But, as I said, patience is key. I have to spend lots of time setting up possibilities for the students and inviting them to try different things. This week, my goal was for students to understand that the SMART Board was really just a giant/touchscreen computer and that anything they could do on the computer, they could do on the SMART Board. So, we tried several of our favorite things on the SMART Board--Pixie, Tumblebooks, Pages, etc. One of the things we did with a few classes was a collaborative story. After spending some time looking at the new episodes in the Exquisite Corpse, kids took turns adding to a story. Wouldn't it be fun to have an ongoing story that several kids/classes added to like Jon Scieszka's Exquisite Corpse? I could see an ongoing story like that in the future--watching kids collaborate around writing was fun. As expected, when given the choice to use these tools on the SMART Board independently, the collaboration and conversations were amazing to listen to. As I assumed, the tool almost demands thinking together.
This week, we'll try some Stopmotion editing on the SMART Board with a few groups of 4th graders. I see them huddled around the laptop screen deciding on their next editing job, but the SMART Board should make it so much easier for everyone to be part of the decision-making.
This week, I was thrilled to look over and see 3-5 kids using the board on their own for various purposes. Since it is new for so many of them, learning the basics of how to move an object, how the pens work, how to get the keyboard, etc. are all happening as they explore on their own. I am working hard to help kids see that this is not a teacher tool-that the board is one that can be used for a variety of reasons and that they can use it independently of me. I adamantly believe that for these tools to be worthwhile in the classroom, kids need to be using them to create and collaborate. This will take a while, I know. My thinking is that for the next several weeks and for the first several weeks of next school year, kids will see many of the possibilities of the SMART Board. Then they will take it from there, realizing when the tool will support what they are trying to do.
And, of course, I'll utilize our SMART Board Team. I am hoping to meet with them in the next few weeks to determine where to go next with the board.
Other blog posts on the SMART Board in our library: