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III. ACTION PLAN:    A. Technology Access    B. ICT Literacy    C. Professional Development    D. Community Involvement     [Data]

ICT Literacy Toolkit
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Effective Projects Case Study


Using SMART interactive whiteboards to increase student achievement at Shaker Regional School District


This is a story about a project that started 1/1/2007.

For more information, please contact: Randy Wormald at


The Shaker Regional project focuses on technology integration using interactive whiteboards in our high school classrooms.  Interactive whiteboards allow teachers to illustrate curriculum information visually, reinforce English vocabulary and provide students opportunities to interact with a variety of visual media.  While well-chosen visual information for some students enriches their learning experiences, for others it provides critical information that clarifies confusions and allows them to understand the information being taught.  This project has allowed our high school teachers to embrace a new instructional modality that has really impacted student engagement in learning.


Funding: This project was supported by $10,000 from NCLB Title II-D (Educational Technology) and $3,000 in local funds. The project illustrates how federal funding supports “Access - Enhancing existing technology and acquiring new technology to support education reforms and improve student achievement (includes servers, desktops, laptops, peripherals).” The project addressed the following grades and content areas: 

     Gr9-12  EngLangArts  Math  Science  SocSt  TheArts 


The Setting: Belmont High School is part of Shaker Regional School District comprised of Belmont and Canterbury, NH.  We are a rural school district with a reasonable amount of technology available but the budget is stretched thin at the present moment.  Prior to this grant we had one SMART interactive whiteboard and many people with great ideas for implementing lessons to increase student achievement.  We constantly strive to find ways to engage students from all ability levels.  We felt that the SMART interactive whiteboards would both engage students and increase student achievement.


The plot: There were two main challenges during the planning phase.  First, would the SMART interactive whiteboards be mounted or portable.  Second, if they were permanently mounted which classrooms would receive the whiteboards.  To deal with our first challenge, we talked with other schools about portable vs. permanently mounted boards and pros and cons of each and decided to mount five of the boards and leave two portable.  To deal with our second challenge, the math department purchased a SMART Board which gave us two boards in the school.  We logged usage of the two boards that we had to help us decide where the boards would be used the most and more importantly, most effectively. There were very few problems during the implementation phase.  Waiting for boards to be mounted was probably the most problematic.


The teachers: 20 teachers were directly involved. The technology integrator became a certified SMART Master’s Trainer and worked with all interested staff to ensure a certain level of comfort with the new technology. At least one faculty member from each department uses the SMART Board on a daily basis. Over the past year, 20 of the members of the faculty have used the interactive whiteboards.  We continue to have meetings/trainings during and after school to meet the needs of any staff interested in learning more about the technology.  We are also offering courses to the community at night.


The students: From day one with our new digital tools, we saw an impact on students.  Teachers were excited about working up new approaches to lessons to engage students and students were more inclined to volunteer to show a solution on the SMART Board.  Some of this may be attributed to the newness of the technology but, we are one year into this project and have not seen a decline in the things mentioned above.  Lessons can be saved to disk or uploaded to blogs or virtual classrooms (Manhattan or Moodle) and this has certainly helped our special education population. Teachers have been sharing ideas and approaches to teaching that are cross curricular.  The professional learning community that we hoped would form has.  Teachers have been collaborating more than ever with discussions about the SMART board and methods for increasing student achievement.


The data: Much of the data collected was anecdotal.  The technology integrator would ask teachers for feedback, positive and negative, about how the interactive whiteboards were affecting their teaching and their students’ achievement.  Students were also surveyed so that we could better address issues. The results were overwhelmingly positive regarding teacher and student responses to the technology.


The difference: The data that we gathered from a few geometry classes, although limited in scope, was very interesting.  We had two mixed level basic geometry classes during the 2006-2007 school year- one first semester (pre-SMART Board) and one second semester (post-SMART Board).  With no other changes to the course or teacher, the second semester class out performed the first semester class by an average of 5 percentage points per test on all except one test.  Further evidence of student achievement was from student feedback sheets.  Students felt that the material was easier to understand because they could see what the teacher is talking about and could save the class notes on a portable drive if they so desired. Upon comparing results from the “My Voice” survey from the beginning of the 2006-2007 school year with 2007-2008 we did notice some interesting changes.  The following items were of particular note:  Teachers make school an exciting place to learn. 10/06 25.6%  11/07 36%   Teachers have fun at school. 10/06 40.7%  11/07 48.9%  Learning can be fun. 10/06 63.2%  11/07 69.5%   It would be imprudent to say that these changes were the result solely of the implementation of SMART Boards, yet with very little change in faculty one can assume that the implementation was a factor.


Essential conditions: The essential condition necessary for the success of the project is the ongoing professional development piece.  To put digital tools in the classrooms of a number of teachers without training is a waste of precious resources.  Although some teachers can begin working with the new technology without training, many feel overwhelmed or hesitant to use the tools without training.  The collaborative spirit and collegiality that come from the “training meetings” is an integral part of the success of implementation of the new technology.


Changes for the future: The implementation process could be improved by having more formalized meetings of teachers using SMART Boards in daily lessons to improve the collaborative process even more.  This formalized setting would get teachers talking about curriculum, instruction and assessment and how to improve our lessons and get students more involved in lessons. The only real evaluation change we could identify as helpful would be the increase in the feedback from students.  Our evidence was overwhelmingly in favor of the use of the SMART Board as a teaching tool, but having more probing questions to get at the root of why students prefer the interactive whiteboard could help change instruction even in non-SMART Board classes or lessons.


Recommendations: See above.


Telling our story: The impact of this project was shared at a public Shaker Regional School Board meeting in which the school board, central office staff, parents and newspaper reporters were present.  The board was impressed with the direction that education was heading based on what they saw and heard.  The Laconia Citizen reported the findings in an article written about the meeting.  The community courses that we will be offering will serve as another means to share the impact of the project, as well as, serving to introduce community members to the technology.


Documents to share:  none at this time