Correction: It wasn’t a Smart Board that I saw the students working with. It was an eno by Polyvision.
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to observe Deb White teach at Asa Adam’s elementary school in Orono. I had a fantastic time; not only did I walk away with a lot of ideas of my own but I also got to listen to children explain why technology is important to their learning. The first thing that we did during our observation was watch Deb and a second- grade class demonstrate the many things that can be done using a smart board. The things that we saw were really creative, and the kids are so enthusiastic about using it to learn. Before Deb asked another question, the kids had their hands raised, anticipating to be called on next.
During this particular lesson, the students were working on math. They used a blank page on the smart board to write out math equations, like they would on a regular white board. Deb also implemented the use of the calculator. Students were given a number and then another number, either higher or lower. Their job was to figure out the process to get from the first number to the second by either adding or subtracting. They talked through the problem with the class as they were doing it, which helped everyone understand the math better. This is an excellent way to teach students how to use a calculator so that the whole class can experience it at once, instead of having students use calculators of their own where the rest of the class cannot work on the problem together.
During the next part of the observation, we followed Deb into the school’s impressive looking computer lab where a class of fourth graders was researching different parts of Maine history. Our group split up and asked various students about the technology that they used in school, what they liked about it, etc. Some students seemed shy and reluctant to talk to me, but others demonstrated a true enthusiasm about the things that they were doing in school. Many of the students seemed to enjoy doing research by themselves; they were confident in their research skills as well. One girl showed me some of the other things that she had done in school, such as a class blog that she had been a part of. Here, different students would post things about a variety of topics. The girl was very enthusiastic about blogging and told me that it was her favorite thing that she had done on the computer in school.
I had a great time talking with the students, listening to Deb, and observing the students’ learning. I would love to incorporate some of these ideas into my future foreign language classrooms. Let’s just hope that I get a smart board!