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Smart Boards enhance learning at Burlington Christian Academy

Written on March 9th, 2009

School looks to add more Smart Boards in the future

Dan Cope says when he left teacher’s college he was told he would probably never see a Smart Board, and he was thrilled when he walked into his classroom at Burlington Christian Academy that has one.

Burlington Christian Academy currently has Smart Boards in its Grade 6, 7 and 8 classrooms. Cope, a Grade 6 teacher at the school, says they are looking to add another Smart Board next year and eventually have them throughout the school.

The school’s first two Smart Boards were donated from parents with children in the class that were more visual learners than note takers. The school saw the benefit and added the third board for the Grade 8 classroom.

Smart Boards are large, touch-controlled screens that are connected to a computer and projector. The computer’s image is projected onto the screen, which acts as an editable monitor. Similar to a mouse, users can touch the screen to point, click, drag and launch applications.

From the teacher’s perspective, using a Smart Board can require more preparation time but saves time during the lesson. Cope says he usually makes handouts for the class with blanks for them to fill in.

Cope explains the technology as similar to an editable PowerPoint presentation, allowing for more learning pathways. The teacher can easily find a picture or diagram online to supplement a lesson, or pull a video clip off a website like YouTube.

“It really has made it so people comprehend things much more quickly,” says Cope.

For example, if the lesson included explaining what a Greek temple was, Cope says he can have a picture of a Greek temple beside the note he is writing.

“I’ve found it has sped up my lessons and also it makes it so that you don’t have quite as many of the questions that you would normally have,” he says. “It takes away a lot of the confusion.”

Another benefit compared to a traditional chalkboard is there is no erasing to start the next point. Users can flip to the next page and write on that. For students who are still catching up the teacher can use a split screen function, notes Cope.

Cope says the Smart Board can also make learning more fun, as there are different games such as Jeopardy built into the technology.

There are other Smart Board functions available that the school could look into using, such as connecting to student’s laptops and e-mailing homework assignments.

Cope says as the school looks to add more Smart Boards he can see the benefits for the lower grades.

“With the younger kids things like mapping would be great,” he says. “We really do think it will apply very well to the younger grades especially since they tend to need to little more of the visual learning.

“Once you get a Smart Board you don’t want to teach without a Smart Board,” Cope says. “It definitely does change the way you teach.”