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Chairman of the board

Interactive whiteboard at Luther Burbank Middle School has touch-screen controls and Internet access.

November 10, 2007|By Rachel Kane

BURBANK — Math and science students at Luther Burbank Middle School clamored for a chance to make marks on a new whiteboard last week, without the use of ink.

Teachers and students in three classrooms got their first cracks at a new tool called the Smart Board, an interactive whiteboard that incorporates touch-screen technology and Internet access, among other capabilities.

“There are so many different applications,” said Joe Reed, sixth-grade science and math teacher.

Students took turns working on the board, writing with pens of different colors that use touch-sensitive technology to make lines without ink.

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The Smart Board works on a projection system with a laptop connected to a projector that shines images from the personal computer onto the board.

Teachers and students interact with the images, text and programs on the board while the information they gather, problems they solve and media they generate is saved onto the laptop for later use.

During his class Friday morning, Reed pulled an image of the Earth’s layers from a search engine, enlarged it with the flick of his finger on the board and then used one of the digital pens to make notes on and around the image.

The board has not only broadened Reed’s teaching techniques, but has also piqued the interest of his students, he said.

“They all want to get on here,” he said. “You can see the natural enthusiasm.”

Coming up and answering a question in front of the entire class can be nerve wracking, but students in Reed’s class complained of not getting a chance to use the board that day.

“It’s so cool,” said Anahit Mezhlumyan, 11. “You touch it with your finger and it writes on it.”

The boards cost about $3,000 each, said Assistant Principal Jennifer Meglemre, and were purchased with grant money the school received for its Title I status.

Burbank and John Burroughs high schools and David Starr Jordan Middle School received Smart Boards in the last year, as well, said Rick Vonk, technology services manager for the district.

John Muir Middle School doesn’t have any Smart Boards on campus but the administration is looking into the possibility of purchasing some, Principal Daniel Hacking, said.

Each school decided to purchase the boards on an individual basis and there are no plans to expand the Smart Boards’ use to elementary schools, Vonk said, or to have Smart Boards in every classroom at the secondary level.

“It really depends on the teacher and how they’re going to be incorporating [the Smart Board] into the curriculum and if there is funding,” he said.

“And if the school sees there’s a willingness and a need for it and they come up with the funding to be able to purchase it.”


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