Guest Blogger: @MissLeeSays
Visualiser for schools
Technology overall has become a fundamental teaching and learning tool in classrooms. Proectors, iPads, SMART boards, you name it, some school, some where has got it. But for me on a personal level, in my own classroom, there is no tool that is more useful, convenient and as fantastic as the humble visualiser.
For those teachers (or whoever else tracks education blogs) who aren’t as lucky, let me just explain in old school terms. It’s extremely similar to an over-head projector, without the over-head projecting. Confused? In effect, is it a camera that links up to your IWB/computer that projects (see what I did?) things. Not text, not what ever Mrs Jones wrote on acetate, actual things! As it is a camera, it can present anything you want to a class of students digitally, as we would see it. You can enlarge, enhance, take pictures of objects, but overall, it makes learning even more accessible. Why? Here’s why…
Modelling work – you may do this on your board as usual, but in my opinion, you need to show work that is set out the way you ask it to, so why not write on paper with a pen like your children to and get onto their level? You could also use this as a WAGOLL tool. Children love it when they see what each other’s books look like, but they don’t realise that this is actually a good piece of work too! Why not let the children talk about their own work and present it too; they point out what they have used as they are the ones who know before us. I feel the start of a class discussion coming on…
Display – ‘On page 24 of our story it says…’ but James in the corner is flicking through the book without a care in the world. You can show him immediately where he should be to bring him back. You can highlight part of the text that children may not be able to see themselves on their own; this is fantastic if you have lower level readers. Or in a science experiment, it tackles the problem of ‘can everyone see this tiny set up I have at the back’. It demonstrates real objects in real time. I am aware in some schools, full class computers/laptops can be linked up to the main computer so that they can display objects right in front of them.
For me, it improves accuracy. As a Maths maniac, I hate nothing more than trying to draw lines on a board with no ruler and a pen on a awfully calibrated board. I’m modelling what children should be doing using the tools they have, as well as teaching the importance of ‘accuracy’ drawing in subjects like Science (diagrams) and Maths (axes, shapes).
But…the strongest attribute it can bring to a classroom is…
Assessment – I use mine mostly for this. A child reads out a sentence they have written, but how many times is that sentence not what they have written? Or the punctuation isn’t correct? If it is displayed, the whole class gets an opportunity to input on their next steps. Some could even up-level in role as a ‘teacher’. But most of all, it’s intstant feedback!! You can also screenshot work to put into a Word document for annotation as a class, or put online instantly for the world to feedback! Or simply annotate, screen shot, and stick in books or place in folders and label them as an example assessed in class.
Classroom visualiser – The Disadvantages
However, with everything, there are cons:
- it is a fixed piece of equipment. You have to go to it, and so do the children. This can cause a bit of ‘faff’
- adjusting it can take a while. In my case, it has got to be fully set up, ready to go, all the time. If it doesn’t, you’ve lost time and you’ve lost your class
- lighting can be an issue. If you can see something properly on the board, you turn the lights off, the camera picks up on it and the display goes dark too. One of my colleagues did this thinking it worked as an OHP and we were beside ourselves!
- if you’re not careful, it could possibly take away opportunities for children to have a go themselves. Take the science experiment, rather than everyone doing it separately, some may fall into the trap of just letting children watch, and some take part. If you need to show them it, you may as well search through YouTube! Make sure there is plenty of full involvement in your lesson
- it is technology after all! There will be days were the server is down, the board is fuzzy or it plain just will not work!
At the end of the day visualisers can aid your class massively and can help to provide huge talking point within lessons for students as a whole class. A talking point, a model, an assessment tool, an extremely powerful piece of equipment.