When you need assistance, AAA is a good start. However, I am not talking about when your car goes off the road. I am talking about when education needs help in keeping kids engaged. This past Thursday, our Technology in Education class went on an Asa Adams Adventure. What I had been expecting was not at all what I experienced. Sometimes we can assume that when we are teachers that we teach the students, but in this experience, the students taught me. Deb White’s classroom has recently installed a Smart Board, a tool with multiple functions and a lifetime guarantee, and what the student’s had to say was amazing. What they students could demonstrate was even more exciting.
Our class went to observe a second grade class. This class was made up of ten students, six boys and four girls, all excited to share how the smart board could help in learning. White had her preferences to using the board as well. “There are two things to use it for instead of going on a computer. There is a big screen so everyone can see it and you can write on it.”
The kids were not shy to get up and show us college kids how this works. “You can use different colors and fonts,” one little girl told us. White showed the fun feature of tapping on an image on a magnetic board to perform many useful functions. “You don’t have to switch pens to get different colors,” she explained. This is useful in the classroom for sentence practice. For example, the students could use red to write the original sentence, blue to edit the sentence, and green for revisions of the sentence. White prompts, “think of a correction you can add to the sentence to make a richer detail.”
What makes a class activity that much more valuable with the Smart Board? These lessons can be saved and posted on the web for parents to see what their students are learning it class. Watching the students write on the Smart Board allows for White to witness muscle control with the mechanics of writing, conventions of writing, and abilities for self-correction of writing. What was the most outstanding part of this observation was what the kids had to say.
How many times does the cliche line between parents and kid occur of, “What did you learn in school,” with the reply of, “nothing.” When kids were asked in White’s class about what they were learning, there was nothing they wanted to do more than share and demonstrate. “You can play math games,” one said while another chimed in, “This is the technology of the future.” How is technology sinking in for these kids? “I love YouTube.” Another example is when White was demonstrating the power of ten. There was a high success rate for students using this calculator on the computer screen than using the little calculators at their desks from the dollar store. In regards to technology, White herself knows that it is a powerful tool for her students. “She did get an award,” a boy announced from the front of the room.
“If we don’t teach them how to use it appropriately, how will they learn,”White stated as moved into a computer lab. It is all about approaching the new technology out there with a new attitude. By letting the students use the technology, teachers can address ethical issues such as logging into others accounts and acting appropriately with the internet. “The earlier it is dealt with, the sooner it becomes a habit.”
Observing the third graders that came into the computer lab was fascinating. Not that I assumed they would have difficulties with the computers, but they knew exactly where to go. This included navigating the computers applications, knowing where the games were, both educational and fun, and helping each other find programs. It encourages collaborative learning when the students are helping each other with the programs. They knew to be responsible too. “I would go to Google, type in the name of a person or thing and make sure that the safe images was on. This is so it is not inappropriate and is a safe search.” It was amazing.
The experience that we had for this class period was like enriching. It took concepts about technology that we have been learning in class and observing it in practice. The students had so much information to share. How often is it that you walk into a classroom like that?