Florida School for Deaf and Blind
April 2009

Florida School for Deaf and Blind

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One of America’s Largest Special Needs Schools Standardises on SMART Products

“It benefits the whole educational process. I love this tool. I couldn’t teach without it.”

The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind (FSDB) is one of the largest schools of its type in the United States, accommodating the diverse needs of more than 750 students from pre-kindergarten to grade 12. When FSDB decided to add Interactive White Boards to its classrooms to improve learning outcomes, it needed to find a product that would benefit all students. After evaluating and comparing the ease of use and features of various IWB brands, FSDB chose the SMART Board.

‘We had looked at other IWBs in the market and found that the SMART Board Interactive White Board fit our needs the best,’ says Sue Clark, a mathematics teacher at FSDB. ‘When teaching hearing impaired students, we need our hands free to use sign language. Having the option to use your finger instead of a pen with the SMART Board IWB allows us to do that.’

“We had looked at other interactive white boards in the market and found that the SMART Board interactive white board fit our needs the best.”

{ ue Clark, Math Teacher
The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind
}

Now that FSDB has standardised on the product, SMART Board IWBs are being used with Mac OS X applications in almost all subject areas throughout the school.

Students create movies and storyboards using iPhoto, iMovie and Quicktime applications on the SMART Board IWB, applying effects and transitions to photos and videos captured during field trips. Teachers are finding that the features of the IWBs can be applied to improving learning outcomes for students with hearing or vision impairments, as well as those with secondary impairments.

Students like those in Paula Brannon’s class, who are not completely visually challenged but have some degree of vision impairment, have found that the size of the screen helps them see things in the classroom they’ve never seen before.

‘Paula was able to play videos on her SMART Board IWB and enlarge the image, so her students could see details they couldn’t usually see on a computer screen,’ explains Clark. ‘They were finally able to see and interact with a computer image, which is very valuable.’

Another area where teachers are noticing that value of the IWBs is in teaching grammar basics. Susan Cooper, a reading and language teacher at FSDB, says many students arrive with limited language abilities, but the IWBs help improve language skills.

“Using the SMART Board Interactive White Board is a very inclusive experience for our students. The interactivity keeps students focused on learning and motivates them.”

‘Using the SMART Board IWB is a very inclusive experience for our students. The interactivity keeps students focused on learning and motivates them,’ explains Cooper. ‘Our hearing impaired students need a way to see English visually. Teachers across campus are using the SMART Board IWB and Notebook software to colour-code words and sentences. This helps students learn proper sentence structure and see how words function in sentences. Students can easily change colours of words as they change functions in a sentence. It gets students involved and benefits the whole educational process. I couldn’t teach this without the SMART Board Interactive White Board!’

Clark says she has also witnessed the positive impact that SMART Board IWBs have on her students. ‘I had a student named Allen who preferred just to sit back and not interact. Having the SMART Board IWB really encouraged him to come up and present

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