Getting smarter with SMART programs in Europe
Europe is an exciting place these days for educators using SMART products. One of those reasons is because of SMART’s education programs. Programs like the SMART Exemplary Educator program and the SMART Showcase School program, which are fairly new to Europe, Middle East and Africa. These fantastic programs reward educators, schools and districts that are committed to improving student learning through the use of SMART products.
Europe had its first SMART Exemplary Educator Summit this past summer in Hamburg, Germany, which I also got the opportunity to help plan with a team of people from SMART. This first Summit welcomed SMART Exemplary Educators from 19 countries in Europe, Middle East, Africa and North America. It offered a full three days of networking, professional development and building new and lasting friendships.
You can read more about the Summit in my last blog post, but in this post, I’m going to focus on the SMART Showcase School program. SMART Showcase Schools and Districts demonstrate how SMART products can transform classrooms and improve learning outcomes. They serve as host sites for educators who are interested in implementing SMART products – and receive benefits, including professional development opportunities.
The program in Europe is not as long running as the SMART Showcase School program in North America, where there are now even SMART Showcase Elite Schools and even a SMART Showcase Community that provide an exceptional example of how SMART products can transform classrooms and improve learning outcomes, not only in schools and districts, but also in an entire community. These are great examples for the whole world of how the use of technology can really transform curriculum and education as a whole.
In the Netherlands, where I’m from, there are six schools that have been named SMART Showcase Schools - two primary education, one special education and three secondary education. Along with the hardware (SMART Document Cameras and SMART Slate wireless slates) and software (SMART Notebook Math Tools and Bridgit conferencing software licenses) we received from SMART, my school, Ashram College in Alphen aan den Rijn, also received expertise, guidance and assistance for the implementation of SMART Board interactive whiteboards, along with the organization of a SMART Content Creation Seminar that we hosted for teachers.
The last school year (2011-2012) was our first year as a model SMART Showcase School . Watch this video that shows the many different ways our students and teachers are using SMART products in the classroom and how we’ve integrated mobile devices with the curriculum. The video also gives you a good peak into a Dutch school.
Working with educational technology, like the SMART Board interactive whiteboard and SMART Response interactive response systems, is a lot more fun and engaging for both teachers and students. Students like getting that instant feedback on their tests when using SMART Response, and using the SMART board makes lessons more interactive, and therefore teachers can offer a better education. And because students don’t need to take notes because they can easily be shared with the class, students can now better focus on the content at hand and actively be involved in the lesson.
Besides this path of success we’ve chosen at Ashram College, in this new school year, our plan is to host a sequel to last year’s first Content Creation Seminar; SMART Response interactive response system will be wider deployed; and the pedagogical use of the SMART Board interactive whiteboard will be set to a higher level. All must fit into the new educational vision of our school.