Active Learning With ACTIVboards

I spent 3 days last week being trained, along with about 20 other elementary teachers in my school district, in using a Promethean ACTIVboard. My classroom was picked to be the model classroom for this pilot so an ACTIVboard and ceiling mounted projector were installed. Way cool stuff.

The best part of the training was the teachers that attended. They are all getting ACTIVboards installed in their classrooms and they each got a new laptop (HP). Most of the teachers were at least fairly comfortable with tech, but a few were not. Never-the-less they all had a can-do attitude and when anyone was stumped – are you ready – they asked questions and found out how to do it. They were excited and enthusiastic and it rubbed off on me. The trainers spent the most time on having teachers make “Flip-Charts” which are basically like doing a Powerpoint presentation with a few twists – you can even bring Powerpoint files into the Flipchart software and run it there which many liked.

Making the Flipcharts also required teachers to learn to obtain and use images and other files from multiple sources (clipart, internet, photos, scanned images and text) and other skills like using a scanner, digital camera, various software pieces, which most participants were not familiar with or had little experience in using in a presentation format.

The idea here is to include the students in the interactive presentations by having them come to the board to interact with text, sound, video, etc. which is a great concept (and even design their own Flipcharts). My one reservation was that no time was spent really discussing doing things differently, not just adding the technology and then pretty much doing things exactly the same as before … but baby steps. We will be meeting once a month to discuss and share and there is talk of setting up an online bulletin board or some other way to stay in contact between meetings and share content and lessons and since only 2 or 3 of us even knew what that was it will introduce more teachers to the possibilities of conversation using tech, which can’t be bad.

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5 Responses to Active Learning With ACTIVboards

  1. Artichoke says:

    You might enjoy the discussion on IWB on Aussi blogger Graham Wegeners Generation Z blog

  2. I’ve never heard of ACTIVboard before, but that thing looks very cool indeed! You’re lucky to be able to use that in your classroom this year. I’m definitely going to keep checking back to see how it goes, so please post updates and info about your experiences with ACTIVboard whenever possible.

  3. Hi, Brian, ironically we just spent yesterday at the International Middle Schooling Conference where my learning team presented on the use of Interactive Whiteboards In The Middle School classroom. A lot of what we talked about and showed (we use ACTIVboards too) is applicable throughout all of primary school (elementary for you). You can check out the wiki we had for our presentation notes – I still have to add the presentation (in flipchart, powerpoint and pdf format) and edit the audio but you could download all of that soon and have a look and listen. We’d be interested in your feedback. Artichoke is right – I ponder and muse about IWB a lot on my blog but I’m still skeptical about their overall impact on learning. I’ve also got a blog called Activboarding that documents our school’s journey, and has links to research and resources that may be of interest. I do all of my own philosophical writing on this topic though over at my regular blog. Been reading your blog on and off over the past few months via Mark Ahlness – I love the term, “Learning Is Messy” – it encapsulates what my feelings on education are!

  4. Jeff Utecht says:

    Very cool! Congrats and have fun taking teaching and learning to a whole new level!

  5. Wesley Fryer says:

    Thanks Brian and thanks Graham! I really liked the link Graham has on his wiki for del.icio.us tagged sites on interactive whiteboards. I’m teaching a workshop myself tomorrow in Oklahoma on using SmartBoards interactively for a school that has just been equipped with them in every classroom… and I’ll be using this wiki for this session and future ones on the same topic. I just love web 2.0 collaboration and sharing! :-)

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