Mission: Enhance Communications Technology
Kenmore Middle School in Arlington, Va., is a SMART showcase school that instructs more than 780 students. Such is Kenmore’s commitment to using interactive technology for teaching that in 2011, SMART Technologies named Kenmore its first Showcase School of the Year which is an international recognition.
When Instructional Technology Coordinator Michael Goodman arrived at Kenmore about 15 years ago, the middle school was overdue for an update to its education technology.
“They are working at their own pace and supporting one another in making sense of the content. They are active, not passive, learners.” – Lilo Stephens, teacher, Kenmore Middle School
“The principal and I were looking to enhance the communications technology area of our focus program,” Goodman explains. “We wanted to put interactive whiteboards in our classrooms. SMART fit all of our needs.”
One reason they knew it would fit their needs: firsthand knowledge. Kenmore’s principal, Dr. John Word, had been teaching graduate classes at a local college using SMART Boards, so he saw the benefits it could have.
In addition to the SMART Boards, which are set up in all of its classrooms, the school has gradually added other tools that help teachers with their instruction: classroom amplification systems, projectors, document cameras, student response systems, scanners, laptops, and tablets.
Kenmore worked with AVI-SPL on its latest project – the Collaborative Classroom. This is a learning space where students and teachers solve problems using multi-touch, multi-user SMART systems, all tied together by SMART Notebook software.
AVI-SPL’s relationship with Kenmore goes back to 2007. Since that time, we’ve provided integration and professional development services, as well as technical assistance for Kenmore’s SUCCESS Conference. Open to teachers from around the mid-Atlantic areas, the conference promotes the use the effective instructional use of SMART Boards in the classroom.
“Kenmore has been ahead of the curve,” says Erin Minich, director of education sales for AVI-SPL.
Action: The SMART Collaborative Classroom
For the classroom, AVI-SPL integrated four SMART Boards, four ultra-short-throw projectors, five document cameras, an interactive LCD screen and a sound amplification system. It also features SMART’s Sync classroom management software and Notebook software.
In addition to providing the integration for the SMART Collaborative Classroom, AVI-SPL handled the initial teacher training for new implementations; all subsequent professional development is by request.
Impact: Technology That Complements Curricula
When the students returned for fall classes, they were greeted by the completed classroom. By Goodman’s account, students are engaged with and excited by the tools.
The Business, Consumer Sciences, and general purpose computer labs have SMART Response to accommodate a variety of classes. All have access to SMART Response to test student knowledge.
Technology education teacher Cassidy Nolen, who was one of the school’s early adopters of SMART technology, uses SMART Response in the Technology Education Lab to give safety tests and quizzes. Nolen has been selected as Kenmore’s Teacher of the Year for 2014-15.
Over the years, teachers have helped to shape the basic classroom configuration, so that the technology complements the curricula. Lilo Stephens, who teaches American history and social studies, has been with Kenmore for 10 years.
“Whenever I had an activity I wanted the students to experience in my one-board classroom, I always wished I had a way to accommodate multiple students at once,” Stephens says. “Now I can do that. “
She credits SMART Boards with helping the students become active learners.
“The response has been resoundingly positive,” says Stephens. “Students ask, ‘Are we going to use the boards, today?’ One staff member noted that a student said the reason she liked my class wasn’t just that the room had multiple boards, but how the students were permitted to use the boards.”
Stephens explains that her students work in groups at each SMART Board, helping each other construct their knowledge of the content. Meanwhile, she acts as a facilitator, and creates a content file in SMART Notebook that includes directions for the students so they can navigate their way through the file with confidence.
“They are working at their own pace and supporting one another in making sense of the content,” Stephens says. “They are active, not passive, learners.”
Goodman can rely on teachers like Stephens to train new hires, so that it doesn’t all fall to him. Kenmore has four SMART Exemplary Educators on staff, including Stephens.