Realtimeboard: A teachers true 21st Century Dream
The evolution of instruction and teachers is a continuous process. We know that every year there is a new tool, tip, strategy, workshop, curriculum, etc that comes along pushing us to better instructional outcomes. The other day I was reflecting back to when I first started teaching.
My first classroom had a chalkboard. Somewhere around midyear I received an overhead projector.It was the late 90’s teachers dream for instruction. No split fingers, coughing fits and ruined outfits from the chalkboard. Lessons could be reused if you were willing to get your fingers stained red.
I remember thinking “How much better can get this get?”. Then came a flurry of whiteboards, digital projectors, and finally Smartboards. It’s true the evolution of the front of the room has moved quickly in the past 10 years. However, a continuous singularity to all of the previously mentioned tools was a large frustration in a class of 30 students.
One question continuously echoes in instructional planning “How do I get ALL students engaged in the instruction at the front of the room at the same time using the instructional tools that I have available?” This is where the fine delicate art of dynamic teaching truly comes into play.
Now midyear into my 15th year of teaching enter in a new tool that relates to all of its predecessors in many ways except one. Realtimeboard is a new way for teachers to truly engage students within a lesson using the front of the room projector. If students all have access to a Chromebook, or computer, they can all interact with what is at the front of the room from where they are at. Think of it as every student being able to participate with what is on the board at anytime from anywhere without having to leave their seat. We all know that good teaching requires movement, but sometimes time is against you and you just need good formative understanding of where students are at in the lesson. Realtimeboard gives me many of the advantages of Smartnotebook, but offers these items in addition:
1. I can share out the lesson for the day and students can access it on almost any device.
2. If I want I can have students all collaborating on the presentation at the same time.
3. I can comment on student work from across the room as students are working while monitoring progress in real time keeping off task behaviors to a minimum.
4. I can bring in resources and post them within the board for students to view without cutting and pasting.
5.I can use it as a presentation tool if I want at the end connecting student group work together to give a snapshot of what we completed in class that day to solve problems or discuss instruction.
I know that in the everchanging landscape of instruction that there is likely to be something bigger and better tomorrow. Until then I am going to dust the chalk of my pants, wash off the overhead marker from my fingers and move on to Realtimeboard.