SMART Boards are showing up in many classrooms around the world. These are interactive white boards that “let you deliver dynamic lessons, write notes on them in digital ink and save your work – all with the simple touch of a finger” (Smarttech.com). So why are these boards becoming so popular? Well, not only are these boards supposed to increase interactive instruction, it has shown to increase interest and motivation for students (K-12) while providing to all kinds of learning (visual, auditory and kinesthetic).
When talking about students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), these conclusions about SMART Boards also the same if not more exciting. According to ED Compass Newsletter article, Teaching Children with ASD, SMART Boards are capable of so much more in the special education classroom. Kathleen McClaskey, president of New Hampshire-based Ed-tech Associates, explained in the article that SMART Boards have had a profound effect on ASD students improving “the students’ communication and social interaction skills”. She also notes how ASD students’ focus is more attentive as well as their engagement with learning.
Sixth grade teacher Catherine Kelly explained, in the same article, that having the SMART Board in her classroom helped control the behavior of her ASD students. Kelly also told a story of a specific ASD student who because of the SMART Board in her classroom, was able to “stand up in front of the class and open up sites” on the board. He also began to make more eye contact, and also wanted to learn outside of school as well “asking to write down websites” they learned from that day to show his mom.
The Life Skills Academy program at the Marklund Day School utilizes a variety of technology, including SMART Boards, SMART Tables and iPads to create a classroom environment conducive for learning at all levels and by students at all points along the autism apectrum.
SMART Boards are a way to connect with all students across the entire spectrum. These boards can help enlighten the learning process for students and get them to interact and engage with one-another and the board. The board provides “additional sensory stimulation” (Teaching Children with ASD) as well, which has a very positive effect on learning, especially for those with ASD.