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SMART Board technology in class “really engages native students”

Since its earliest days, The First Nations School of Toronto has faced its fair share of challenges.

A comprehensive report released earlier this year, highlighted the fact that this particular school “occupies the lowest rung in academic standing amongst the 451 elementary schools in the Toronto District School Board”. The report also went on to say that, “the achievement gap” for aboriginal students has increased, rather than decreased, over the past five years.”

But a raft of measures have gradually been introduced with the aim of creating change for the better by addressing the “socio-economic circumstances of the majority”.

One significant addition to the list of initiatives put in place is the introduction of whiteboard (or SMART Board) technologies within the classroom.

The principal at the First Nations School of Toronto for the last nine years commented, “We now have white-board technology in most of the classrooms, which is very interactive and hands-on.” He added, “Aboriginal kids are visual learners, tactile learners – the ‘show me’ kind of kids.”

“Having white-board technology in class really engages them. They can go up and touch the screens and move things around – all of which gets them more involved in the lesson,” said the principal. “It’s beginning to turn things around.”

According to the educator, who has taught at the school for the last nine years, the rise in academic achievement, while not overwhelming, has its roots in the new technology brought into the school.

“We’ve spent a great deal of our focus over the last two years on how to engage these kids,” he went on to say, “And the difference is in the results.”

For a comprehensive consultation on how our audio visual technology products and services can revolutionize your learning environment, contact Advanced Inc. today or call us toll free on (800) 436-6239.

Advanced Inc. is the SMART Board supplier of choice for the Toronto District School Board.

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Interactive whiteboards “can help students with autism learn”

Research shows interactive whiteboards improve learning outcomes

Researchers from the Spaulding Youth Center have found that SMART Board™ interactive whiteboards can help students with autism to improve spontaneous peer learning and classroom skills and decrease maladaptive behavior. The center conducted the research as part of the Autism, Communication and Technology (ACT) project.

The study was designed by Kathleen McClaskey, president of EdTech Associates and Project Director for ACT, and Randy Welch, Chief Program Officer at the Spaulding Youth Center.

Launched in the fall of 2006, the study looked at the effects of technology on autistic students’ learning outcomes over a two-year period. It found steady, significant improvements throughout the project.

Catering for special needs

The Spaulding Youth Center in Northfield, New Hampshire, is committed to education for special needs students. It focuses on children with autism and children with neurological and emotional disorders, making it an ideal location for this research. The researchers found that SMART Board interactive whiteboards were part of a suite of technology products that improved communication, attention, computer literacy and participation among students.

Each classroom in the study was outfitted with a SMART Board interactive whiteboard, SMART Notebook software and additional online resources.

 Year One

At the end of the first year, teachers who instructed in a group setting reported that students were more attentive during activities, modeled positive, spontaneous, social behavior and gained early literacy skills.

 Year Two

At the end of the second year, teachers said students began using tools to express ideas and stories and modeling positive classroom behaviors for their peers, including sitting quietly through lessons without help from adults. Students with autism learned to take turns using the SMART Board interactive whiteboard, improved their ability to work independently and developed better communication skills.

This ACT study complements previous studies conducted in 2005 in the United Kingdom and Australia that found similar results.

“The SMART Board interactive whiteboard, desktop drawing software and interactive online tools transformed the learning environment,” says McClaskey. “These tools gave the autistic learners a voice.”

A SMART Technologies spokesperson said, “Engaging students with autism in learning is the first step toward developing positive social behaviors.” Then added, “The results of the ACT research project demonstrate once again the positive impact SMART products can have on students with special needs.”

Join the SMART whiteboard revolution…

For more information on whiteboard technologies and how they can assist in any learning environment, contact Advanced Inc. now or call (800) 436-6239.

Visit SMART Technologies website.

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