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MirandaNet Fellowship Casestudy
Project developments: Aukland Park Preparatory School
Year of posting: 2005
Abstract:Notes on the project so far ...
17 April 2005
Author: G J Rossini
1. What training did you have on the Interactive whiteboard?
Our training consisted of a few short hours while in London in January 2005. Some of our party were lucky enough to attend a further day’s training during our free time. This was much enjoyed. However we felt that this has not been sufficient. Following our return to South Africa, a half hour training session was given to our staff once our whiteboard had been installed. Only the basics of how the board worked was covered. Further skills have been largely self-taught through trial and error. The training manual downloaded from the net has been useful although we all feel we would like to spend more time in formal training with teachers that have undertaken lessons on the whiteboard.
2. Did you give any training to teachers on the Interactive whiteboard.
No training as such. We have however done a couple of demonstrations for interested teachers from other schools. This certainly inspired them to purchase their own board and a request has been put forward for further demonstrations in Term Two.
3. An overview of lesson given on the whiteboard.
The lessons devised for the initial use of the whiteboard were mainly those covering early literature for a class of twenty Grade One pupils. This consisted of identifying rhyming words, initial and final sounds in words and preparation for early reading. Our first reading book was copied to a set of flipcharts and extended in terms of the Cloze procedure. (i.e. completing sentences using given words) This aimed to develop sight word vocabulary, comprehension, expression and fluency. The lessons were much enjoyed by the pupils. The interactive nature of the whiteboard did much to involve the pupils in their learning and the enthusiasm was considerable. I felt however that a group of ten in a lesson would be even more beneficial. For this reason, we have adapted our timetable to allow half of the class to attend a general computer lesson in the next door classroom while the other half participated in a reading or spelling lesson on the whiteboard. Roles were then reversed. This seems to be working. Concentration levels for those awaiting their turn in a whole-class activity were limited.
4. Pupil feedback and reaction to the lessons.
Please see 3 above.
5. Did you notice any behaviour changes in the pupils.
This was not easy as easy to judge as one may have thought. My Grade One pupils are still easily distracted and concentration levels fluctuate. Provided the children were actively involved, the lessons were much enjoyed. During ‘wait time’ however, some children did appear to become a little bored. (This behaviour is not unusual and was also noted while the children were watching an interactive reading video) See notes above re: time table changes.
6. Are you using the Interactive whiteboard tools in lessons.
Yes, but to a limited extent. The reveal tool has been most useful and the spotlight tool has added interest to the beginning of lessons. The children loved experimenting with the pen width indicator and colour palette. The eraser tool has also made an impression.
7. Are there functionalities on the whiteboard that you still need to learn?
Yes, lots! Particularly in terms of interaction with other useful programs such as Word, PowerPoint etc. I have experimented a great deal and learn something new every time I use the board.
8. What are you planning in term Two?
Spelling and reading will remain our priority. Children will advance from three letter words to four letter words with beginning blends. (a normal progression in Grade One) Hopefully by the end of term two, the pupils will be able to write and illustrated their own stories. Stories such as the Gingerbread Man with repeated choruses, will probably feature. I have also prepared a lesson on growing seeds and will use this as a basis to growing our own seeds in the classroom and noting the progress and growth in these. (A pity it is winter – this may need to wait until September for this)
9. My personal feeling about the board.
It has been a wonderful experience teaching on the White board. I have particularly enjoyed preparing the lessons beforehand. (I’d love to go into training in this medium and encourage teachers to purchase and use the whiteboard to its full extent!!!)
During the first term a small research project with the Grade Ones was attempted. One class worked through a reading book in the conventional manner while the other did the same work using the Interactive White Board. The Grade Six girls were involved in gathering evident of the pupils’ sight word vocabulary, both ‘before’ and ‘after’ the lessons. A questionnaire also set out to find whether the comprehension of the two groups differed. Again the Grade Six pupils were involved with the Grade Ones and we were able to ‘test’ pupils on a one-to-one basis.
The results although not mind-boggling, did show that those that interacted with the whiteboard had better scores. (See enclosed graphs) Results however were not totally reliable. (Some of the older girls did not follow the instructions for ‘testing’ to the letter but it did give an indication of how teaching and learning APPEARS to have improved.)
I have limited access to the board because, as yet, I do not have one in my classroom. It has nevertheless proved to be a super medium of instruction. Having compared the level of reading and spelling with last years Grade Ones, there is a MARKED difference in the number of books read and the amount of spelling words learnt. This again is not a totally reliable finding as research methods were not properly implemented.
I feel that Whiteboards will be an invaluable teaching tool within the next few years. Training and motivating of teachers is however a top priority. We need to get out there and do more ‘public relations’.
My overall opinion? FANTASTIC!
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