Integrating Technology In K12/SmartBoards in a Language Arts Classroom

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Introduction[edit]

When deciding whether or not to use Smart Boards in your classroom, you must first know what exactly Smart Boards are. To put it simply, they are interactive, electronic, white boards. With technology becoming more and more advanced daily, it is crucial that we, as educators, ensure our students are able to reach their full potential. In other words, bringing these new forms of technology into the classroom will not only help students with their technological skills, but the technolovy will also allow them to be interactive in their learning. Every type of learner has a chance to succeed with this new form of technology.


Smart Boards work by connecting to either a desktop computer or a laptop. The exterior of the board uses a digital vision touch technology, which allows you to use the digital pens provided to write on the board, or simply use your finger to navigate. There is access to a full QWERTY keyboard and everything you save on the board will automatically transfer to your computer.


It is obvious that this form of technology greatly increases the involvement of your students in their own learning. Many students find that being able to play games, edit documents, and access certain tools is a great way to take hold of their learning. The stereotypical monotone teacher at the front of the classroom can be eliminated with the use of these boards. A teacher’s purpose is to help their students reach their full potential, what is a better way to succeed in this goal than physically allowing the students to participate in the lesson.


In a society that witnesses’ four year olds teaching their parents how to use a computer, to third graders getting in trouble for texting during class, it is obvious that students are intrigued by technology and would love to use it in their classroom. Many of us grew up in a school that either had one computer per classroom, or none at all. This is very different than most of the children of today, who have access to computer labs, and many of them have their own personal computers at home.


A huge advantage to using Smart Boards is that they can be utilized in every subject. In other words, if you are an elementary teacher who has a mathematics classroom, as well as social studies, you can use it in both. There are numerous amounts of resources available for every subject you can think of. If you have a classroom with ELL students, Smart Boards can greatly increase the success of these students by providing visual and auditory assistance.


For a language arts classroom in particular, Smart Boards are becoming more and more popular. There are millions of games out there that you can download to help your students with basic skills such as spelling, punctuation, and grammar. However, Smart Boards also allow you to customize your own games for your unique classroom. For example, if you are reading a certain picture book, you can create games, presentations, quizzes, and so on, that correspond to that particular book.

Incorporating Language Arts SmartBoards for all Ages[edit]


Smart Boards are useful for not only the older students, but the younger ones as well. Although some of the programs and games are not appropriate for all age groups, there are certainly a plethora of resources for each age group. The following is a list of websites and/or lesson plans for each age group:

Kindergarten-3rd grade[edit]

This website not only provides interactive games for your students, but you can also find many lesson plans for the teacher as well. You can download right from this cite different games and activities for your students. Each activity is provided with a short summary of what it is and how it works. It is a great resource and you are able to choose the subject area and age level you are looking for. All activities are provided for free on this website.

Instead of simply using your bulletin board for the daily calendar, this activity allows students to interact more. The weather is provided, the teacher can take attendance in a fun and interactive way, you can review previous lesson plans, such as shapes and numbers. There is also instruction tabs incorporated onto each page and you have some room to customize if you want to.

4th-6th grade[edit]

Remembering back when I was in the 5th grade, competition was all that mattered. I can remember we loved when it was boys against the girls. This activity allows students to race to see who can answer the questions faster. Instead of keeping tally on the chalkboard, this activity will save the results for you.

This is an interactive tool for you to use when teaching about the parts of a story. It provides the definition of each with a chart to fill in as you go. This would be great after you read a story or novel as a class, and work together to identify specific examples from the text.

7th-8th grade[edit]

When learning the difference between adjectives and adverbs, it can be difficult. This helps students distinguish the difference by ‘throwing away’ the adverbs. The board recognizes which are/aren’t and will help students understand the difference. Also, if there are too many words, it can become confusing, therefore, you are able to pick, choose, or edit the words to better fit your specific classroom.

"The Outsiders” is a popular book across school districts for upper-middle school students. This is just one example of what you can do with the popular novel. However, if you are not reading this particular book, it provides a great example of what you can do for a review rather than handing out a worksheet. Also, students who learn better visually will greatly benefit from this activity.

9th-12th grade[edit]

Often, it can be hard to motivate high school students. This is a great activity because not only can they become actively involved, but they are able to talk about themselves a little bit, which most high school students are all for.

Poems are arguably the ‘most boring’ literary concept to learn about. High school students become frustrated and annoyed when it comes to learning how to read, write, and analyze poems. With this activity, students can not only learn how to go about defeating a poem, but are asked review questions throughout.

The smart exchange website is, in my opinion, the best website out there for smartboard activities. You are able to not only choose which subject but also the grade level. The programs are available to download for free, and you are also able to customize them once they are downloaded. The like to the home page of the website is listed below.
http://exchange.smarttech.com/index.html#tab=0

Advantages of using Smart Boards in Language Arts Classrooms[edit]

Smart Boards really bring the classroom to life, no matter what type of setting you are in. Smart Boards are begginning to eliminate the “old school” technology, such as traditional whiteboards, chalkboards, and flipcharts for teaching uses during classroom presentations or lecturing in your class.


Students are able to interact with technology that they are becoming more and more familiar with in their generation. They can interact with programs large enough for the whole classroom to view comfortably from sitting at their desks or table, without crowding around one board or flipchart. Students then can all pool their ideas and answers in to form something from the minds of all children in the classroom, plus Smart Boards can save and pull up information on demand from any previous time period. The students then will be able to go back and view what was displayed on the board whenever they need to or want to, no matter how long ago they created that document/ display.


Smart Boards also provide hands on work for all of the students throughout the classroom. In Language Arts classrooms, students will be able to work with Smart Boards on a variety of subjects. Such as, brainstorming ideas, the editing process on papers, 6 + 1 Writing Process information, e- portfolios, highlighting words (when reading a paper or paragraph – you will be able to highlight it with a touch of the finger/ marker), and last but certainly not least, students will be able to use Smart Boards for creating an electronic word wall. Word walls are very important for students in the younger grades – elementary, because this wall will help the children understand the words, and show how to correctly use the words. As stated by http://eduscapes.com/sessions/smartboard/#6, there are many uses for the electronic smart board in classrooms today, some uses are: “circling elements to check authenticity of websites, exploring and proofreading marks, highlighting words in sentences and paragraphs, matching words, use highlighter tool to highlight parts of the speech (i.e., nouns, verbs, and adjectives), practice words (using the icon to cover up the word and then when the students guess that particular word you can then show them they either got it correct or they need more practice), writing stories (story starter, write a class story, chain story, or peer story), scramble words and make sentences, share autobiographies, write poetry (such as free verse, haiku, etc.), a document for rhyming words, on e-grid paper, plot the relationship between two characters (i.e., calm/ stressed, happy/ sad) throughout the book you are focusing during your class lesson, and brainstorming bubbles,” just to name a few. Don’t get me wrong, these Smart Board uses listed could also be used on an ordinary White Board but, it’s difficult because it won’t save documents for later uses, once you run out of space on a White Board you will have to erase it – in order to go back to those you’d have to take a picture or worse yet, write it back out there for all the students to view.


Electronic Smart Boards have so many more pros than a regular White Board. With Smart Boards there are so many different options you can use it for; there are numerous games, programs, learning tools, and new ideas out there for the Smart Boards. Once Smart Boards overtake all the classrooms, teachers will be able to help the students more by coming back to information learned previous until all the steps are ingrained into the students head. The teachers will then be able to help the students benefit from lessons taught on a more favorable level.

Using Smart Boards in Other Subjects[edit]

Smart Boards offer a substantially wide range of activities and benefits to the subject of Language Arts. Fortunately Language Arts is not the only subject Smart Boards are beneficial for. Much like in Language Arts it brings in a whole new element to the classroom that helps immensely with drawing in the students and broaden their knowledge on the subject at hand. Educators have been able to use this technology in a variety of different subjects, including Mathematics, Social Studies, and Science.

Mathematics[edit]

Mathematic educators have become more and more aware of the positive outcomes that Smart Boards produce in their classrooms. Within conducting an ordinary lecture in class it allows for the math lesson to come to life. Educators are able to show students the examples more clearly on the Smart Board by having the fonts be that much larger and visible to the students. This is a great advantage for students with disabilities if they have any trouble reading the ordinary chalk board. In using these in higher level math classes it allows for educators to plug in formulas ahead of time so they are already connected to the Smart Board when using it in class. There are a great deal of websites and programs that are interactive with the Smart Board in the subject of math. One great program educators have mentioned in Smart Board blogs is the talking calculator. As students come to use this calculator it explains the exact process it is using to come up with the correct answer. It helps students to see how things in mathematics are processed and why equations work the way they do. Using the Smart boards in mathematics can help not only the students become more engaged in the subject but also help the educators deliver the subject that much more clearly and effectively.

This website is extremely helpful for students in younger grade levels. It helps promote the idea of calculating different numbers and how they can do it in a fun and exciting way. The website is able to be used on the Smart Board for the whole classroom to use so students can use their classmates help as they figure out problems. It helps teachers bring about the idea of different resources students can use in doing their work that is entertaining and helpful to them. The age level for this website is directed more for students in elementary levels but can help any student with their simple math. Teachers strive on promoting programs such as these to watch their students blossom and find the joy in learning.

Teachers are able to find a variety of different activities and programs to use on their Smart Boards directly from this website. It provides them with a range in topics and grade levels so they are are not left with an empty lesson. It is sure to make sure all lessons and engaging for the students along with understandable. This website is usable for students on their own as well so they can use it outside of the classroom.

Social Studies[edit]

In the subject of Social Studies the Smart Boards are more than helpful in livening up the classroom topics. Smart Boards bring in many different classroom activities that are helpful in getting the class to participate as a whole or individually as they gain knowledge. By using the Smart Board you can incorporate visual interactive maps with class that students are able to work with. It is intriguing for the students to see a more visually stimulating map that gives them a great insight as to what the place they are studying is all about. The Smart Board gives options to educators to use alternative ways to help their students remember social studies topics such as dates, timelines, historical figures, etc. It brings in a more meaningful lesson to students that can benefit them in becoming exceptional students in the social studies field.

Teachers and students together are able to use this website on the Smart Board to learn a wide variety of different topics on Social Studies. It gives games and different informational text on certain lessons that can further broaden a students knowledge on topics. It is not only helpful with the topic of Social Studies but other subjects as well. Overall it is a helpful website to use with the Smart Board in classroom filled with all subjects. Teachers can feel trustworthy that they will have a complete and full lesson after visiting this site.

Science[edit]

During science classes teachers are able to give students a deeper understanding of topics by using these interactive Smart Boards. As they prepare their lessons they are able to bring in different approaches of science units that are can create a full understanding for students. Teachers blogged about the variety of different science units covered that are able to be demonstrated to classes by using Smart Boards. There are activities and programs available that can show different growth cycles and how things develop over time. It brings in aspects of real life science to the classroom board. Having students be able to see science examples first hand allows them to make connections throughout the unit and be sure it is understood properly.

Using this website is overly helpful, it not only gives teachers lessons to teacher their students but provides a great amount of fun activities as well! It works hard to engage students in different settings so they are fully ready to learn the topic. The website is constantly updated with different and new ideas to go along with the Smart Board so teachers are able to always find something different for their classrooms. All activities and resources have a description so teachers are able to gain a preview of what their class is going to experience. This website over all is very interactive and fun for the whole class, it is definitely a wonderful addition to any teachers Smart Board.

Conclusion[edit]

Even though there are disadvantages and problems/ concerns with the electronic Smart Board, there are so many more pro’s than cons. The use of technology in the classroom is constantly increasing as the days go on. It is crucial for teachers to have students get involved in all the different types of technology out in the world today as for it is the teachers responsibility to integrate technology into their everyday classroom use. Technology will also help the students be prepared for what lies ahead in the future. The Smart Board is just one of the many technological advances in the educational classroom today. They not only help increase the student knowledge on their surroundings and their curriculum, the children also experience excitement when coming in contact with new “technology.” All the students want to be a part of that exciting new thing that was brought into their classroom. Plus, having something like Smart Boards in the classroom (which excites the students, and makes them want to learn each and every day,) would be very beneficial for not only a school but a classroom teacher.


The Smart Board works with children in many different areas of struggle. The Smart Board will come into the classroom and play the role as everyone’s notebook. It will help the students stay engaged and they will be able to listen instead of writing down notes themselves. Taking notes in their notebooks can be very distracting and the student can easily get off task by drawing, or simply worried about what they are missing while writing down what the teacher said five minutes ago. Having the students just engage in the lesson by watching what is going up onto the Smart Board will give each and every child the chance for success.


While going through information on the Smart Board, I found out that teachers can send notes/ letters to students at any time so that each and every student will be able to review what they talked about that day or weeks prior on their own. This will give the students a chance also to pay attention and get rid of those distracting notebooks. This way all the students will have the same incredible notes that will help the students be successful.


As stated in Using Technology in the Classroom by G. Bitter, and M. Pierson, “Smart Boards are also beneficial for students with learning disabilities.” For these types of students, the Smart Board has a way of making the keyboard in which you type on the screen of the electronic white board, larger. This will help the student not only see what they are typing but it also displays larger the students are able to touch the appropriate keys when typing something out. This display being larger than normal will make it easier for students that struggle with hand and eye coordination skills.


The Smart Boards will also be more interesting than the ragged out text books teacher’s use year after year. The Smart Boards will help keep the students attention longer due to having the Smart Board be capable of moving things around with the touch of a finger and also the colorful objects are a better visual for children.


In conclusion, Smart Boards not only help keep the attention of the students throughout the classroom, Teachers will be able to do lessons and then if the students aren’t understanding a particular part from that lesson later down the road, the teacher can then pull up that same exact lesson the class did that day and recall everything. Having the students visually see and listen to the teacher will help improve the teacher’s everyday lessons. I personally think that Smart Boards will also decrease the classroom management problems because, the students will be more interested on what is being presented in the classroom that day. This will not only keep the students more engaged, but they will be amused at all the different abilities the Smart Boards have.


When students come in contact with technology at younger age levels, they will begin to feel more comfortable when working with technology in the future.

References[edit]

  • Bitter, G, & Pierson, M (2005). Using Technology in the Classroom. Boston: Pearson. </ref> Bitter, G, & Pierson, M (2005). Using Technology in the Classroom. Boston: Pearson.