Usage of Technology in Classrooms Keeps Students Engaged


Rebecca Miller teaches her class using Smart Sync

Oftentimes, it seems like there is a communication barrier between teachers and students. Students are frequently disengaged and unfocused in class. However, educators are coming up with innovative ways to retain students’ attention.

Art teacher Rebecca Miller uses a special computer software to help manage her classroom and improve communication with her students in class.

“[The program is] called Smart Sync,” Miller said. “I can see what the students do on their computers. I can click and bring up their screen and see what they’re doing [during class]. It can be a good or bad thing based on what they’re doing.”

SMART Sync allows some of the pressure and stress put on students to be alleviated.

“I can type little notes to individuals instead of making a spectacle of them, because it is embarrassing to be called out in front of the class,” Miller said.

In addition to using on-screen computer software, physical computer hardware has also been used in class to further enhance communication. Math teacher Grace Park uses a tablet PC with a touchscreen and stylus that hooks up directly to the Smart Board in order to simplify the teaching process.

“I connect [the PC] to the projector, so when I write on the screen, it shows on the Smart Board,” Park said. “I had a health issue with my legs and I couldn’t stand up much, so I used this more to teach without getting up and writing on the board.”

Smart Boards offer a unified system of teaching because of their many features and ability to be placed wherever it is convenient for the classroom.

“Sometimes in math it can be hard to show the processes for a problem, so putting it on the screen is much more interactive than passing a piece of paper around,” sophomore Peter Liu said.

Many students and faculty believe that Smart Boards are more convenient to use because they require a low level of maintenance.

“Smart Boards are better [than normal whiteboards] because it’s easier to display information quicker,” Liu said. “There is not much setup or cleanup needed.”

Because of the large range of the tablet PC, students can see the board clearly and not be blocked from viewing the material being projected.

“Sometimes I cover the projector [when writing without the tablet,]” Park said. “With this [tablet,] I don’t worry about that.”

The tablet lets Park focus more on the students and less on writing and having her back turned to the class.

“I have more eye contact with the students while teaching,” Park said. “[As well,] this lets me write more neatly because the Smart Board is difficult to draw curves and lines with.”

However, specialized technology is not an essential to all teachers. English teacher Michelle Harris prefers a more traditional approach to notetaking.

“I like the interaction of not using PowerPoint. I like to keep the lights on in the classroom. I like to see [the students’] eyes,” Harris said. “I think it keeps them much more engaged.”