Technology in Elementary School

February 28, 2012

Kids, Learning, Nerd, Parent, UX

From 6:30 to 8pm this evening, my daughters’ elementary school held their 1st annual Technology Night:

Experience how we use technology in the classrooms. This is a hands on activity for the parents and students. Please come and visit classrooms at each grade level where you can see various methods of technology use.

This thing was like a mini-conference with close to 30 tracks over 3 time slots. I’m not kidding. Check this out:



Donald Elementary School Announcements 11-08-2011

I’ve been blown away by this school before, particularly when I marveled at the professionalism that goes into their live, student-produced,
student-driven daily announcements I saw a few months ago. It was done at a level I would not expect from anything less less than a magnet high school.

What the Heck is a SMART Board?

A SMART Board is defined as an “interactive whiteboard.” Their site has a brochure, some videos to watch & a lot of info, but this post is to share my impressions of it.

When PTA did fundraisers for these boards over the last few years, it was made known that their goal was to get a SMART Board in every classroom, and each one cost around $5,000. Worth every penny.

I’ve been impressed seeing the school’s SMART Boards in the past, after seeing the teachers drive them during open houses.

Tonight I got to see student interaction. It was fascinating.

Watching the industry change from mouse-driven events to touch-enabled, and seeing these kids feel so comfortable on them was pretty fantastic. I was blown away watching how well both the teachers AND the students knew how to use them & integrate into the web-hosted, subscription-based educational resources (that each student had to log into before accessing). Seeing how well these teachers are learning this technology & using it so extensively made me very happy.

As a developer, what I saw was a big wall tablet / slate. It was impressively responsive & ran on Windows 7. As a mom who wants her kids to grow up to be as nerdy as I am, I saw opportunities. I saw potential for partnerships with companies like Codecademy.  I saw potential for getting kids on Windows 8 Slates in the classroom (their next “wish list” item is iPads, so why not?)

I took a few short videos to try to bring to my blog something I don’t see every day or normally have access to. I hope you find watching the student interaction as interesting as I did :-) Enjoy!

Katelyn logging into the Discovery website they use in class, using the classroom SMART Board (42 seconds)

Katelyn using the on-screen keyboard on the classroom SMART Board
(65 seconds)

Katelyn doing “sound & vibration” learning assignment on SMART Board
(126 seconds)

Mrs. Laird*, Katelyn’s 3rd grade teacher, was nice enough to let me tape her talking about the SMART Board so I could share this on my blog post.
(146 seconds & 55 seconds)

This just made me laugh because I’ve programmed for kiosk touch screens at conferences & run into issues where reps were not tall enough to quite the program
(47 seconds)

One of the students used a hand-shaped pointer on a stick as a stylus to reach the screen.
(35 seconds)

Although difficult to hear, it’s pretty neat to see another, completely different way they’re using the software
(56 seconds)

This student used the SMART Board to demonstrate the online web resources the students have available to them.
(136 seconds)

I just couldn’t believe all of the ways the students in each grade level use their computer labs & collaborate / share on the SMART Boards.
(50 seconds)

I liked this girl. She’s only in first grade & watch her demo the project she made. I love her confidence!
(94 seconds) 

My handful-of-a-five-year-old, Lauren, was making faces at me in this one [facepalm]. Hopefully she didn’t distract the speaker too much. (129 seconds)

Wii in the Gym

 The Gym teacher had set up Wiis all over the gym with wall projectors for their Technology theme. Since the agenda only enabled us to attend 3 of the (almost 30) sessions, we headed off to the gym for the 3rd one (because [surprise] the kids wanted to play on the Wii). It was very cool. I’ll wrap up with those:

Wii in the gym was set up well & turned out to be a huge hit.
(22 seconds)

Lauren was serious about dance precision
(11 seconds)

Lauren Playing Wii Dance
(18 seconds)

I don’t really have a takeaway from this post, other than I have been tinkering with tablet programming for a while and have not seen anything like this, so I felt compelled to share =D 

*A special thank you goes out to Mrs. Laird for  helping me share this wonderful learning environment that’s happening in these classrooms.

2 Comments on “Technology in Elementary School”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Thanks for the wonderful post about our school! Students like Katelyn help make it a great place to be!!!


  2. kkbananabread Says:

    Reblogged this on kkbanana and commented:
    I was lucky to attend an elementary school with such a focus on technology.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: