ActivBoard reflections

Well, I've managed to get on top of the teething problems associated with the school's ActivBoard installation - laptops  are now communicating with projectors, USB ports are configured to communicate to the ActivBoard and I'm now confident enough to start exploring the new ways in which I can present lessons to my class.  When Peter Kent spoke to our staff, he talked about moving beyond using it as a regular whiteboard. He also stated that he didn't encourage us to use the board as a giant touch based computer screen although that is another way to impart explicit digital ICT skills before moving the class into the computer suite. No, the term I really like the sound of is digital convergence - where the ActivBoard could be the central focus within the classroom for viewing and interacting with a class blog, viewing breaking news items of interest via RSS, annotate and critique pieces of work for within the class, using real stimulus photos from photo sharing websites for active conversations and reflective writing. That students become self motivated towards improving their literacy skills because of the real and public ways their work can be viewed by their peers. Now I don't know how the pieces all fit together - that will be the  real focus of the learning journey.  My own start in the blogosphere is still in its infancy - I still spend more time reading and scanning other people's blogs than working on my own but having my own class blogging would be a real near future goal to work towards. The ActivBoard would be the perfect venue to model Read/Write technology and use it to track learning.  Plus  any learning, long term task criteria, assessment could be ''pushed" out to the students' personal blog space. Lessons missed are kept in flipchart files that are posted on the class blog for students to utilise. I think internet access at home is around 80% with my current class so I have to be mindful of the 20% without and allow them  priority access to the classroom pc's. But this is a real start in the right direction for using technology as the tool to promote the learning process. It backs my feelings about the appropriate use of ICT in Australian schools. I get worried when I hear fellow coordinators in my cluster talking about the proposed state wide testing of ICT skills and being supportive of the notion. I feel they are missing the whole point.  We have some of the most fantastic, interactive,  dynamic learning tools ever and open source applications are taking educators into places where you don't want to box yourself or your students into product specific skills. I don't want anyone to learn Powerpoint just so they know how to put a digital slideshow together. Make the whole thing purpose driven and the learner will engage. And to tie this whole post together, it is  the very fact then is no blueprint on how to specifically teach using an ActivBoard that makes its use so exciting.

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