Book: Interactive Whiteboards in the Elementary Classroom
Author: Tony DeMonte
Publisher: ISTE, 2013
Technology is popping up everywhere in our world. My two-year-old grabs my phone and knows the apps he can use and the games he wants to play. In my classroom I try apps and websites before introducing them to my fourth graders, but they are the problem solvers after we get started. Having an interactive whiteboard in your classroom “brings a wealth of information and resources found online into the classroom.” Author and instructional technology teacher Tony DeMonte introduces whiteboards, explains their benefits, and explores lessons and resources in his new book, Interactive Whiteboards in the Elementary Classroom.
Our school was the recipient of the Intel SMART Award in 2010. This allowed the purchase and installation of one Smartboard in each grade level. I was the lucky winner in fourth-grade. We had a Promethean board in our computer room, but I had never used an interactive whiteboard. I learned as I taught and am still learning today. After reading Interactive Whiteboards in the Elementary Classroom I have a better understanding of my board and what it can bring to my classroom. I like part one of the book in which Mr. DeMonte explains the whiteboards, gives positive and negative aspects of various boards, and gives tips for placing your board in your room. When I got my board, the technology staff asked me where to place it. “Um, in the front where the chalkboard is,” was my un-thought out reply. I did feel better after reading about location in part one. Placing it where a marker board or chalkboard are generally located was a safe option. If you have a board or are getting a board, this is information you should know.
Part two was information I knew from having used my whiteboard for two years. I am sold on the student engagement and classroom management that was explained in the beginning of this section. Mr. DeMonte understands Gardner’s multiple intelligences and touches on how these are met with the use of a whiteboard. “…having an interactive whiteboard in the classroom alone will not increase student achievement, but paired with a highly competent, skilled teacher, it will very likely increase student achievement. “ He understands teachers need to embrace the tools they are using and understand how this brings opportunity to their classroom. What you do with it is up to you though. “If the interactive whiteboard is used only as a marker board, then no more difference in student achievement will be noticed…” Whether you have a board or are getting a board a quick read of part two lays out the benefits you will notice if you embrace the use of your whiteboard.
If you have a whiteboard or are getting a whiteboard in your classroom, part three can provide you with resources to move from a marker board to a motivational learning tool. Part three was my favorite section and is the most marked up, dog-eared, colorful section of my book after reading. I know, you can google and find resources for free on the web. But Mr. DeMonte provides you with fun and creative insight starting with using pointer sticks and naming the writing pen to spotlight features for increased attention during lessons. I love the organized list of resources from the web available as well as “lesson sparks” which “contains specific lesson ides using interactive white boards that meet specific Common Core State Standards.” They are each listed by category and include a reference to the Common Core Standard the resource supports. Teachers work within a very limited budget so when one book can provide you with technology and standards it is a great resource. Mr. DeMonte also understands teachers and office politics. The last bit explains the importance of providing support and training for teachers to ensure the integration of whiteboards is successful. This is an important and quick read that can be shared with administration. The resources go beyond a Google search because of the teaching background brought from the author.
If you are looking for a book providing information, background, and resources on interactive whiteboards pick up a copy of “Interactive Whiteboards in the Elementary Classroom”. This is a quick read for the beginning of the school year and I think you will find yourself returning to the resource section throughout the year for all subjects. I think you will find inspiration and ideas to easily add the implementation of Common Core to your already developed lessons using many of the resources. It will reinforce the wonderful things you already have happening in your classroom and push you tweak or change lessons to do more. “Don’t worry, the children will do it. You’re just there to help them. ”In education, the ultimate goal is for students to learn the curriculum in a safe and supportive environment. An interactive whiteboard can help achieve this goal.”
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