Disrict: CRESTVIEW ELEMENTARY Lubbock, TX; 830 K-5 studentsType Of Whiteboard: Dukane (the Dukane LB77S is $1,799), www.dukcorp.comWhy whiteboards?“We created a standard tech solution for all elementary schools,” says Denise Salmon, technology coordinator. “Whiteboards let the whole class interact with technology. Every student goes up to the board and is engaged.”We chose these whiteboards because ...“With Dukane, a small component operates the entire board. If there’s a problem, you just need to detach that component and attach a replacement. Also, students can actively manipulate it. Most other boards have a stylus; Dukane allows kids to use their fingers for tactile interaction.”What do you like about the whiteboards?“Teachers like the interactivity, and they can use so many programs. They love the immersion into the curriculum. I like that they didn’t require an extensive amount of training.”What don’t you like about the whiteboards?Salmon would love it if the boards had a way to disengage. “When a kid touches the board, the PC it’s connected to gets affected.”Have teachers integrated the whiteboards successfully?“Definitely,” says Salmon. “They are doing a great job of integrating them. Even our student teachers have embraced the technology and been able to use it with students. They love it.”Any advice for schools that are considering whiteboards?“Look at what functions and features you need. Put together a rubric to compare different boards. We didn’t just buy the first board. We want it to be standard in every school so that at the district level, maintenance is a no-brainer.”
District: ROOSEVELT SCHOOL DISTRICT 66 Phoenix, AZ; a 12,000-student districtType Of Whiteboard: Panasonic (the Panasonic Panaboard UB-8325 is $2,100), us.panasonic.comWhy whiteboards?Two years ago, the district modified its technology plan to integrate more technology, says IT director Stacey Hawkins. “Our limited amount of computers couldn’t reach everyone. Whiteboards give more of our kids the tech access they need.”We chose these whiteboards because ...Hawkins had tested whiteboards and found that some were too small and others were too easily damaged. “The Panasonic board is more durable,” he says. Hawkins also likes that the Panaboard is bundled with curriculum software that lets teachers create and share lessons.What do you like about the whiteboards?“The teachers love it. Each teacher gets to install the software at home, and they are using it. They use other interactive programs, too, and the teachers and students all love the stylus.”What don’t you like about the whiteboards?“The boards require some calibration, but it’s such a simple process that it really isn’t a problem,” says Hawkins.Have teachers integrated the whiteboards successfully?“Teachers started using them immediately, and I’m getting lots of great feedback.” He is especially pleased that teachers have requested licenses for online software to use in class.Any advice for schools that are considering whiteboards?“From an installation standpoint, if your infrastructure will allow it, go with a ceiling mount. It reduces the shadow, and the kids can’t play with it. Also, if you can afford to go with one in each class, it will improve your tech integration.”
District: EAST PENN SCHOOL DISTRICT Emmaus, PA; an 8,000-student districtType Of Whiteboard: Numonics (the Intelliboard 77 is $1,395), www.interactivewhiteboards.comWhy whiteboards?Michael Mohn, director of technology, says, “Whiteboards let teachers present anything that’s on their PC and engage a group of kids at once.”We chose these whiteboards because ...Mohn liked that more than one platform can be used with the Numonics boards and that he isn’t limited to a specific type of curricular content. “The personal touch went way beyond and was very impressive,” says Mohn.What do you like about the whiteboards?“Teachers can present a concept in two or three ways,” says Seidenberger. “With staff development, they can create terrific lessons.” Says Mohn, “Teachers can capture a lesson at the end and share it.”What don’t you like about the whiteboards?“Technology with all whiteboards is limited because you must project onto the board, which can cast a shadow,” says Mohn.Have teachers integrated the whiteboards successfully?“Every teacher is using them,” says Seidenberger. “We’re developing a district Web site where they can share ideas. There’s a lot of informal staff development, which we advocate for.”Any advice for schools that are considering whiteboards?Seidenberger says, “To use these to their potential, teachers need encouragement and guidance.” “The whiteboards must work seamlessly. For us, that means they’re always mounted, calibrated, and on,” says Mohn.
The new PBwiki Campus Edition makes PBwiki’s hosted collaboration suite affordable for schools with up to 1,000 students, faculty, and staff. With the PBwiki Campus Edition, a school can roll out an unlimited number of PBwikis for its classes, clubs, and any other student activities. Previously, schools had to purchase wikis individually. Price: $799/year for up to 1000 users Category: collaborative tools
The SPARK Science Learning System is an all-in-one mobile device that integrates probeware with inquiry-based content and assessment. The SPARK can be used as a standalone science- data-collection tool, or it can be connected to a computer via a USB cable and used as a data-collection terminal for PASCO data-collection software. A teacher can assign the class an experiment, and the students can use their SPARK units and probes to develop hypotheses, collect data to prove or disprove the hypotheses, and then draw conclusions.PROS: The SPARK comes with more than 60 preinstalled experiments. It is rugged enough to be taken outdoors and handled by elementary-, middle-, and high-school students. The SPARKvue software permits the same interface to be displayed on a computer so a teacher can deliver pre-lab instruction to an entire class via a data projector. Additional probes are reasonably priced. The SPARK is battery-powered, so it can be used outside the classroom. It allows students to record their data directly to the device. The experiments included in the SPARK let students collect meaningful data in real time. The device also has helpful online educator-training resources.CONS: It would be nice to have one kit that included all the probes; PASCO does, however, offer kits that provide the probes necessary to perform the labs that are embedded on the SPARK Science Learning System.OVERALL IMPRESSION: Science is not a study of facts and dates; science is a process. The SPARK takes this discovery process into account in a fun, easy-to-use tool.www.pasco.comRetail price: $329