Pittsburgh: If you are a fan of the TV program, NCIS Los Angeles, then you know that technology in the form of an interactive screen is vital to their investigative searches. Using a promethean board is creative, interactive, engaging, astounding, and exciting! Bringing it into the classroom transforms how teachers teach and learners learn. Now, Promethean Boards, known as interactive whiteboards, are part of the academic training for students at the Pittsburgh Job Corps. With one in each classroom, instructors can provide more interactive learning.
Pittsburgh Job Corps spearheaded this initiative and became the center for training the trainers. Two PJCC staff, Amanda Krezan, Medical Office Support Instructor, and Joseph Bodnar, GED Instructor, spent 4 days in Atlanta, GA to become certified trainers. Recently, they conducted a 2 day, 13 hour intensive indoctrination of the classroom applications of the Promethean Boards. 27 academic instructors, career preparation, and career technical training instructors from Cassadaga, Laredo, Long Beach, Loring, New Haven, New Orleans, Penobscot, Pittsburgh, San Diego, and San Jose came together. These Job Corps are managed by CSD (Career Development Systems.) They are leading the way to an integrated learning environment.
There were demonstrations on how to use the basic tools: activexpression which are the individual student devices, activinspire software, and activpen. Files of presentations are called flipcharts and instructors can use packaged lessons or create their own. With the privacy of using an activexpression the teacher can see how well an individual is doing. The Promethean boards are large interactive displays that connect to a computer and projector. Using an activpen, you can point, write over, sweep away, touch, click, draw, and drag.
The goal of the training was to expose new users to the capabilities and to show familiar users advanced techniques. The boards help teachers engage students and keep them motivated towards learning. Students say it is fun to work with the Promethean boards; we can text to them, answer questions, try out answers. When we are correct we have immediate acknowledgement and positive reinforcement with the sound of clapping hands. One instructor is already using the board to design a jeopardy game of vocabulary words for a green curriculum on climate change.
The non-Pittsburgh staff were impressed with the training and the center. They were also excited to hear about the legend of the Terrible Towel in Steelers country (as many of them were unfamiliar with it.)`Carole Belanger of Loring Job Corps said, “I enjoyed the training immensely, and we were so impressed by the Pittsburgh staff. I don’t think we have met a more friendly staff from another center. You did a great job training us as we knew nothing about the Boards but felt really comfortable (about them) when we returned (back to our centers).” Trainer Krezan said that she “really enjoyed sharing this awesome technology with new users. There is so much that you can do with these boards; it’s really only limited by your imagination. It was great seeing the participants catch on and get inspired”.