Electronic whiteboards engage both students and teachers in Southborough

Above: School committee member Deborah Keefe tries her hand at an electronic whiteboard

We all know technology has changed the way teachers teach and students learn. Things in the classroom today are certainly different than when we were students. When you see the electronic whiteboards now installed in classrooms at Woodward, Neary, and Trottier, you’ll realize just how far it’s come.

On electronic whiteboards, fingers become pens. Images move across the screen with just a swipe. Spreadsheets, charts, and graphs are annotated in real-time for the whole class to see. Presentations are made dynamic through photos and videos. In short, a lesson with an electronic whiteboard bears little resemblance to the overhead projectors of yesteryear.

“I can’t tell you how much it’s changed my teaching and how much kids enjoy it,” Woodward teacher Karyn Fisher said of the electronic whiteboard she’s used in her class for the past year.

Fisher says she uses the whiteboard every day to help teach math, science, and language arts to her students. “When they know they’re going to use the board, everyone is sitting, everyone is listening,” Fisher said. “They’re waiting for their turn. It’s a motivational tool.”

Trottier teacher Amy Reilley said the same is true at the middle school level. “Sixth graders can’t wait to get up here an touch the board,” she said.

In addition to keeping students engaged, Reilley says the electronic whiteboard makes creating lessons easier. “You can pull images from the web and easily show them. In the past I had to laminate photos and put them on the board or hand them around. This is much more convenient.”

Lessons created for the electronic whiteboards can be easily shared with other teachers, which Trottier Principal Keith Lavoie says encourages teachers to work together. “It energizes them,” he said.

Thanks to $20K in grants from the Southborough Education Foundation, electronic whiteboards are now a standard tool in just about every classroom at Woodward. Neary has them in seven out of its 16 classrooms. Many math and science classrooms at Trottier are also so-equipped.

“Each school figures out how it makes the most sense to adopt them,” Director of Technology Jean Tower said.

“The attention students give to these lessons is really amazing. Their eyes are usually right on us,” Woodward teacher Lisa Guccione said. “I feel extremely lucky to have this in our classroom.”

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