Lincolnwood District 74 on board with teaching technology
Batyah Cohen uses a SMARTboard to teach in her Photography elective class at Am Yisreal. | Sun-Times Media file photo
Updated: October 7, 2012 6:02AM
LINCOLNWOOD — From dusty chalkboards to whiteboards and now SMART Boards, new technology is quickly changing the way teachers present lessons and engage with their students at Lincolnwood District 74 schools and in classrooms across the nation.
The chalkboard was a staple in U.S. classrooms for nearly 200 years until it was replaced by the whiteboard in the mid-1990s, and now schools are increasingly using SMART Boards as the latest classroom teaching tool.
Though they’re not in every classroom yet, District 74 has been using SMART Boards at Lincoln, Todd and Rutledge Halls for a number of years now, and plans to add more new SMART Boards to classrooms during the 2012-13 school year.
“SMART Boards are in use in each grade level in some of the classes, and one initiative this year is to add more of them,” said Jennifer Anderson, director of technology for District 74.
Anderson, who started working for District 74 this summer after leaving a position as instructional technology manager for Skokie School District 68, said SMART Boards are the future of classrooms in the United States.
“It’s like an interactive whiteboard where you can go up to the board and write a message with an electronic marker,” Anderson said. “Teachers can click through websites and students can go up and manipulate what’s happening on the board.”
The SMART Board works by using touch detection for user input, so the touch of a fingertip or pen to the screen functions like the click of a mouse. A projector displays the computer’s video output on the interactive whiteboard, which functions as a large touch-sensitive screen, similar to the way an iPad is used.
While the whiteboard is about as uncomplicated as it gets — a board, markers and an eraser is all that’s needed — the SMART Board system requires a few more components for it to function.
The SMART Board is a system that includes the interactive whiteboard, the classroom’s computer, a projecting device and the whiteboard software. The software used by most classrooms is called SMART Notebook, according to the SMART technology website, the company that produces the SMART Board.
One neat feature of SMART Boards is that the technology allows teachers to record each step of a lesson so students can watch it again later on.
“We’re always aiming to integrate 21st-century experiences into our classes,” Anderson said. “SMART Boards are an important part of our long-term technology goals.”