One aspect of our UDL project is that the team leaders from across the Province meet each week in an online classroom to discuss the progress of the project. The meetings are such a great opportunity to talk about how things are going, problems, successes, etc. The meetings provide us with time to ask other teams how they are dealing with various issues – I have learned so much from the other teams.
The conversation this week was about the use of Smart Boards. There is some controversy about them being more glitzy than functional in the classroom and tech departments in some school districts are discouraging teachers from purchasing them. The consensus of those at the meeting, however, was that they benefit our students for a number of reasons ~
- they provide multi-sensory opportunities beyond verbal and visual for both the presentation and the expression aspects of our lessons
- in elementary school so many of our children have small muscle control difficulties which make other tools such as tablets difficult for them to use and would therefore exclude them from participating with confidence during lessons
- they are creating a buzz in our schools; parents became interested in the project as a result of watching lessons and noticing the increased engagement of their kids. Other teachers in our school are also wanting to know more. This has helped us spread the word about what UDL is all about.
I will include more about the Smart Boards in the blog during the year. The children are so engaged during Smart Board lessons but it will be interesting to observe them to see if the engagement wares off over time- any thoughts from other teachers who have had one for a while? Our UDL team is so excited about using Smart Boards that we are not exactly objective … but we will try. Please comment on this blog if you can think of more positives or negatives on the use of Smart Boards…