Teaching

Like a kid in a candy store

On Monday, when I returned to my classroom from a great spring break week, I received a gift. It could only have been better if it was wrapped in a bow. 

It was something I’ve been wanting for a very long time now:

A brand new promethean board!

Happy dance in progress!

To be honest, I had a pang of anxiety because I now had this brand new technology that I had no idea how to use. My giant desk tv monitor was replaced with a tiny monitor that is hard for my middle-aged eyes to see, and there was this behemoth piece of expensive tech that would have been as good as a boulder with a smiley face painted on it if I didn’t figure out how to use it quickly. 

The anxiety didn’t last long. Luckily, the AV tech came in first thing in the morning and showed me, with a few swipes of the touchscreen, how easily it connected to my computer. That was the game changer. For the first time, I had an advanced technology at my disposal, one that only the lucky few seemed to get in my school. Now, there are so many things that I can do!

When I say this thing is brand new, I mean it. I asked my colleague, who teaches tech-related classes, to help me with some of the basics, and he was a little jealous because my board had functions that his didn’t have. It has an electronic pen which I can write in many colors. It has a magnetic electronic eraser that sticks to the back of the board. It has a freeze function that I can freeze the screen and then do something else on my little computer screen (he actually has that on his, but it’s worth the mention).

It’s. So. Cool. And apparently, I’m only scratching the surface of the possibilities.

In the first two days, after celebrating this new acquisition with my students, with my best Vanna White presentation skills, I made quick work of figuring out how I could easily slip this tech into my lessons:

  • I displayed my learning target in two languages, something that’s really laborious when you are writing things out on a chalkboard.
  • I showed some old dance concert footage to give them inspiration as we work towards creating a class concert piece with students who have no prior experience.
  • I created a never-ending white board with all of the choreography we have done so far. This effectively eliminated the need to use yellow sticky notes that I put all over the mirror that remind me what we do from class to class. Now, instead of killing trees, I touch my new screen, open the whiteboard, and POOF the choreography is accessible for my students to see. They see, in real time, how I notate my ideas. I can make changes with a swipe of my electronic eraser. They can see how the words are spelled, I can explain what they mean and show them right away when they don’t understand.
  • I was able to do an impromptu quick lesson on stage directions (upstage, downstage, stage right and left), how they came about (ancient Greece baby!) and then ran onto the dance floor to give them some real-life perspective.

Seriously, with every new idea that comes to me, I feel like a kid on Christmas morning. Teaching with the technology feels natural, like I should have been using it my whole career. While I’m just scratching the surface of the teaching possibilities, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to learn and maximize my time with my kids.

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