SMART Technologies Case Study
New Rochelle, New York
The installation of 500 SMART Board interactive whiteboards, with dynamic Notebook™ collaborative learning software, has brought energy and intense engagement to this suburban community just outside New York City.
Christine Coleman, director of technology at the City School District of New Rochelle (New York) is passionate about bringing sophisticated technical resources to her district's classrooms. Fortunately for Coleman, her goals dovetail with New Rochelle's overarching vision to "vigorously integrate technology into the curriculum in an effort to expand the scope, quality, and richness of the district's educational environment."
To help make the district's vision a reality, Coleman has worked closely with New Rochelle's educators, students, and the community to assess state-of-the-art technology resources that will redefine education and motivate lifelong learning.
With this goal in mind, Coleman conducted a comprehensive review of interactive whiteboard technology when she arrived at the district four years ago. "I did a comprehensive review of all of the interactive whiteboards on the market," she says. "I looked at whiteboards with an eye toward safety, durability, software functionality, interactive features, and longevity." After completing her analysis, Coleman decided the best interactive whiteboard supplier for New Rochelle was SMART, the industry pioneer and global education market segment leader in easy-to-use interactive whiteboards. Since 2004, New Rochelle has implemented more than 500 SMART Board interactive whiteboards loaded with Notebook collaborative learning software to classrooms throughout the district.
"The interactive whiteboards have created energy around the use of technology in our schools," says Coleman. "They provide a new way for teachers to think about their practice and pedagogy of instruction. And, simultaneously, students have became engaged, and, of course, intrigued."
According to Coleman, all 500 SMART Board interactive whiteboards in the district are running Notebook software—the real genius behind SMART Board interactive whiteboards. Coleman has marveled at the unique ways that teachers are using Notebook. In Jose Rosa's bilingual fourth-grade classroom, for instance, Coleman reports that Rosa is doing semantic mapping with help from Notebook.
Notebook's archiving capability, as Rosa's example illustrates, is one of the software's most important functions. "For teachers like Rosa, who teach the same course repeatedly to multiple groups of students during the day, Notebook provides a means to save these sessions for later use. Teachers can access a particular lesson, mark it up, save it, and then access it again the next day—right where they left off. In our district, it is critical for teachers to be able to archive lessons in this manner. Notebook software is invaluable to us."
Coleman can provide dozens of similar examples that help to illustrate the impact that SMART Board interactive whiteboards have had on all levels of learners. None of them, however, are more powerful than what happened when the SMART Board interactive whiteboards were installed in the district's special needs class for autistic children.
"We brought in the board and the software to train special needs teachers," says Coleman. "We provided the teachers with a software tool called Brain Pop. Then we watched as autistic children in wheelchairs—with multiple handicaps—came up to the interactive whiteboard and became highly engaged in content-level work. The special needs teacher uses Notebook to archive the Brain Pop lessons, so they can be repeated later—the special needs children in this particular group require a lot of repetition. Notebook also enabled the teacher to take digital pictures to show parents the success and tri