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Smart Board? Smart Teacher = Smart Kids

So we do have some interactive whiteboards-and they are pretty cool, however, the kids are smarter than the boards. Today we got one set up to use with fifth graders who are studying the rock cycle. This particular group of kids is working on a Rock Opera, so using the IWB was a review, of sorts. The Rock Cycle multimedia animation was pretty good; the students were gathered around the board, sitting on the floor, trying not to disturb the board on a mobile stand, the wires, and the projector, and they decided to try out the “activities.”  Although fun to touch and drag, the questions were awkwardly worded, and the students had as much fun discussing what the author’s intent was as they did selecting answers. They were pretty critical, too, and very serious. It was definitely not all about the “wow” factor of the board.

Then I received an email from a 4th grade teacher who shares an interatcive whiteboard with her teammate. She is without the “cool” board this week while her partner learns to use it, but she figured out that if she uses a projector and her computer, then she can project whatever website, worksheet, or image she wants, and kids can come up to the board with a dry erase marker, and “interact” with it!

So in case you think a SMART board will make your kids smarter, the kids have already figured out it’s fun to get up and point and click and go to the board-just as they did when the boards were green and the tool was chalk. And the teachers have just figured out it’s all about what you would like to do and teach and how will the kids learn best? It takes a smart teacher to get to smart kids.

Cathy Brophy • March 4, 2010

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