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What happens when you let the kids use the smartboard?

September 9, 2010

This year, in my new classroom, my computer (stupidly) is about 30 feet away from the projector screen (a smartboard). While I agree 100% with what Frank has to say about the value of a smartboard (give me 10 ipods instead, I say), I’ve decided to break down and try to get along with it this year. And it’s ok. Except when it totally fails and only a restart of my computer will allow me to connect to it.

But today, since we’re prepping for an assessment tomorrow in intro physics, I just let my kids spend most of the class working in groups on problems and ideas they wanted to work on (Note to self: do more of this). One group asked if they could work on the smartboard to try to figure out the linearization thing. “Sure,” I said, and they seemed somewhat incredulous. “What, you’ve never played with the smartboard before?”

“No,” they said, and Frank’s point rings home like freight train. But then they started to play, and I asked a kid to just film what they were doing. And, you now, it turned out to be pretty awesome (ok, I just watched the video, and I don’t think my class will be appearing in ads for smartboards amnytime soon—but there are a group of pretty focused kids working entirely alone for 5+min.). Also, there were about 8 people crowded around the board, and only about 4 of them were focused on working—another reminder that smaller groups are better.

Hmm. What’s going to happen when I finally get the document camera working?

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