As soon as a question appeared on the computerized screen, students quickly buzzed in their answer with a remote control. If you didn’t know any better, it would be easy to think that you were watching a game show, and not a fifth-grade math class learning about area and perimeter.
In 2005, Aberdeen Elementary in North Carolina received a $250,000 federal grant that allowed administrators to equip the schools’ classrooms with SMART Boards. Students will pay more attention because of the vast technology in their learning environment. SMART Boards are computerized screens that have replaced the chalkboard, poster board and pencil and paper tests recently. For the past year, students and teachers have used this new technology with touch screens and remote controls to give presentations and quizzes, take attendance, and study everything from reading comprehension to mathematics.
With a flick of a finger, math teacher Joseph Salmon, a language arts teacher at the school, can receive test scores and see what percentage of his students answered a question correctly. In a spreadsheet saved to his computer, he can see how each student answered each question and offer help to those who might be having trouble. School administrators are wanting more SMART Boards, laptops, DVD players, computer projectors, and other equipment into every classroom, starting with half of the Aberdeen High School next year.
It takes a lot more money to raise and almost a little more than $250,000 to be exact. The SMART Boards are just another part of the 21st Century classroom in Moore County schools’ overall technology plan. Five years ago, the county system ranked 111th out of 117 North Carolina school districts for its technology. Last year they made it past all the others towards eighth. Within a month, Jim Tagliareni, the chief technology officer for Moore County schools, will try to load up each high and middle school with carts stocked with laptops that teachers can use to create a makeshift computer lab in their classrooms. Tagliareni was able to stretch his roughly $1.6 million technology budget by hopping on the contracts of larger schools to get larger bulk discounts.
Teachers and administrators say the technology breaks up the monotony and makes teaching easier. Students, especially the ones with SMART Board touch screens, just think its cool and like magic. Maybe this new innovation will help students learn the value of school and not dread those long dreadful lectures from the teacher with the same chalk and same board. Now students will be eager to learn.