When educators post pictures of their classrooms on twitter, Facebook, and Instagram I see touch screen boards (whether SmartBoards, Promethean Boards, or another type), most often used to display instructions, station rotation, or playlists – none of which harness the power of the touchscreen for learning.
In no way am I saying that I am against displaying instructions, station rotations, or playlists. I am not against this- I have done it and have seen it done very well! I am simply looking for ways to innovate and iterate and try to push beyond what I’ve seen done to look for ways we can be even better for students.
So what I am suggesting is to try utilizing the Touch Screen Board in your classroom for student learning activities. Perhaps the station rotation slide is up until everyone is in position and then it can be switched and utilized for learning by the small group assigned to it. Perhaps students can use a paper playlist or keep track of and display what activities they have completed on the class whiteboard to free up the full capabilities of the Touch Screen Board for student use.
This week, I have been brainstorming in the back of my mind how I might make a template that would be useful for using a Touch Screen Board with a small group of students manipulating what is on the board for learning.
Watch the short GIF below to see what I’ve come up with as a way to Magnify Learning using a Touch Screen Board:
The magic of this template comes in the layers and the colors used. The answer on each slide is typed in the same exact color as the background so that it looks invisible. The answer box has been brought to the front (ctrl + shift + up arrow -or- right-click “bring to front”) so that when the students think they are placing the magnifying glass on top of the answer, they are actually bringing it in between the answer and the background.
So the layers are really:
- background (in the very back)
- magnifying glass (in the middle)
- answer (on the top-most layer)
This is how you are suddenly able to see the answer – because the words are actually appearing on top of the light-colored magnifying glass and are no longer camouflaged by the same-color background.
No need to explain all of this to your students (and really no need for you to even understand it – unless you want to use this principle to make something similar) just change the questions and answers and tell them they are detectives! Let them enjoy the magic reveal and think that you are a computer genius!!!
Now change the questions and answers. To change the answers, triple-click (that is three clicks in a row) to highlight everything in the “empty box” to reveal that it says “Here is the answer!” Type your actual answer, then triple-click again to highlight everything in the box again to ensure that you’ve typed it correctly. (No educator wants to have a typo! We hate those!)
Now display it on your board WITHOUT putting it into presentation mode. Just let the little thumbnails on the side show, it will be okay. Students won’t be able to move the magnifying glass around to reveal the answer if you put it in presentation mode.
There are many ways you might utilize this template in your classroom, but I believe the BEST way to use it would be on a Touch Screen Board as a station for a small group of students.
It can be used to:
- reveal answers from math problems solved with partners
- uncover answers after completing a reading comprehension with a small group
- Learn new vocabulary through repetitive practice
- Review important facts
- Complete math fact practice (as in my example)
Please share if you see a potential use in your classroom! Would love to see the outcome!