Interactive white boards a hit in Chicago! Way to go Troy schools!

6th July, 2010 - Posted by Sammie Gann - 2 Comments

Jacqueline Garretson, third-grade teacher at the Troy Hofer Elementary School, assists student Michelle Bloomquist with Troy School District’s new Mimio system. (Marianne Eisenbrandt/For Sun-Times Media)

Written by MARIANNE EISENBRANDT For Sun-Times Media

JOLIET — Brianna Buccellato is so inspired by new technology in her classroom at the Troy Hofer Elementary School that she finds learning fun.

“I couldn’t even go a day without it because it makes me learn better,” said Brianna, a third-grade student at Hofer. “I love when I get called up to do something with it, like moving objects or writing on it.”

Brianna was referring to the new system that the Troy School District is in the process of installing throughout its schools that turns the traditional chalkboard into an interactive whiteboard, a tool of the 21st century.

Mimio, a provider of interactive teaching technologies for educators has been selected for its “all-in-one” Mimio interactive solution by the district. Ronald Sarver, director of information services, said they selected Mimio because of its affordability and portability.

“Mimio is the most cost-effective solution comparatively speaking with the other brands,” Sarver said.

Fast and fun

The Mimio interactive systems were installed in all classrooms when the William B. Orenic Intermediate School was constructed and has finished its fourth year of operation. Hofer School has finished its second year using the new technology. Last summer 109 classrooms were changed from blackboards to white boards.

“The other schools have around five complete Mimio systems per school. The systems are shared, allowing teachers to electronically ‘checkout’ a Mimio system to be used in their classrooms,” Sarver said.

Plans are to purchase a Mimio system for each classroom districtwide.

“We are still waiting for the funds to be available for that purchase. Whatever level of funding we get (complete or partial), we plan to install the Mimio system in an equitable fashion among the schools which do not currently have Mimios in every classroom (Troy Middle School, Troy Craughwell, Troy Heritage Trail, Troy Crossroads and Troy Shorewood),” he said.

Sarver said the staff is trained on Mimio interactive systems throughout the year. “So far all staff has embraced it and has no regrets,” he said.

“I think the system really helps me learn in a fun way. It gives me a chance to learn in a whole new way,” said third-grader Jorge Mejia.

Third-grader Steven Krefft said he likes the new technology because it is fast, fun and enjoyable. “It keeps my attention,” he said.

Hofer third-grade teacher Michelle Wagner said the Mimio technology system is fun and effective for the students and teacher alike.

“I enjoy creating presentations that enhance student learning, including eye-catching visuals that aid in the overall understanding of a topic,” Wagner said.

“During lessons, the students are engaged and look forward to interacting with the system, whether manipulating objects or writing a sentence. It’s amazing to see the positive impact the use of technology can have on student learning. I couldn’t go a day without it,” Wagner said.

Interactive tool

Sarver explained that Mimio interactive and award-winning studio software quickly and seamlessly turn any passive whiteboard into an interactive teaching tool. The Mimio interactive system and Mimio Capture Kit let users record dry erase whiteboard notes and save them in a variety of formats, including PDF, JPEG and HTML.

“Doing so keeps students focused on the lesson rather than copying notes from the whiteboard to their paper,” he said.

Teachers can also import or drag-and-drop audio, video and flash files into Studio 6 software, creating animated presentations they can play, pause or rewind. The slim, lightweight Mimio pad wireless tablet gives teachers and students access to and control of the Mimio interactive system from any point in the classroom.

The system can be used for math, social studies, geography and history. It can even bring up a music staff and musical notes can be written and played.

“Mimio provides the best of both worlds in an easy-to-use, interactive teaching solution that teachers like, plus tremendous affordability. Mimio allows us to get more devices into more classrooms,” Sarver said.

How are you integrating technology into your inquiry classroom? Comment on this story below.


Shaun Phillips

August 27th, 2010 at 10:46 am    

Awesome site, I had not noticed before in my searches!
Continue the good work!


October 5th, 2010 at 12:06 pm    

Last week our class held a similar discussion about this topic and you point out something we haven’t covered yet, appreciate that.

- Laura

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