SMART – self taught

So it was decided upon that I should be the one who should research how to use the SMART boards at college. As an IT literate person who doesn’t like to be beaten by a challenge (maybe this is a weakness on a SWOT analysis) , I took up the challenge. I enjoy self teaching as well – and it’s something that I see that needs to be brought further into education…plus this is obviously something which has been implemented during PGCE training.

No one in the department seems to have had any formal training/tutorials on the use of them. I found this a little odd. Why spend what I imagine would be well over £1000 on a SMART board and then have them under used. The college will have deemed them to be a smart investment (pardon the pun) to benefit and further the educational experience of students. Is this an institutional failing that they are not being used ? Is it down to a lack of knowledge of the hardware available ? Is it down to time resources ? Lots of questions, and the overall answer may be that its a mixture of everything.

During the two hour session of Youtube videos, pens not working, the interactive nature not actually existing and a few choice words (not be published on an academic blog such as this), I managed to create a couple of interesting documents to use. The first being an interactive document to check learning and make the appetizer of matching a picture to certain sentences more appealing. Learning with this can be checked by learners placing sentences over the pictures they believe it matches. In turn, if it right the picture disappears. If it is wrong it doesn’t. Will have to see how that works in a session with learners participating.

The second document is an scatter graph used to check progress of learning. This updates the typical paper scatter graph document used. By using such a document I envisage learners will be more engaged and actively participate. The updated scatter graph is also larger so easier to see and when reviewing progress at the end of the session – more interaction can be achieved.

Within my own practice today I have attempted again to implement Padlet for level 1 learners. This however, upon reflection and discussion with my mentor will not be attempted again. This is because they are unable to apply the use of such a technology in a clear manner.

Instead, now the embedding of emerging new technologies to learners which is to their benefit to learn and adapt needs to be moved towards the more interactive SMART board activities.  This is because upon reflection learners need more active/participation based activities during these sessions. They have lower attention spans, and require more frequent task to keep them occupied and active. I also need to implement more team based activities. Lone working doesn’t seem to have the effect it would do with a level 3 learner.

So a short term target (less than one month) will be to now implement room changes and embed the use of a SMART board within a level 1 session. To achieve this I will contact scheduling to alter the room I teach in – so to ensure a SMART board is available. I will then also use the self-taught training I have conducted to create an appropriate SMART board activity.

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