Sunday, August 30, 2009

Brave New World

Another school year has started and with it comes a lot of the typical "stuff" -- lesson planning, pre-testing, et cetera. This year, I have the comfort of not adding any new classes to my schedule. For the first time in several years, I'm teaching all classes I've taught before. That doesn't mean that this year doesn't present challenges, though. This year's new challenge is one I am excited to get my hands on.

You see, there's a new addition to good old room 207 (that's my classroom number). When I walked in a week ago to begin the process of unpacking and organizing my room, I met my new best friend -- a smartboard hanging where a blackboard had once been.

For the uninitiated, a smartboard is an amazing piece of technology. It is essentially an interactive screen. It is connected to my computer. With the help of an LCD projector, whatever is showing on my computer screen can be shown on the smartboard. The board has interactive capabilities, though, where just touching the screen allows me to perform functions. I can write on the screen, highlight text, move stuff around. As my friend Ford says, I'm pretty much going to be able to teach like I'm a political commentator on CNN.

While this new piece of technology excites me as I consider the endless possibilities and how I'll be able to engage my students much more in the learning process (even if that engagement just comes with a little smoke and mirrors), I'm also a bit intimidated. I went to a brief workshop last week to get the basics of the smartboard and spent the whole session with my jaw just on the floor, stunned at what I could now do. I have a lot to learn about using this thing, and I hope my students are patient as I master the intricacies of the touch screen and find ways to replace the old chalk-and-chalkboard method of teaching with this new technology. It will be stressful but exciting all at the same time. I start teaching in earnest this week (the first two days of school are always full of administrative stuff more than actual teaching), and I can't wait to see how this all plays out.

Wish me luck as I embark on this new teaching adventure!


Mike said...

I don't mean this to sound dismissive or glib because I very often wish I had the skill set to be school teacher, but I have to say this is the first time I am very, very, very, very jealous of your job. I'm sure you'll use the technology beyond it being smoke and mirrors, but heck, who cares? Even with just that, it would be awesome and probably very effective. I totally want to sit on your class -- or at least a video of watching you do your Wolf Blitzer best in the classroom./

(Actually, I'd expect more than Wolf Blitzer from you...)

Liz said...

That's fantastic!

Mel said...

Right, Mike, I am at LEAST an Anderson Cooper!

Danielle Mari said...

Yeah- Smartboards ROCK, don't they? And just putting it up there grabs students' attention. Everyone should have one!!!