You may have noticed that the dusty chalkboard many parents grew up with in the classroom has been replaced with the interactive Promethean whiteboard. Now that same technology is promoting hands-on collaboration among students in the form of a table. The ActivTable allows up to six students to interact, share knowledge and work towards a common goal together using interactive technology usually found on electronic whiteboards.
TaiShara Twyman, fourth grade teacher at Gideons Elementary, likes to incorporate it during small group instruction and tutorial. “When students use the ActivTable to interact with one another, essential skills such as communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking are enhanced. All subject areas are easily addressed through the use of preloaded activities, which include history Webquests, vocabulary word sorts, various number sense games, and more,” Twyman explains.
APS Educational Technology Specialist Katrina Stanfield helps teachers identify ways to use the ActivTable in class. “The beauty of this table is that it is also accessible for students with disabilities. It is wheelchair accessible, and promotes differentiation of lessons. Teachers are also able to create activities for their students with the ActivTable Activity Builder, and I have worked with a teacher that created activities for her high school students,” said Stanfield. The Educational Technology Specialist team stays up to date on new downloads to the software with help from a master Promethean trainer. Krynica Drake, also a member of the APS Educational Technology team, spends much of her time planning and co-teaching in the classroom. She demonstrates for teachers some of the activities that are installed on the table and observes as students develop a mastery of the standards. Drake finds the ActivTable provides an experience that goes beyond a typical computer lab, “Many of the activities provide real world experiences for the students as well as gaming tools that make the learning fun.
The ActivTable also allows the students in groups of 4-6 to engage collaboratively in online activities that would be nearly impossible on a single computer”. Stanfield is a fan of all things Promethean but she enjoys any tool that can enhance learning. “I also enjoy working with iPods, iPads, Chromebooks, and Kindles with teachers and students. Technology that gives students hands-on experiences, allows opportunities for collaboration, enhances learning environments, and functions across multiple curriculums makes me happy,” says Stanfield.
Teachers who embrace technology in the classroom agree. Kyera Perry teaches kindergarten at Cleveland Avenue Elementary and feels the ActivTable keeps the students engaged and motivates them to learn, “My students have a very short attention span. I have found that any type of technology integration is beneficial for my students because it holds their attention and they are learning at the same time. I love to hear them say ‘Ms. Perry, this is so much fun!’”