Smart Boards give DE its own 'school of the future'

At $3,000 for a Smart Board and projector, Cab Calloway School for Arts provides interactive math problems, saved as PDFs and uploaded to the Web.

Taking cues from Philadelphia's Microsoft-funded School of the Future, a Delaware school district is developing its own model high-tech program, reports the Delaware News Journal.

The Red Clay Consolidated School District in Delaware may not have a fancy environmentally green building to house its laptops, but it does have a few Smart Boards with projectors and teachers there are putting them to good use.

At the Cab Calloway School of the Arts, math teacher Ed Killheffer uses a Smart Board in his honors precalculus class to solve formulas for finding distance and midpoints. He projects a grid on the screen, then used his finger to draw lines between points.

Killheffer can write on the board with his finger or a digital pen. Or he can control the board with the mouse on his computer. Killheffer also uses a graphing calculator, which he projects on the screen. Collectively, the class solves the problems, and he then can save each screen from the calculator, giving the students step-by-step explanations.

All the work is saved as PDF files and uploaded onto the class website for students to refer to when they are doing homework. This allows students to give their undivided attention instead of taking notes in class.

The added benefit is that parents can use the notes to help with homework and students who can't take attend class can access it at home.

"A kid in a more rural part of the state can get Advanced Placement calculus even though he doesn't have a teacher in the building. Or that kid can be learning Mandarin from kids in China," said Paul Herdman, president of the Rodel Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to improving public education in Delaware. "I hope we can bring some of these ideas to Delaware."