Elevating the Educational Environment: Building an Engaging Environment by Meeting Students Where They Are

A SMART Customer Success Story with Beardsley School District, California

Teachers and School

Kevin Williams-Assistant SuperintendentRyan Frank-Beardsley Director of TechnologyAimee Williamson-Principal Beardsley ElementarySharon Lutje-North Beardsley Technology TeacherKari Baker- San Lauren Technology Teacher

Challenge

Allowing students to feel the classroom is a safe place to have a positive and engaging interaction with technology relationally while still building much-needed learning skills.

SMART Solution

SMART 7000 series
SMART Learning Suite
SMART Learning Suite Online

Result

Teachers were able to develop multi-dimensional lessons that reached all learners through multi-touchpoint professional development opportunities that were tiered for all levels of technology.

“It’s in SMART’s DNA to support teachers and their endeavors to be better teachers."
- Ryan Frank

Motivation

Technology use away from school has caused a barrier to learning because it is seen more as a source of passive entertainment and not as an opportunity to actively engage students in learning experiences. Students might have some technology at home but it’s isolated and they’re not getting the human interaction they need. Keeping students actively engaged has been a challenge in the Beardsley School District. Some students come to school and feel like they have to “power down” to learn. Aimee Williamson, principal at Beardsley School Elementary, has seen an increase in student absences and lack of student “buy in” to the idea that school can be a place of fun and learning. Her mission is to fill the gap by showing the students that the classroom is a safe place to have a positive and engaging interaction with technology relationally while still building much-needed learning skills. Williamson believes, “We need to have the technology and human interaction come together to create the change that’s going to empower future generations.” Beardsley has found a way to meet students where they are, using SMART technology as the vehicle to motivate and increase student participation in the classroom.

Why SMART?

Ryan Frank, Beardsley’s Director of Technology, was given the task to find the right product that would benefit teachers and the economically impacted district. We wanted to empower our teachers to take a step forward in understanding and recognizing how active use of the right technology can positively impact students. There was much technology that would work, but the priority in the decision-making process was to elevate the educational experience for students and to enhance the curriculum that teachers already had. Ryan wanted technology that would have longevity. The deciding factor for Beardsley was SMART’s commitment to education. According to Ryan, “SMART’s commitment to education is unmatched!” Not only do they have a great product but their support for teachers is undeniable. It’s in SMART’s DNA to support teachers and their endeavors to be better teachers.” Having a SMART board in each classroom along with SMART Learning Suite subscription has allowed teachers to take their students to places they have never been. The interactive abilities between SMART and devices allow for seamless learning.

Motivating Students to Participate in Fun and Educational Experiences

Teachers are bringing their lessons to life with the help of SMART. “Some of our kids have never really been outside of the Bakersfield community so when you try to teach something, and they have no understanding, it’s a great way to integrate new experiences that they otherwise wouldn’t have,” emphasized technology teacher Sharon Lufte. In Beardsley, students are collaborating and creating new meaning, building educational relationships with their peers and teachers. Including a student-run broadcast called “Bear TV,” where students create scripts, produce and broadcast video out to all classrooms eagerly watching the live show on their SMART Boards. Bear TV consists of silly challenges such as; throw a pie in the principal’s face, escape rooms, dancing, playing a SMART activity and much more. Principal Aimee Williamson, capitalized on the technology, shining a focus on school being a place of fun. “If students feel that school is fun and a great place to learn, they’ll want to be there and be a part of it.”

Outcomes:

Teachers were able to enhance their curriculum with engaging, interactive activities that fostered student participation using SMART Learning Suite. According to Aimee Williamson, 

“The classroom is a safe place to have a positive interaction with technology in a personal way while still building the much-needed relationships with each other.” 
- Aimee Williamson

Teachers are rejuvenated, jumping in full force to create dynamic learning experiences for the students and are excited to continue using SMART Solutions to facilitate active learning for students in their classrooms. The impact of meeting students where they are has improved student attendance in Beardsley from 40 students absent down to less than 15 students absent per day. Students are coming to school more consistently and engaging in interactive learning they enjoy and benefit from.


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Posted: June 19, 2019
in Outcome Studies