By Ciara Daniels
When new eighth-grade language arts teacher Jake Heermans came to Cactus Canyon from Apache Junction High School, he found a room stocked with technology. A projector, document camera, and a netbook for every student.
It wasn’t enough.
Mr. Heermans devised a way to make his own SMART Board using a Nintendo Wii remote. It took him about five hours, but he said it has been completely worth it because the software is far more interactive and interesting than a plain whiteboard.
SMART Boards allow teachers to integrate a standard whiteboard – or in Mr. Heermans’ case, his wall – with a computer.
“I think the Wii SMART Board is far more interactive with students. It’s a huge improvement in my opinion,” Mr. Heermans said. “I let the kids come up and use it with mindsets and class work. Some students are a bit shy and embarrassed to come up there, because it makes your handwriting look kind of childish.”
The majority of Mr. Heermans students like it a lot more than just an ordinary whiteboard. It may look like some of their handwriting is childish, but there are a lot of good things about it. It could possibly improve some students’ education because they are interacting with other students while interacting with Mr. Heermans at the same time.
“I honestly think it could improve a lot of students’ education. Being able to go up and use the SMART Board in front of the whole class is a lot of fun,” said eighth grader Taylor Smith. “I feel like I have already learned more because when I used a regular whiteboard, I wasn’t as interested.”