Life After the Interactive Board
If I could choose one word to describe my district's journey with moving away from interactive whiteboards to non-touch displays, it would be adaptability. I posted a long time ago about having life after the interactive board. The big question that I was tasked with when coming to MSD of Steuben county was if placing such a large sum of money at the front of the classroom is a good investment? What is the return on investment for a teacher to have an expensive interactive board that is primarily used to write on a blank white screen? The entire staff has had to make adaptable their mantra in the transition away from interactive white boards. We've created more focus on student involvement and interactivity in a 1:1 environment rather than the teacher or one student at the front of the classroom.
One exciting thing that happened this year for my teachers that has greatly improved this journey has been the replacement of teacher Chromebooks. Previously, teachers had the original Asus Chromebook Flip. This was a good device for teachers to get started with transitioning away from the interactive white board. The feedback that I received from teachers was that the device was a little small for utilizing Chrome Remote Desktop and a little under powered to effectively use Google Cast for Education. This year, we upgraded the teacher devices with the Lenovo 500e. It has an 11.6" screen that flips back into tablet mode and a fine-tip EMR stylus. This appeases many teachers as they have better capabilities for writing on the screen and moving about the classroom.
Last year I began experimenting with mini training sessions at Angola High School. I've been running full-day workshops for several years, but there has been a population of teachers that I have not effectively serviced as not everyone is willing to get together substitute plans to be out of their classroom for the day. The mini training sessions are spanned along prep times and only take roughly 20-25 minutes each. Because of the response, I decided to schedule the same style sessions in all six buildings. Because of the purchase of the Lenovo 500e, it was a no-brainer to continue on with their various options for wireless teaching as well as interactive classroom tools they can accomplish using with their new Chromebook.
For each building, I sent out a Google Form with various topics related to the Lenovo 500e from which they could choose. After selecting three topics as well as their time slot, I sent out a Google Calendar invitation with their selections.
What I'm really excited about with the Lenovo 500e is the world facing camera. This allows the teacher to take a picture in the midst of the learning experience and annotate it up on their television using their EMR stylus. Tools that work really well for this are Jamboard and Microsoft Office Lens.
I put together a slides presentation as a resource for my mini-training sessions. I rarely follow slides and typically create them as guides full of resources so that teachers can come back to the resources to review or learn something new. As teachers signed up, they received the direct link to my "guide slides" so that they have the freedom to explore it on their own. I'm including my slides here. (All images of the Lenovo 500e were taken from the Lenovo website.)
After these sessions were launched, I requested feedback hoping to see there were practical ways that I could improve the flow and effectiveness of the mini training sessions I offered in all the buildings. I didn't get as many people to provide feedback as there were participants so it isn't 100% accurate. I received feedback from 60% of the participants.
Another interesting statistic were the participants. I was able to determine that 11.82% of the teaching staff participated in the training. I also broke those numbers down by building but will not share that information here. All of this data is helpful for me in determining the return on the investment of my time as well as next steps for mini training sessions. My next step is to begin offering mini-training sessions on Google Classroom as the product is ever evolving and can be difficult for teachers to be up to date. I'll provide the participation results and feedback from those training opportunities on a future post.