By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: May 12, 2012
“So, how do we like our new Smart Board,” Beth Walker asks of her Grade 3 class at Stawamus Elementary School.
“It’s awesome,” the students reply in unison.
To that, Walker adds innovative, resourceful, and much more fun than what it has replaced.
Stawamus Elementary is the only school in Squamish that is close to replacing all its regular black boards with Smart Boards, an interactive tool that enlivens and the classroom and enriches both teachers and students.
Smart Board or an Interactive White Board uses touch detection, and operates much like a personal computer or like an iPad, only bigger.
Teachers can move images and words with a simple touch of a finger, add video and audio to their lessons, save, retrieve, and share information with other classes.
The program itself has access to more than 5,000 images, and hundreds of interactive features.
And once connected the internet, every lesson can bring the world to the classroom with the proverbial click of a mouse.
It aligns with the way children are growing up, says Walker, who has become well versed ever since the Smart Boards were installed in the school last year.
“It’s the way kids are growing up these days,” says Stacey Nunn, who now prepares not just for lessons, but for Smart Board lessons.
As an example, Nunn said she was recently talking about Thailand while doing a study about different countries.
With a few clicks, she brought up the map, pinpointing its exact location in colour and with easily movable images.
At the suggestion of a student, she also pulled up a You Tube video of the Thai national anthem.
“The kids are so excited about it, and they are not afraid to try out and learn new things,” Dunn said.
Smart Board also come in handy when Beth Walker is teaching mathematics.
Instead of writing and erasing numbers, she can simply summon them on the Smart Board screen, magnify or make them small, and even store them for reference for the next class.
Beth Walker uses them to teach music notes, expanding notes on the screen that play on the speaker next to the Smart Board.
“It has improved their learning and retention abilities because we this learning reflects the way these kids are growing up with technology,” says Walker.
Smart Boards at Stawamus Elementary were made possible by a Telus, and a Whistler Blackcomb grant, and help from the school PAC.
Each Smart Board costs roughly $3,000; the school has five Smart Boards, and one more has been ordered.
School principle Angela Uren said the Smart Boards were part of the school’s commitment to bringing innovative technology to classrooms.
Teachers say they are as excited by Smart Boards, and have invested time and effort in learning spent on Pro-D days.
“It’s been for fun for teachers too. We are learning new things every day,” said grade 4 teacher, Sarah Hain.