SAVOY, Tex - Learning is serious business in Kalyn McAlester's classroom. She has a strict, but really fun, way to connect with her students. "You've got to step out of the box," she says.
But now she's connecting to her students in a totally new way, using a Smart Board. It's exactly like a typical "white board" you see in your child's classroom. But this is high-tech and operates from a computer. It can do so much to help students understand hard subjects.
McAlester actually won a Smart Board at a technology conference she attended. She didn't know exactly what she'd do to accomplish her goal, and after becoming frustrated she finally decided to use her musical talents to create a song. When a friend introduced her to Smart Technologies manager Brian Mihalik, she sang her song and convinced him that she had to have a Smart Board. "It was her enthusiasm and the amount of energy she had that inspired us," he said.
"I'm crazier with technology than i've ever been before. When you bring something like this into the classroom, it just makes education soar," McAlester said.
Mihalik says Smart Boards are in 650,000 classrooms worldwide, reaches 18-million students, covers more than 100 countries, and is understood in more than 40 languages. These are impressive statistics, but what's really impressive is how students of today's generation can really relate to the Smart Board.
"When i visit a classroom, it brings another element to learning," Mihalik said. They're texting, they have their own computers and webpages, he said. "It only makes sense to adapt the way we teach to the way they learn."
Durant Schools use the interactive whiteboards as well. Technology Integration Specialist Andi Hudson says eduation is only one of the many benefits the whiteboards offer students. She says it has a positive affect on behavior because it draws them in.
Durant Schools use Promethean Boards as well, which is another brand of interactive whiteboards. The school district is currently working on supplying the high school with Smart Boards and Promethean Boards.
Next year, Mrs. McAlester wants to win a set of laptop computers for each of her students. She doesn't know how she'll accomplish that goal just yet. "We'll do it somehow.
"Where there's a will, there's a way," she said.