Friday, December 18, 2009

Welcome to Interactive Whiteboard Insights

Welcome to the Interactive Whiteboard Insights: A blog created by Emily Starr, CEO of StarrMatica Learning Systems, an education publishing company specializing in digital content.

My personal journey with technology began five years ago while teaching fourth grade when I received an LCD projector for my classroom. I was so excited I stayed late (not that staying late didn’t occur regularly—I know many of you keep pillows under your desk “just in case”) and practiced until I had the hardware operation down pat. I could connect the projector to my computer, adjust the height to match my screen, turn it on, focus the image, and access my computer–but then what was I supposed to do? How did I use this equipment to benefit my students?

I started small in my classroom. I thought if I could just find one interactive activity to use with the LCD projector during math every day that would be a good start. I spent hours scouring the internet to find activities that fit my lesson plans and weren’t filled with distracting advertisements. As you know, there are never enough hours in the day when you are teaching, so I was struggling to keep up with everything I had already been doing before the LCD projector arrived, while also spending hours trying to find just one single math resource to use each day.--And this was even before my school purchased interactive whiteboards!

It was time struggle all the way, but once I had made the transition from overhead and worksheet activities to teaching with interactive content, there was no turning back. My students were excited about the technology portion of math class, and I found myself looking forward to that part of the day. Technology re-energized my teaching and led to the life changing decision to leave my classroom.

It was difficult to walk away from my home away from home--my colleages, my class full of students.  But, I left with the belief, a belief I have found to be true a long five years later, that through StarrMatica's work, I have the ability to help more students and teachers than I could have within the walls of my single classroom.

I founded StarrMatica to help teachers and adminstrators answer the “Now what?” of teaching with technology. Our mission is to make technology integration easy and effective for all teachers through quality, standards-aligned interactive content and professional development.  At StarrMatica, we strive to help all teachers bridge the gap between knowing how to operate hardware and actually integrating technology into daily instruction in exciting effective ways that motivate students.

I’ll be posting once a week about with my insights on interactive content and interactive whiteboards in education.  I hope you’ll join me for the journey and please feel free to ask questions, make comments, post ideas, and share experiences.

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