Friday, May 15, 2009
SMARTBOARDS in the Reading/Writing Workshop-Thoughts and Questions
So, I have been thinking a lot about Smartboards/Interactive Whiteboards. They seem to be all the talk these days and I am loving learning about all of the new tools available. We have a Promethean Board at our school and I used it in the library for a week a while ago. It was very fun and I loved lots about it. The kids were totally engaged, of course! I could see so many possibilities after playing with it for a bit. I would love to have one for my classroom and for my family room--it is quite impressive. A little addicting, actually. I can see why it is all the talk these days.
The thing is, I have spent lots of time online searching for great uses of the Interactive Whiteboard. I think there are pretty amazing things that can be done with it to support literacy, especially in Reading/Writing Workshops. I can also see huge possibilities for early literacy in general. There must be people out there doing lots with interactive writing, shared reading, revision, etc. But most of the samples and things that I am finding are pretty traditional things--a more interactive whole-class chalkboard, I guess.
So many literacy teachers have been looking for the same types of things--clips of Interactive Whiteboards being used in ways to support the way we know kids use reading and writing.
I visited a friend's classroom who did some great things with book previewing (She should start her own blog so she can write about what she is doing with the board--hint, hint..). Several teachers in our school are using it in very smart ways. But the examples I find that really match what I understand about literacy development are not that easy to find.
When we visited our daughter's orthodontist a few weeks ago, I noticed that he has a very cool (small) Smartboard in his office. He used it to show us our daughter's x-ray, to jot things down and play with the x-ray a bit. It was very fun to see it being used. But I left there thinking hard about the size of the boards that I am seeing in schools.
I loved the size of the Smartboard in the office--it was about the size of a 40 inch TV. I started thinking about all that I could do with a board THAT size in class. I could use it as I do the easel--for minilessons, in small group work, kids could use it in booktalks, etc. After seeing that small board in the orthodontist's office, I started to think of so many possibilities. I know that they are also possible with the larger board but a different size invites different work, I think. The possibilities I imagined with the large interactive board focused more on whole group things and limited a bit of the way I thought about its uses.
So, here is what I am wondering--
Why aren't more of the Reading/Writing Workshop people out there writing about ways they use the boards to support literacy development? How can we somehow collect great clips and posts of great uses of this tool in Reading/Writing Workshops? I imagine it is out there but, why can't I find these samples easily? Am I looking in the wrong places?
Are Interactive Whiteboards for schools only available in the larger size? Has anyone invented a SMARTEASEL yet? If so, where can I get one and how much are they? I have seen the tables but would love to find a SMARTEASEL. Is there one out there?
Does the size of the Interactive Whiteboard that I am seeing in most classrooms invite more whole class teaching because of the size? Or are lots of people using it with small groups, book talks, etc. I can see huge implications for student-led booktalks and am hoping to do more with that next year.
If anyone knows of sites or blogs that focus on Interactive Whiteboards in Reading/Writing Workshop or have answers to any (or all) of my questions, please let me know. I am fascinated with this tool and see huge possibilities. It seems that for people using this tool well, it is just embedded in all that they do, so they don't mention it much. It is just an invisible part of their teaching just as all of the tools are. But I am one who learns and thinks from seeing good teaching and I would love to find more clips/posts that show these possibilities in the Reading-Writing Workshop. I would love to find a place where Reading/Writing workshop teachers can go to see the ways in which people are using these. (I know the National Writing Project is doing some great things with tech in general in lots of places.)