Saturday, June 18, 2011

Teachers Hold the Keys - Put the "I" in Interactive Whiteboard

Education Week published this article by journalist Mary Catherine O'Connor, Teachers Hold the Real Keys to Whiteboard Effectiveness.  I am sharing the article because it offers three examples of how teachers are effectively using their interactive whiteboard (IWB) at various levels of instruction.  Teachers are always asked to provide a "model" to support their learning target in a lesson.  This article provides models for effectively using an IWB for teachers and the author keeps it simple.

                   reinforcing lessons                      animating learning            assessing archives

It isn't so much about the board, it's what the teacher does with the board.  The article quotes Patrick Ledesma, the current teacher-ambassador fellow for the U.S. Department of Education.  "Once interactive whiteboards have been installed, teachers will do what they’ve always done, unless there is training or support to do things differently,” he said.

Training on a new tool like an IWB is more than just learning how to change the color of the pen or access images to support a lesson.  In my opinion, it must focus on the "I" in IWB, which for some teachers is a radical departure from current practice.  Getting teachers comfortable with the "I" has been a focus of all my IWB training and I am pleased when administrators notice a difference in instruction after teachers participate in training and coaching.  Recently, I received this feedback from Assistant Principal.
                It is my belief that your work with some of my “freshmen” teachers really 
                made the difference in turning a lack luster lesson into a lesson that was 
                interesting, as well as, motivating for their students.  Having the added feature 
                of Smart technology and watching as students interacted with technology 
                to learn and create led to satisfactory lessons...
                In addition, one thing I also noticed was the level of confidence the teachers 
                had in delivering their lessons.  

As a technology consultant, providing teachers with the confidence to develop an interactive lesson is the end goal of training.  These teachers changed the way they instructed by adding the "I" factor.  Teachers are they key to effective use of the IWB but I want to mention the importance of administrator support for the teacher training.  I'm taking this opportunity to recognize the forwarding thinking administrators who have supported teachers in their quest to engage students with active learning via the interactive white board.  Without their commitment and support, training would not have taken place. 
  • Paul, Ling Ling, Maribelle, Grace, Rosarie, Tom, Yvonne, and Avon 
 I hope you enjoy the article examples and my thoughts on using an IWB.  If you have the good fortune to use an interactive whiteboard, look for ways you can put the "I" in IWB.  There are many more examples out there.  

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Learning Games for All Ages - Sheppard Software


Sheppard Software's philosophy is to make learning fun.  The collection of free online interactive games has something for Pre-K through college and adults. The games have visual effects to make learning engaging and different levels to challenge players to continue playing and learning.   Sheppard Software games can be used with an interactive whiteboard.  They keep it simple with a list view and icon view of the learning games.  The games to what they say and provide feedback and positive reinforcement.  Check out Comma Chameleon, a punctuation practice game.

Middle and high school teachers, the games for older students are excellent and kids will love to challenge themselves by playing the games for adults.  The brain games support current research for learners of all ages.  Check out the puzzles, brain teasers, memory games, and more.

I hope you enjoy this robust site as much as I do.  There is definitely something for everyone here.  Keep learning going over the summer and share this site with  your students and parents and add it to your tech learning toolkit.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Use Visual Media - Tech & Learning Article

Using digital media in the classroom does not need to be complicated.  This list of 10 Innovative Ways to Use Visual Media by Ellen Ullman keeps it simple while providing ways you can integrate digital media/storytelling into your classroom.

Tech & Learning online professional learning website that is an excellent source of information, lessons, best practices, a magazine, and much more.  You can subscribe and/or have content sent to you via RSS
Tech & Learning is a great way to expand your tech knowledge.

I hope you enjoy these 10 ways to use visual media.  I have blogged about some of these tools already.  So, get out the digital camera, have students take pictures or video, and let their creativity shine with some of these ideas. 

As always, share your comments or thoughts in a comment.