Little things can make a big difference. The first time I saw a ScreenBeam, I wasn’t sure that a small box would really impact my classroom in any significant way. Convenient? Yes. Impactful? I wasn’t sure. Fast forward a year later, and I can now attest that my ScreenBeam has not only had a positive impact in my classroom, but in many classrooms around my campus. I thought I would share the “little things” that have made the biggest impact this year:
My classroom is arranged the way I want.
Is your classroom arrangement dictated by your projector connection? Mine was. Everything in my room centered around where my laptop had to sit to be connected to my projector. With my ScreenBeam, I can arrange my classroom however I would like. The ScreenBeam connects to the projector output, allowing me to place my podium, desks, and bookshelves where I choose. I am able to arrange the students’ desks in a variety of ways to create the best learning environment for the tasks at hand.
I can move around the room while I teach.
Because I am no longer tethered to my projector cord, I am free to walk around the room with my laptop as I teach class. As a natural pacer, I love that I am able to walk as I talk. It also allows me to mill around the room to help students and interact with groups while I am teaching. No more running to a student and then back up to my laptop to move on to the next point. Additionally, all of my students have laptops. When I was tethered to my projector, I was unable to see the students’ screens to ensure they were on task while I was teaching at the front of the room. Thanks to my ScreenBeam, I can teach from anywhere in the room, viewing the students’ screens as I teach and allowing for more accountability.
No matter what projector I am using, I can connect.
I frequently team teach with my colleagues, which requires me to visit their classrooms and use their projectors. I also frequently present at conferences or other schools. Some projectors use VGA, while others use HDMI. My laptop, however, has a mini-HDMI port. Nothing connects to my laptop without extra cords or special adapters. Before my ScreenBeam, I always worried about whether I had the right adapter or cord, so I would bring everything. With my ScreenBeam, I don’t have to worry. I can connect to both VGA or HDMI without any adapters. The limitations of my mini-HDMI port are, thankfully, no longer a factor, allowing me to focus on what matters – the content of my lesson.
Everyone who sees me using my ScreenBeam wants one.
When teachers at my school or at conferences see me walking around the room presenting, they want to know what I am using and where they can get one. As a result, most of the math teachers at my school now have their own ScreenBeam. They are huge fans of their ScreenBeams, and the flexibility it allows them. Before their use of ScreenBeam, they had to stand at their interactive white board, solving problems and explaining theories. Now, with their ScreenBeam and their Lenovo Yoga with digitized stylus, they can teach from anywhere in the room, solving problems in their OneNote Class Notebooks. The students immediately have the notes for the day because the Class Notebook syncs automatically. They too appreciate the ability to walk around the room and help students as they teach, and they have found the flow of their class is smoother and more productive as a result.
I have certainly learned over the last year that small things do matter. Using a ScreenBeam in class has allowed us to make our classes more student centered, enhanced the flow of our discussions, and improved our efficiency. Any product that can make me a better teacher is a winning product in my eyes.
View more about ScreenBeam for educators, or request a trial here.
Kelli Etheredge (@ketheredge) is the Teaching and Learning Resources Director for St. Paul’s Episcopal School. In her role, she supports PK-12 teachers in effective integration of technology and innovative lesson design. She is also a trained peer coaching facilitator through the PeerEd group. She taught high school English for 14 years and has taught and supported faculty in a 1:1 environment for 14 years. Her work with students has been featured on Copy/Paste, TeachTec, Microsoft in Education, OneNote, and Daily Edventures blogs. She is also a Master Trainer for Microsoft’s Innovative Educator Workshop and has presented at various webinars for Microsoft and others. She was one of the 5 nominees for the 2013 Bammys in the Secondary Teacher of the Year category. Based on the learning activities she designs for her students, she has been invited to attend numerous national forums (winning first place in knowledge building) and two global forums. Most recently, her Global Forum Learn-a-thon team won first place in the Learn-a-thon competition. She lives and works in Alabama.