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Analysis of Technology Innovation in the Classroom CEP 810

Overview • Name of reviewer: Jean-Claude Aura • Technological & educational Innovation: The use of Smart/Interactive Boards (referred to as SBs)

The Problem of Practice Lately, education and technology have been inseparable, so a teacher might as well consider using technology to improve learning outcomes. The question remains: Which technology and why? Well, I am quite familiar with (and confident about) the use of the SB in the classroom. I have noticed a great change in students’ attitude ever since I integrated the SB in my lessons. The problem I am trying to address in this project is how to teach students the name and location on the map of major countries while retaining their attention. In a regular paper-and-pen (PAP) activity, students tend to get bored and rarely complete the task, let alone remember anything afterwards.

The Setting Four factors impact the efficiency of • Teacher: The teacher is the ‘orchestrator’. She/He sets the learning pace, times the integration of the SB (as a warmer, alone, or alongside with other materials such as books or worksheets), observes the ducational impact on students and decides on potential future uses of the SB. In this respect, a teacher must be very well organized, perceptive, enthusiastic, and of course knowledgeable. • Learner: The learner is the main educational ‘target’ in this whole process. She/he has to understand the learning objective(s), be willing to participate in the lesson and provide honest feedback to the teacher regarding the usefulness of the SB; that is how much the SB involved the Created by: Jean-Claude Aura

Date: October 27, 2008

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Analysis of Technology Innovation in the Classroom CEP 810 students, how it helped them assimilate the lesson, how motivating it was and how else the teacher could have used it to enhance its educational impact on them. Therefore, students must be focused, interested, collaborative, and honest (with regards to feedback). Classroom • Subject Matter: Needless to say, the subject matter should lend itself to the use of the SB. Otherwise, the SB will serve as a source of entertainment rather than as a source of education. In our lesson on country names and locations, students experience the fun of labeling countries onto colorful and accurately-shaped geographical locations with immediate feedback (a cheer for a correct answer and a buzz for a wrong one). As a result, the subject matter should be interactive, interesting and preferably address an unseen topic for more student engagement. • Setting: Students should seated facing the SB and within 4 to 6 meters from the SB. The blinds should be pulled down to avoid glare, and the regular classroom light should be dimmed for a better display of colorful items. In addition, students should be familiar with the use of the stylus. Alternatively, the teacher can demonstrate with a couple of examples how to manipulate the stylus and then have students work on the SB.

Technology-Integrated Solution One of the main challenges in education is catering to the different types of learners. Some are auditory, others are visual, and some are kinesthetic (tactile). The SB addresses the needs of all types of learners if adequately used. In my lesson on country names and location, visual learners explore the location of major countries while viewing the geographical shape. Auditory learners can also be guided by directions, such as ‘France is in the west of Europe’ and so on. Kinesthetic learners actually move the different names listed on the board around the map to physically Created by: Jean-Claude Aura

Date: October 27, 2008

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Analysis of Technology Innovation in the Classroom CEP 810 locate each country properly. In this way, practically every student will get the chance to learn using the method that best suits their learning needs. If we were to look at Brophy’s principles of effective teaching, we could clearly see that the SB supports them all. • Rule # 2: Students are constantly engaged in the lesson by interacting with the SB. • Rule # 3: The instructions are logically sequenced and goal oriented. • Rule # 4: The teacher explains how the students will go about naming and locating countries. • Rule # 6: The teacher starts with preliminary questions about where some major countries are located. This usually triggers students’ interest and gets them on the right track and mood. • Rule # 7: Students will have plenty of time and opportunities to rename and relocate countries until they are able to do it without any mistakes. • Rule # 8: The teacher can add more countries or ask students to locate the cities of those major countries they have studied. These follow-up activities are a very effective way to scaffold on students’ task engagement. • Rule # 9: The teacher models the activity by naming and locating the first country on the map. • Rule # 10: Needless to say, the students are learning cooperatively and interacting with each other as well as with the board. The activity can be designed for pairs to compete for naming and locating all the countries without any mistakes.

Created by: Jean-Claude Aura

Date: October 27, 2008

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Analysis of Technology Innovation in the Classroom CEP 810 • Rule # 11: The teacher can use an ongoing assessment to monitor students’ progress as they work at the board, or she/he can give them a more formal test at a later stage. • Rule # 12: The activity is reasonably challenging and appropriate for students’ level. Thus, the teacher can expect to have all the students remember where each country is located on the map. As far as Brabec’s principles on the useful integration of technology are concerned, the SB perfectly adheres to the concept that technology has to be used as a means and not a tool. In this lesson, the colorful map invites students to interact with the SB while they benefit academically. “Research indicates that students respond to displays where color is employed … The board can accommodate different learning styles. Tactile learners can benefit from touching and marking at the board …”(Dr. Mary Ann Bell, 2002) So, how does the SB make a meaningful difference in teaching country names and location so that it prevails over the regular PAP approach? Let’s take a closer look at what the SB does versus what the traditional PAP does. SB PAP Students interact with technology Students work mostly individually. and possibly with each other. Students get immediate feedback. Students have to wait for the teacher’s feedback. Students’ level of engagement is Students’ level of engagement is high. low. Students’ skills in using the SB for The PAP serves no purpose other future tasks are honed. than the task at hand. The SB caters to different types of The PAP caters to only one type of learners. learners. The SB offers various possibilities for Students only get to use a pen or doing an activity, such as dragging, pencil, which makes changes a bit labeling, changing font size and hard and messy. color. Changes are made smoothly and neatly. Created by: Jean-Claude Aura

Date: October 27, 2008

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Analysis of Technology Innovation in the Classroom CEP 810 Students can keep a soft copy of the activity and duplicate it at any time.

Students can only keep a hard copy, which they may not be able to duplicate easily and store safely.

Now that the differences are clear, how do the students accomplish the task? This can be done in three stages: Prior to the activity The teacher has to familiarize the students with the use of the SB and explain a couple of rules. Students have to learn some basic features of the SB, such as how to use the stylus, change the font style, size and color, right and left click, so that they don’t get frustrated while manipulating entities on the SB. During the activity 1. The teacher demonstrates how to name and locate a country by dragging its name onto the correct portion of the map or by labeling the correct portion of the map. 2. Students take turns naming and locating countries on the map. 3. If one student makes a mistake, another student takes over and keeps working until she/he makes a mistake and so forth. 4. The winner is the student with the fewest mistakes. 5. If necessary, the teacher can reset the Board and students do the activity all over again. After the activity After the students have completed the activity, the teacher can proceed with more challenging tasks:

Created by: Jean-Claude Aura

Date: October 27, 2008

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Analysis of Technology Innovation in the Classroom CEP 810 1. Students can be asked to challenge each other by naming any country of their choice and having another student locate it on the map. 2. Students can be asked to locate the city of each country. 3. The teacher names a country and the students can be asked to name all the countries that border with it. 4. Each student can do a brief research on one of the major countries studied (size, population, natural resources) and design a poster of that country with annotations.

Benefits of This Solution I have given this lesson a number of times, and each time the benefits of using the SB were invaluable. Below are some of benefits substantiated by experts in the field of education. Benefit All students (visual, auditory, tactile) will benefit from the lesson by moving objects, listening to instructions, and looking at lifelike models. The different colors of the world map draw students to the board and motivate them to do the task. Student engagement is very high.

Created by: Jean-Claude Aura

Evidence The board can accommodate different learning styles. Tactile learners can benefit from touching and marking at the board … (Dr. Mary Ann Bell, 2002) … Research indicates that students respond to displays where color is employed … (Dr. Mary Ann Bell, 2002) … students (are) more involved, attentive, and motivated when lessons (are) offered using the (smart) board rather than using other teaching methods… (Dertouzos, M. 1997), (Filipczak, B. 1993) (Hanke, J. 1997)

Date: October 27, 2008

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Analysis of Technology Innovation in the Classroom CEP 810 By interacting with each other, students realized their potential to become productive and thus became less aggressive. Their social behavior has improved.

The Smart Board technology had a significant effect on the first group’s acquisition of appropriate social behavior(s) … They viewed someone they respect perform a behavior they need to acquire … people with short attention spans can attend to any situation as long as it is on a TV or computer screen… (Bandura, A. 1997)

Implications A lot can be learnt from this lesson, not only academic wise but also social wise. I noticed a drastic improvement in students’ behavior, which in turn led to a much higher learning standard. I was able to teach much more than I would have using other methods. Students were more responsive, responsible, attentive and interested. Time went by fast, and students did not experience any kind of boredom or discomfort. Some were even surprised the period was over! I never teach the same material in the same way, at least not twice (or even more often) in a row. I adapt the material to suit my students’ needs. However, the concepts of using the SB are the same, but the approach may vary at times. Let’s say once I paired them for the activity, the next time I would put them in groups of three or four. It all depends on the students’ academic and social behavior level. The higher these levels, the smaller the groups.

Created by: Jean-Claude Aura

Date: October 27, 2008

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Analysis of Technology Innovation in the Classroom CEP 810

References Bandura, A. (1997). Self-Efficacy: The Exercise of Control. New York: Rebecca Helms-Breazeale. Bell, D. M. (2002, January). Why Use an Interactive Whiteboard? TEACHERS.NET GAZETTE . Dertouzos, M. (1997). In M. Dertouzos, What Will Be. New York: Harper Collins. Filipczak, B. (n.d.). The latest gizmos at INFORM. Training . Hanke, J. Electronic whiteboards. Trusty sidekicks for digital-age presenters. Presentations.

Created by: Jean-Claude Aura

Date: October 27, 2008

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