“They love to come up to the front of the room and play with the smart board,” said second-grade teacher Kendra Bills of her students. “They aren’t just sitting there, they are interacting.”
A smart board is a hybrid between a whiteboard and a computer screen. The teacher and students are able to write on the screen with their finger or marker while the screen runs programs like a normal computer.
“With the smart board, we are able to save a lesson we are working on to go back to it the next day,” Bills said, “and you can print out copies of what you have put on the board for the students.”
Bills demonstrated the uses of the smart board by pulling up charts and diagrams the students can fill in, as well as games, sound clips and streaming video.
“The best thing about it is it reaches all types of learners,” Bills said, “those who learn by hearing, by seeing or by interacting.”
Bills explained the use of the smart board for presentations, stating that she and her class were reading a story about cellos. When one student asked what a cello was, Bills was able to pull up pictures of a cello on the smart board and even a sound clip.
“The smart board has many uses for the older students too, with things like virtual dissection,” Bills said.
The smart boards are a first step for the updating of Westfield’s technology program.
“Eventually with the power school system we are hoping to implement soon students will be able to access teacher web sites with everything that had been saved on the smart board on it,” Superintendent Mark Sissel said. “That way if a student misses a day of school, they can access that information at home.”
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OBSERVER Photo by Shirley West
Teacher Kendra Bills demonstrates to the school board the uses of the new smart boards in Westfield Academy and Central School.