Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Is There a Whiteboard in this class?

"Is there a Whiteboard in this class?" That was the second un-prompted question asked by a student in my class this year; he's new to our district, having moved in from the burbs. We had just moved into the circle of benches in front of the room for our morning meeting. The question that had come up just before was "what is that flashy thingy?" - the student was pointing to the blinking cursor at the end of the text on the 'Daily Schedule' on the screen.

The second question came (very politely asked with a raised hand first-it was the first day of class) as I was in the process of using that first question as an opportunity to explain about the computer, cable, projector, document camera, and screen combination that I use a lot. (That would be a variation on the standard Responsive Classroom guided exploration model.) The answer to the 2nd question was "not, yet." I then asked for opinions about whiteboards and six students offered why they thought I should get one. Another student new to the MPS had had one in their room last year. Nobody thought I shouldn't and I actually fished for negatives. 'You can have us all write stuff on there and then save it and print it out and even put in on a web page if you want.' I've been holding off on a whiteboard while encouraging my colleagues at Marcy to use them - I've been focusing on making Moodle work for elementary teaching and learning, quite successfully, I'll add, unabashedly.

Then, when I got home my 10th grade daughter excitedly reported "Dad, you're gonna really like my English teacher. He sings Bob Dylan songs and is going to have us use Nicenet" [an early Moodle type of learning collaboration tool.] I started a Nicenet forum for MPS middle school math teachers back in the summer of 1997 (it didn't go anywhere because the heads of the math dept didn't even use email in those days.) Moodle does way more than replace Nicenet, but I'm assuming her teacher is still using Nicenet because there's been such a paucity of support, sometimes actual resistance, for using Moodle in our classrooms.

So, learning how to use a whiteboard effectively in a 3rd and 4th grade multi-age classroom will be on my professional development list this year. Stayed tuned and chime in, please.

1 comment:

  1. Well written!

    I tried to just make a comment but it turned into a full-fledged post. You can read my thoughts on