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Interactive Technology for Special Education Teachers: SMART Board Lessons

By Deidra Alexander

Garner the same benefits from interactive whiteboard technology as your general education counterparts while teaching special education. SMART Board lessons for math are discussed herein.

Technology provides an ever-expanding number of resources for Special Education teachers. SMART Board lessons are a perfect example. Learners with Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD) who have problems grasping a thorough understanding of material through traditional methods of instruction often find learning support through touch-screen technology. In math, animations and games extend the concept of manipulatives to the entire classroom and reach beyond the abstract aspects of math for real-live action to engage multiple senses.

SMART Board allows teachers to download and display instruction on their interactive whiteboard with information projected from a connected computer to a screen either on a stand or hanging from the ceiling. Classrooms across the country have been equipped with the SMART Board brand for years now with a reach that expands across multiple disciplines to teach students at all skill levels.

Animated Manipulatives

“Mini Movies” is the name given to flash animated activities that were developed based on educational standards in efforts to bring math to life. The Mister Teacher website lists several movies in multiple categories. The pre-algebra titles listed under the math heading include number properties (associative, distributive, and commutative) which are completely interactive with explanations for each property and demonstrations that students should be allowed to operate for full submersion into the lesson through the use of the “change order" and "distribute to" buttons which are available for each activity listing under this heading. Integer activities are also available.

Kinesthetic learners gain a great deal from these animations, as do visual learners, by having their lessons presented on the SMART Board because they are able to see the numbers move around allowing for multiple and parallel movement that cannot be seen when working with numbers solely on a page. Having this technology, specifically the “mini movies”, available for an entire classroom creates a special benefit as it greatly reduces the need for multiple sets of manipulatives that are liable to be misplaced and need expansive storage to accommodate multiple users.

Games for Review and Assessment

The SMART Tech website links free downloadable resources for teachers to use in the "Exchange" section including games and other lesson activities called SMART notebook lessons from the special education part of the website. These resources are useable with children performing below grade level and related to educational standards which require lesson activities to not only meet grade level expectations, but match students’ chronological age levels, which is often a hard feat for teachers to conquer, especially in the subject area of math.

The Math Jeopardy Assessment tests the knowledge of several topics starting with fractions and covering measurement of length and distance. The game includes full jeopardy features that end the game with “final jeopardy” for team play. Teachers will find great success in getting students involved and capturing student performance when using this game since it is extendable, allowing for teachers to add their own slides based on their own goals and objectives.

Both lesson activities will engage SLD students for a whole body and whole class experience with animation, sound, and standards-based instruction. This is an ever-true challenge that teachers face every year and every day. Use these lessons to increase the impact of your teachings with interactive technology on board and ready for special education math with the SMART Board .