Observing SMARTBoard lessons

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve been part of a research team observing three teacher candidate and associate teacher pairs infuse interactive whiteboard technology into their lessons at a partnership school. So far, I’ve seen two of the three pairs, and am returning to see a second lesson of one of the pairs on Friday.

In one eighth-grade science class that I observed, the students were visibly excited and actively engaged in the lesson on cell biology. According to the teacher, students who normally do not participate in classroom discussion did contribute with the SMARTBoard, which seems promising.

Last time I observed another class of gifted fifth graders, the SMARTBoard was set up as a station in a project integrating a math lesson on nets and a story they had read on dragons. A small group of students were brainstorming their three-dimensional design for a dragon using TABS. They were having some difficulty grouping the various 3D shapes using the older version of TABS that was on the laptop. The newer version of TABS was on the desktop, but it was difficult to position the desktop in a way to project onto the SMARTBoard. The problem was that the cords for the LCD projector wasn’t long enough to get it into the right spot to project onto the SMARTBoard. Thus the difficulty wasn’t so much the SMARTBoard itself on my first visit.

Also, some fifth graders could not reach toolbars floating at the top of the board, so we moved the toolbars to the bottom so they could easily access it. Alternatively, we could have lowered the positioning of the board, but we needed tools to adjust the height from the back. I’m looking forward to seeing how the teacher candidate and associate teacher pair have been using the SMARTBoard in the past couple of weeks.


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