Networked Learning Project – Week 2

Knowing that my goal is to improve student math understanding and achievement by providing opportunities for guided practice using my SMART Board, I spent the past week exploring the various arms of the accompanying SMART Board software in order to clarify my vision for how these programs might apply to the 30 students in my classroom. I was surprised that between the basic setup of hardware and the integration of software, however, there was another step, which is using the basic tools to understand the conventions of the software. I used the following two videos to improve my understanding:

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Ei0yiZq-EEg

http://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=plpp&v=TLZNJKQQABM

Using these first two videos, I learned the structures the software uses to “notify” which markers are being used and that the board “knows” which tool is which; how to open and activate the keyboard; and which key commands to use to activate the computer monitor’s display.

Two major applications we’ll be using in my classroom will involve the use of InkAware and the SMART Notebook, and  Fuse School has quickly become my main source of information due to the narration’s clear and articulate nature. The British accent is also delightful, of course.  Here are three of my most helpful:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xOansR8ShY

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8zeQo5H8HBY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1gQK_koksA
With the help of these tutorials, I was able to learn how to add pages, multimedia, attachments, and properties using the Notebook; and how to use InkAware to create movable images and typeface out of handwriting. I can already see how my students will benefit from the board recognizing their handwriting. The physical act of handwriting can be a struggle for third graders, especially my students with IEP goals in reading and/or writing, so the InkAware software component can actually serve as assistive technology. Being able to collect and save various types of media in one notebook will help me help my students organize their thinking. I plan to incorporate prior knowledge concepts from previous lessons, new learning targets, and advanced challenges using the write, record, and SmartInk tools. The notebook will then be able to provide me with formative assessment data to create small reteaching groups, coordinate learning partners, and inform the next day’s instruction.  My next goal will be to use this digital notebook to provide some continuity across lessons within a unit of math so that students connect background knowledge from previous lessons to new learning. Having this SMART visual will help them conceptualize and even track their own learning as we will be able to revisit the actual problems we have worked through using new concepts. It’s like a living document containing all of the learning from any given unit- something that just isn’t possible if not for SMART technology. It’s like the Reading Rainbow of learning data documentation!

My key take-away this week has been that, in order to execute a new, multi-step process successfully, one must first acquire and subsequently build confidence and facility with the “building blocks” that comprise that process. Early on, I thought I could just add tools to my tool box and start using them in class. What I experienced this week, however was that it makes much more sense to learn and apply these tools in context. This was not a shock, given our readings from Week 1! Knowing something cognitively and experiencing it yourself are two related yet sometimes disparate ideas. For me, learning the foundational structure of the SMART software, helped me develop a more comprehensive picture of what it might look like to activate these new tools. Without a context, it’s like having all of the paint and brushes, but no canvas on which to actually paint.

My first shot at creating a formative assessment notebook. Progress!

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