get Smart Boards for the First and Second Grade classrooms. This school district has shown other schools that it is not impossible to get Smart Boards on their school budget. This article informs teachers on a grant that can help them get a smartboard into their classrooms. Grants like the Applegate grant helps put technology into classroom all over American. In Addison to the Applegate, states often have grants that teachers just need to apply for or just request for the funds to have access to the technology or the funds to purchase the technology to help improve their classrooms.

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Classroom technology continues to improve the way we view education. The Smart Board has sparked the interest of children and is making learning fun for them. It has also made teaching more convenient by allowing notes and lessons to be saved for the next day. Many schools feel that the smart board is to far out of their price range, but Brady Public Schools have come up with some unique ways to cover the price of the smart board. The smart board can be a big help in any classroom. Having a smart board in your classroom does not have to be a dream, with a little bit of brainstorming it can become reality.

March 9, 2009




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