Technology in English Class


My school got SmartBoards for most of the classrooms last year.  Since then, I have struggled to figure out how to use it effectively in my classroom.  I’ve been stymied by software problems, but now that those seem to be fixed, I’m trying to figure out how to use it.  I find lots of examples of Primary school uses for English and lots for math or science, but nothing for the secondary English teacher.  The sites I have been finding during my off hours are blocked by the school for some reason or other.

It’s frustrating because I can’t think of any way to use it other than as a simple whiteboard.  Sometimes, it’s hard work to bring technology into the English class.  I generally find new ways quite often, but the SmartBoard is stumping me.  If anyone has some good ideas for me, I’d appreciate them.

I am the language lover and these are my thoughts.



  1. Scott Erb said,

    October 22, 2008 at 3:09 am

    Interesting. I teach college so my students are older, but I had an interesting experience with power point. I had put lectures about Iraq, Yugoslavia, the Third World, etc. into power point form. It was great, I had real maps, pictures, and the like. Yet…there was no discussion. Students paid attention, but I felt like I was on autopilot. Then this semester I tried to go back to the drawing maps on the board and writing names down, and suddenly the class was more lively, and I found myself going on useful side tangents related to the issue, and making more connections with the rest of the class. So I think I’m going to use technology less. Maybe the old fashioned way is best. Of course, that’s with 18 – 22 year olds, I’m not sure how it works with teens!

  2. October 22, 2008 at 3:30 am

    Oddly, I found a template and developed what might be a great lesson using the SmartBoard, but when I tried to use it today after school…more software problems. Yay for technology.

    You are right, though, that sometimes the use of technology can alienate the students from discussion, however it can sometimes bridge the gap between disinterest and engagement. This may be with teens more than 18-22 year olds, though…I don’t have the experience to say for sure.

  3. Scott Erb said,

    October 24, 2008 at 1:06 am

    And, to be sure, students change fast. Compared to ten years ago, students have a completely different set of skills and attitudes on technology. It’s amazing to teach and watch the changes (and, of course, I’m sure you’re seeing that with the age of the students you teach as well!)

  4. Giancarlo Castelo said,

    April 17, 2010 at 11:36 am

    Most of the time Smartboard software is pretty limiting to what their developers had in mind. You can actually have fun using tons of interactive Powerpoint presentations. There are a lot of downloadable templates if you do not have much time to create one.

  5. Christy Bailleul said,

    August 20, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    As I was searching the internet for ways to use technology in my high school English class, I came across your posting. I often feel the same way about technology. I want to do more with it, but feel restricted in so many ways. I have successfully used the SmartBoard for grammar activities. When teaching active vs. passive voice construction, I create notes, sample sentences and practice lessons. The students are more focused using the SmartBoard than a worksheet or grammar book. I do use PowerPoint more often than the SmartBoard equivalent since there are more possibilities with PPT. I can show my students how to research more effectively using the internet by using the SmartBoard. I am also trying out for streaming videos related to my content. The videos are relevant and updated (more so than the videos available at the school library!). Webquests are also on my checklist for this year. I would like to try something like that. Has your school checked out Moodle? It is also an interesting online tool that I use for discussion forums outside of the classroom. If you come up with any other ways to include technology, please share. Good luck!

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