Using SMART Table Technology for the Interactive Elementary Classroom

Using SMART Table Technology for the Interactive Elementary Classroom

James N. Oigara (Canisius College, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9438-3.ch008

Abstract

The development of new technologies enables learners to learn more effectively, efficiently, flexibly, and comfortably. The utilization of the SMART Table, a multi-touch table that can capture and identify numerous objects simultaneously when placed on its surface, can provide a more interactive and participative environment in classrooms. This chapter examined the perceptions of using SMART Table in the elementary classroom. The expectations were that SMART Table applications will help to enhance, engage, and support elementary students in their learning. Data was collected through means of observation, student work samples, survey, and personal interview. The findings suggest that there are many benefits for educators to incorporate the SMART Table into daily instruction at elementary classrooms. Increased student engagement, increased peer collaboration, and strengthening comprehension are some of those key benefits. The study implications determined that the SMART Table can provide elementary students with an engaging outlet of instruction.
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Introduction

Technology has brought changes to various fields and sectors across the globe. One area that has been significantly influenced by technology is the educational sector. There are many different types of technologies being used to support and enhance learning, which include both hardware and software. Hardware include those tangible objects such as interactive whiteboard, smart table, mobile phone, wearable device, smart device, sensors which using ubiquitous computing, cloud computing, ambient intelligence, IoT technology, etc. Software include all kinds of learning systems, learning tools, online resources, educational games which use social networking, learning analytics, visualization, virtual reality, etc. A SMART Table combines the functionality of interactive board, computer, and projector into a single system (Giles & Shaw, 2011; TL Editors, 2013). The SMART Table is used to enhance learning and encourage interactive participation from all students.

There are mixed findings regarding using technology in the classroom, on one hand, researchers have questioned the potential of technology to enhance the effectiveness of the learning process. Some educators see technology in the classroom as a harmful thing. They argue that young children would become dependent on technology to learn and would lose their ability to relate to others. On the other hand, scholars have suggested that technology complements education making instruction fun and easier to understand for students (Harris and Park, 2008). Today new technologies have emerged in the market, allowing the academic arena to integrate the newly developed devices to facilitate the learning of all students. Video games is one of the biggest markets out there for children, however, there has been so much controversy over video games. Many educators feel that video games are a waste of time and promote negative concerns. However, if we could combine education and gaming, a lot of the controversy could be eliminated. Playing video games, gets kids more involved and create an environment where learning and play work together. Studies show that when a participant receives a task that is presented playfully, they are more involved and spend more time on the task.

In academics, new product development can manifest in the form of bringing changes in the manner in which teachers and students interact, how classroom lessons are delivered and students acquire knowledge. In order to create valuable educational applications, developers must target things that children invest a lot of their time in. For example, gaming is a big market in modern society. We have slowly graduated from the traditional methods of education such as textbooks and chalk boards to having hand-held computer devices in our classrooms. Even virtual reality environments are now being incorporated into education sector (Oigara, 2018). The recent introduction of SMART Table technology has initiated interest of both scholars and educators to identify the benefits the device offers for students and teachers.

The SMART Table was not the first multi-touch multiuser device produced. Microsoft Surface was released before the SMART Table. But the SMART Table is the first device of that nature to be used simply for education purposes. The SMART Table is an interactive, hands-on learning device on which up to eight students at a time can work on lesson activities. The SMART Table encourages collaboration as the students work through a variety of customizable lesson activities to support their classroom curriculum (TL Editors, 2013). A variety of lesson activities involving different content area are available including literacy, geography, colors, numbers, music, addition, puzzles and even bugs.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Student Engagement: Refers to the degree of attention, curiosity, interest, optimism, and passion that students show when they are learning or being taught.

SMART Table Toolkit: The SMART Table Toolkit is a stand-alone application that runs on the teacher’s computer. It enables teachers to download and customize SMART Table applications or create their own activities using SMART Notebook™ Gallery items. Teachers can transfer these files from the toolkit to the SMART Table, using SMART Sync or the SMART Table USB key. The toolkit supports up to 50 applications.

SMART Table Interface: From the SMART Table's interface, teachers can control volume, change the number of students on an activity, download the SMART Table Toolkit or access their personal library of table activities. They can also easily turn it on or shut it down.

Active Learning: Learning that involves active student participation in classroom activity.

SMART Mobile: Because the SMART Table is mounted on casters, it can be moved from class to class. Detach the power cord when moving it, and it fits through standard doorways.

Interactive Classroom: Where students learn through their participation in the attainment of knowledge by gathering and processing information in solving problems.

Touch Screen: A touch screen is a computer display screen that serves as an input device. When a touch screen is touched by a finger or stylus, it registers the event and sends it to a controller for processing.

Multi-touch: The SMART Table’s multitouch capability is based on DViT technology, which enables precise, intuitive touch control and superior image quality. The display has an excellent contrast ratio and infrared immunity, so teachers can operate the product in the most challenging lighting conditions.

Student-centered Learning: A form of learning where students are responsible for their learning; the instructor is a facilitator.

SMART Table: A multitouch, multiuser computer screen capability, it has gesture recognition and it’s really customizable.

SMART Customizable Activities: The SMART Table comes with a variety of applications, each with a set of default activities that can be used instantly. Customizable SMART Table lesson activities can be downloaded from the educator resources web page, smarttech.com/tablecontent. The following applications come with the SMART Table: Multiple Choice, HotSpots, HotSpaces, Paint, Media, Addition, Puzzle and Addition Plus. To learn more, visit smarttech.com/table.

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