Kids get smart with boards

<I>The Eagle/Angel Carpenter</I><BR>Fifth-grade teacher Georgia Boethin looks on as Jimmy DeFord (center) and James Jones solve a math problem at the new Smart Board in their classroom.

CANYON CITY - Thirteen new Smart Boards at Humbolt Elementary School are giving teachers and students a chance to dive in, head first, into the world of technology.

The devices, with computer touch screens measuring 45 by 54 inches, are getting rave reviews after just a week of use in the classrooms.

On Aug. 23, about 20 staff members had several hours of Smart Board training from certified instructor Scott Taylor of Beaverton's CompView.

"It's an interactive tool that will allow teachers and students to collaborate and learn together," Taylor said.

He says the technology "caters to multiple learning styles" including kinetic learners, who take in knowledge more easily as they move about. Auditory learners can connect sounds to objects on the screen, and visual learners also benefit.

"It's 21st century technology," said Principal Kris Beal.

She noted that funding for the devices came as a result of Humbolt's schoolwide Title 1 program which is based on the free and reduced meals, adding that all of the children benefit regardless of their economic status.

Twelve classrooms have Smart Boards, and Louise Kienzle's music room has a portable device to share with other learning areas.

Most of the classrooms also received a computer with five stations and six keyboards to work on typing exercises networked to the Internet, Beal said.

The two kindergarten rooms have Notebooks, small laptops, to help students learn computer basics and connect to educational software on the Internet.

"I'm looking forward to how this will update and improve the way we teach," said first-grade teacher Peggy Murphy. "You can use it in place of an overhead projector. It provides easier access for the whole class - a bigger computer screen."

Third-grade teacher Andrea Ferreira said she's looking forward to accessing updated maps, current events and Oregon Trail pictures.

"It's going to give you so many options to get the kids' attention and teach them how to use computer tools," she said. Teachers will also be able to show educational videos from the Internet - for example, segments about volcanoes, she said.

Document cameras included with the package will give the classes an upclose look on the large screen of small things such as insects.

Fifth-grade teacher Georgia Boethin says the "opportunities are endless" with the Smart Boards, and she predicted her class would take to the new technology like ducks to water.

She was right.

Students were engaged in her geometry lesson Sept. 2.

Most had their hands raised hoping to help at the front, demonstrating lines of symmetry on shapes shown on the Smart Board attached to the wall at the front of the classroom.

There is no chalkboard or whiteboard in sight - Boethin said she wanted to force herself to use the technology.

"It's really cool, and it's much easier than writing on a chalkboard," said student Hadley Boethin.

"We can go on the Internet and draw on almost anything on there," said Dillon Maley.

Diamond Workman is impressed with how her teacher can copy several images on the screen and then move them around wherever she'd like.

"You can do anything you can do on a computer," said Wade Reimers.

"It's much easier to do schoolwork," said Reagan Shelley. "You can save everything, and it's much funner to do schoolwork with it."

"The whiteboard - it's a thing of the past," said Maggie Justice.

"It is," said Georgia Boethin. "It's obsolete."

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