Okay, so my mother isn’t actually a SMART Board. But she has one and uses one on an almost daily basis.
I should stop and forward you here if you have no idea what a SMART Board is or does! Essentially it’s an interactive whiteboard that interfaces with a computer and an overhead projector to make activities come to life. You can load physics engines, chemistry simulations, and grammar programs to teach lessons interactively.
- Thing #1 you should know about my mother: She’s a teacher.
Kudos, Tina, for beating the curve and getting technological with your students! In the PBS documentary that we watched we all saw how well technology helped students learn and inspired them to be innovative. SMART Boards still have that “wow” factor where students want to “play” (read: learn!) with them. It’s amazing to watch a math lesson which could be as boring as 2+2=4 turn into a fun game where students can slide apples into baskets and sum them up.
- Thing #2 you should know about my mother: She teaches KINDERGARTEN!
Okay, maybe I gave that away with the my apples analogy above but for real: my mother’s an honest to God snot-wiping, shoe-tying, alphabet-singing kindergarten teacher! And yet she is incorporating technology into her classroom. A 5 year old knows how many quarters make up a dollar because she’s slid them on top of one another on screen and watched a dollar appear. Immediate gratifying feedback. Filling in the missing letter in the alphabet string using an e-marker taught many students that M comes after L but before N (you just sang that aloud to check, I know it).
- Thing #3 you should know about my mother: she quintuple-clicks hyperlinks, writes emails in PowerPoint, and wants to rewind the DVD.
Read: she’s NOT tech savvy. Not one tiny bit. But she invested some of her time to be able to learn this technology! Part of my previous post was about the difficulties in getting those stuck in the status quo to change their ways. I’m pretty sure that she put up a fight when they installed the SMART Board (“what the ‘h-e-double hockey sticks’ am I gonna do with this?!”) but once demonstrated she saw the value that could be added. I really do think that it will take a lot of convincing to shift many teachers into this new style but it CAN be done. Those of us who support the idea of transformative education and increasing technology in the classroom need to be examples. We need to produce repeatable work and share the results of our prospering students. And also share what didn’t work. We need to learn from mistakes and push forward.
Moral of my story is that if my mother can do it, we can all do it. We can all do it and we can be successful on ANY level! Success will come at the cost of a little bit of initial frustration and push back. But once successes are documented and valuable experiences are shared we can all come away with a more vibrant and diverse toolbox to teach our youngsters.
If somehow she stumbles across this… I love you mom!