Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Smart Boards

Packemin is getting Smart Boards, lots of them. The problem is, I am not comfortable using them. I have tried them at the college, but that was only for about 10 minutes. Training on them has been minimal and since the room the boards are set up in are only ours for the period we are teaching, I don't know how I ever will get familiar with them.

The sad part is that I love technology and would love to give them a try. I just got off the phone with a friend who is afraid to even try using one.

I am safe for a while. No Smart Boards were installed in any of the rooms I teach in.


Mrs. Widget said...

They are awkward for math.

I can write faster without them.

Though I have found they are useful for getting students to the board because they like using the coloring options. Even my seniors.

Kim Hughey said...

I didn't want to use mine when I started at my new school, but now I am in love, love, love.

Because I have so many teachers around me that are so good at using them, they have given me so many great ideas.

I can't imagine myself ever going back.

The key is good training though. I went to a one-day class that really helped me get started.

Some days, I use it pretty much like a whiteboard and some days I get creative and do some interactive stuff.

I've heard there are lots of lessons on the internet you can google and download right to your computer, but I have so much fun making my own, I haven't tried that yet.

Just today, I had a creative flash and we did something really fun in algebra I with the smart board. I'll post about it later.

Curmudgeon said...

Don't feel intimidated. There are two ways to use the things:
a projection screen that thinks your finger is a mouse,
Or using the software - which is really a limited version of PowerPoint.

The first is the easier - it reacts to your touch as if you were using a mouse at your desk. You click what you want to use, show, or run. You can select a pen and write onto the Word Document or the desktop, too-- kind of like graffiti.

I'd say 75% of the "users" in schools are doing only that. My school has a bunch of boards (not in my room, though) but almost all of the interaction is people tapping to go to the next slide, or scrolling down the webpage.

The software, on the other hand, is like PowerPoint, if PowerPoint had been programmed by simple-minded morons who never taught a class in their lives. ( No, not administrators but can see where anyone might get confused! ) That stuff takes some getting used to, digging through manuals, and some serious face-screen time.

So stick with the easy part for now if you get the chance to use one and keep up your techie cred. The admins won't know the difference.

Unknown said...

Talk to your tech guys. Once your school has a SMART board, you are allowed to download the SMART Notebook software onto your computer. You'll need a product key, which your tech guy can supply.

Once you have the software installed, you can do everything a SMART board can do except write on the screen. So basically, except for hardware and handwriting, you can learn everything on your computer at home.

I hope you like it!

PS--I wouldn't suggest it for AP calc--the screen is just too small to hold a long problem. Otherwise, they're pretty nice.

Anonymous said...

I've been using them for two years and I think they're great. They're also pretty user friendly.
The program that it uses (Notebook) works a lot like Powerpoint, but has interactive pieces like protractors, timers, etc. and you can write on it the same way that you would a white board with either the markers they give you or just your finger. It basically works like a giant touch screen for your computer.
The best thing about it, besides being a great visual aide, is that it saves a lot of time since you can have all of the problems, definitions, etc. set up before the class starts so it's less time on the board.
Good luck!

Pissedoffteacher said...

I really want to use it, especially in my calculus class but I want to be sure I know how first and that is my biggest concern. There is no tech guy to help us out at Packemin.

Schoolgal said...

My friend is taking a class after school to learn how to use the Smartboard.

Of course it should be the other way around...training first. But this is the DoE. However, once you are used to it, I think you will love the bells and whistles.

Anonymous said...

your Principal should be setting up a group training, it is a 3 day 15 hour class, that is what we did at my school. OR you could ask to do formal trianing at Farmingdale, again your school should be paying for this training

good luck!

LSquared32 said...

Download the 30 day free trial of SMART notebook, and play with it. Call SMART, and see if _they_ will give you a product key since you are a teacher at a school with a SMART board (probably they will).

Check out TeqSMART: http://blog.teqsmart.org/
Also, see if you can find some screencasts of math teachers doing SMART board stuff. Back last fall, Kate Nowak: http://function-of-time.blogspot.com/ shared her geometry class blog, and I know she has a few videos up that she made with her SMART board.

Anonymous said...

Some admin types are gaga over the smartboards at my school. Most of us teachers see them as additional tools we may or may not utilize depending on the subject and the lesson. Ditto for the Elmos - those are the document camera stands that can project images of hardcopies onto a whiteboard when hooked up to a proxima-tye projector. Other uses for them too but, again, merely a tool to assist learniing.
I don't see a great advantage of smartboards over whitebords (or blackboards) for the teaching of calculus.
Any idiot can utilize an Elmo or a Smartboard to create a gee-whiz gizmo-lesson but as to whether or not students learn more when the hardware is utilized...well the jury is still out.
I suppose this is heresy to the admins and gadget lovers (not to mention the sales representatives for the devices).

Pissedoffteacher said...

We were given the key at a staff development, which of course, I lost and will have to get again. I am going to do some training (I think) in May. Farmingdale is at least a 30 minute trip which I am not willing to make after working all day.

If I do end up with a smart board in my room, I will figure it out on my own. I am kind of looking forward to using it.

Pissedoffteacher said...

We were given the key at a staff development, which of course, I lost and will have to get again. I am going to do some training (I think) in May. Farmingdale is at least a 30 minute trip which I am not willing to make after working all day.

If I do end up with a smart board in my room, I will figure it out on my own. I am kind of looking forward to using it.

Anonymous said...

P.O. I work in your building and distinctly recall that they have had SmartBoard workshops led by teachers every P.D. day since Hula arrived. I also know that there numerous resources that are available to you if you have interest in learning how to use the smartboard. Ask Hula, I am sure he is eager to see the Smartboard utilized in the Math department.

Pissedoffteacher said...

One hour session followed by 3 months of non use is not exactly training. Besides, training has to be hands on, not watching a bunch of teachers push buttons. Maybe you can learn that way, I can't. I guess I am not as smart as you are. I have used the smart board a few times, but not often enough to feel comfortable with it.

Besides, the post was not only about my reaction to it, it was about some of my colleagues reactions. They are much less comfortable than I would ever be with it.

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