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Archive for September, 2013

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Park Hills Elementary School Teacher Enlivens the Classroom and Conferences with Portable eBeam Technology™

“The eBeam Edge just makes teaching easier!”
Erik Wittmer, 5th Grade Teacher
Park Hills Elementary, Hanover, PA

24 students file into Erik Wittmer’s 5th grade class at Park Hills
Elementary. As the kids settle down, his eBeam system is fired up, and
one by one his students use the eBeam interactive stylus to sign into his
projected attendance sheet on the board. Using the eBeam interactive
tool palette, the kids sign their names in the color that represents the
meal they want for lunch, thus combining attendance taking with lunch
selection. This double-duty management of attendance and lunch is
but one of the many interactive uses Wittmer has developed for his
eBeam Complete system in the three years he has had it. “It just makes
teaching easier!” he exclaims.

Keeping students focused is a challenge with which Wittmer is intimately
acquainted. The challenge is compounded with students raised in the
age of cell phones, email and other interactive technology. In many
cases, the “stand and lecture” method just isn’t very efficient for
encouraging students to actively think about lesson material.
To promote this type of active engagement in the classroom, Wittmer
began using eBeam Complete™ three years ago. Today Erik still speaks
glowingly about how it has increased interactivity amongst his students.
With the eBeam system, Wittmer is able to annotate his presentations,
pull in media files from Discovery Streaming online and incorporate
content from the eBeam image gallery. Wittmer also uses the eBeam
system to record and save presentations, which he can send to students
who are out sick, allowing him to keep the students on top of the
curriculum. “Some things, if you miss it, you’re lost,” says Wittmer, who
saves his lessons as WMV files and posts them to his class Moodle for
absent students to view at a later date. The eBeam connection to the
Amazon Kindle is particularly exciting to Wittmer, who cites eReaders
as being great for students with learning differences, such as dyslexia.
The ability to highlight text and have it pronounced and defined, Wittmer
says, helps the learning process of many of these kids.

Most of all Wittmer likes that his eBeam system allows his students
to stay engaged and “become the teacher”—rather than passively
listening to his lectures from their desks, Wittmer has the kids use
the interactive stylus themselves to participate in interactive lessons
projected onto the board. His students have become so comfortable
handling the eBeam system that they are able to explore new uses
for the system and even troubleshoot when issues arise, turning
classroom technology into a learning experience in and of itself.
Wittmer’s use of his eBeam system isn’t limited to the classroom. He
also uses his eBeam Complete in all of the presentations he makes,
including those at local, district and state level conferences. “You
almost feel naked without it,” he admits. “You become so reliant on
it, it becomes second nature!” Although he is the only teacher in his
school to have eBeam interactive technology, his enthusiasm for it, has
sparked many of his colleagues to request more interactive whiteboard
technology in the district.

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