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New technology makes classroom interactive working environment

The math department at Farragut High School is keeping up with the latest visual technology and investing in its student’s academic future with the SMART Board from Smart Technologies, Inc.

The SMART Board is a computer-generated whiteboard that transforms the classroom into an interactive working environment.

Math teachers at FHS currently have 11 SMART Boards and current plans call for the installation of four additional boards before fall.

FHS math teacher Wanda Lacy said, “Farragut has more SMART Boards than any other high school in the county.”

She added, “All but two of the boards have been purchased by the math department with money raised by holding fund- raising events.”

The SMART Board is a four- foot by five-foot wall-mounted or free standing whiteboard that is connected to a computer in the classroom. Prices range from $1,300 for the free-standing version to $3,000 for a wall mounted board. The SMART Board eliminates the need for chalkboards and overhead projectors in the classroom. The interactive whiteboard allows the teacher to write notes over projected applications simply by pressing on the board’s touch-sensitive surface. Teachers are also able to print, e-mail or save notes in a file for future reference distribution. The board can also be used as an electronic whiteboard allowing teachers and students to write on the surface using colored felt tipped markers. “Whatever you can do on the computer, you can do that and more on the SMART Board”, Lacy said.

John Beckett, FHS math teacher said, “The beauty of the SMART Board is that all of the notes from class are uploaded to the Internet, and by visiting the Web site, students are able to review notes or homework assignments and stay current with their studies.” The teachers are able to set up lessons ahead of time. Graphics and art may be used to allow for a more visual effect. Lacy said, “The students are so familiar with colorful computer graphics that a chalkboard doesn’t hold their attention anymore.” She added, “They get excited about using the SMART Board and have a great deal of input regarding colors, backgrounds and graphics used.”

Once FHS gets a SMART Board in all of its math classrooms the school will continue to hold fund-raisers to update its classroom computers. The math teachers have made use of their in-service days to attend SMART Board workshops and work together to stay up to date with the latest technology.

“The SMART Board is a huge motivator for the students as well as the teachers.” Lacy said. “It presents a new challenge that enhances the presentation of mathematics and makes us excited about teaching.”


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