Mr P's SMART Board

One teacher's record of the implementation of a SMART Board Interactive whiteboard into a primary school classroom. For links see the Simply Science FURL. For science education try Simply Science site. For ICT check out My Other Blog. For one with the lot then go to my Suprglu archive.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Lab-substitute

At our place we have a nice computer lab that has 27 desktops and a data projector which is used to "teach" applications. Of course it is also heavily timetabled with very few chances for the "off the cuff" teaching as the moment requires. At the moment we are exploring blogging and wikis. Over the weekend I became aware of a great wiki based project called Wikiville. It was the perfect platform for introducing my new class to the concepts of wikis. Of course our lab time is on Friday so normally a whole long week would have had to elapse before we could explore the world of wiki.

With the board however we had no such problems and soon we were exploring how a wiki worked. Switching back to the Notebook we began constucting our first entry by dot pointing and then expanding them into statements. We then manipulated the sentences into an acceptable order before copying and then pasting them into Wikiville, all within the hour session. A number of children were so taken by the experience that they went home and added to the wiki from home. On reflection doing the intro via the board and using the Notebook was far preferable to doing something similar on the lab and we did it "just as the need arose".

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

A Camping We Will Go

With the new year comes a whole new school camp to go to along with a whole lot of questions about what it is like. As none of we teachers had yet to visit it also, answering these queries and stemming the concerns of our newest Grade 3's was a bit tricky.

In the nick of time the light bulb in the head flashed on and soon we had "Googled" the camp. Their directly on the board were pics of the camp and surrounds in full screen colour along with the suggested menu, (which was eagerly devoured metaphorically) plus a list of the optional activities. Within ten minutes of exploration of the site all the fears had disappeared into a chorus of "I can't wait to do...." Pity the teachers in the parallel non-IWB classrooms, we'll have to invite them in later :).

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Where Did The Computer Go

Our school has a policy of rotating the computers through the rooms at the end of each year and on-selling the older ones to families. This is a nice idea except that it means that the desktop computers that you have taken such care over to ensure they are running to the optimum with all the software installed that you need are suddenly passed on to someone else and you invariably get the only four machines in the school that have been dogged all their lives by gremlin problems :). Worse still they don't have the Smart software on them so it is install again.

Thinking that I had to use the original supplied disks first, I loaded the Notebook software and then the Smart Ideas before going to the shared network drive to load the updated latest version. It was only in a later conversation with our supplier that I found out that the Update is in fact a complete version which does not require previous versions. Hmmm silly me.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

A New Year Begins

I should have done this earlier however as always I get distracted and then it is only when you can't get to sleep at 5AM that you finally get around to posting again. The new school year has started again however and with it comes a whole new set of challenges. Because we are not a totally IWB school, (we have four boards at present), most of the students that have come into my room have had minimal exposure to a SmartBoard so for lots it is back to the basics. This of course means the usual,
  • children resting their hand on the board and pen not working
  • children not pressing hard enough and writing in "dotted letters"
  • children trying to fix up their writing which throws the text recognition into all sorts of wierd variations
  • children whose fingers seem covered by some magic coating that causes them to jump as they drag things across the board
  • children whose shadows are totally out of proportion to their body shape and seem to expand and move around independently of them so that wherever the child stands, the shadow covers the part of the board they are working on
  • and the rest
Suffice to say however they are all suitably impressed to be as one child put it "in the Smart Room".