College of Education Gets 'Smart'

Smart Board partnership between university and school district is mutually beneficial.

Smart Board

Shirley Matteson, an assistant professor in the College of Education, is one of several Texas Tech faculty instructing new teachers how to use Smart Board technology.

From writing with chalk on slate blackboards and banging out eraser dust, to clicking a mouse, touching the screen and filling the wall with colorful images, classroom instruction has gone from analog to digital in the blink of an eye.

Texas Tech University’s College of Education is teaching education students how to use new Smart Board technology to prepare them for teaching in today’s K-12 classrooms.

Smart Boards are home-theater-sized screens projected on classroom walls that function like computer touch screens.

“The main thing we want to teach the up-and-coming educators is how to make the classroom interactive with technology,” said Kimberly Matthews, instructor of elementary math in the College of Education.

Matthews said using virtual manipulatives – objects such as blocks, that a student is instructed to use in a way that teaches or reinforces a lesson – and making them interactive is a method to keep them engaged in learning.

“I want to show future teachers how they can make these interactive manipulatives on the Smart Board. When I taught in the classroom, this technology really helped pull in every one of my students,” Matthews said.

Smart Boards Work With Many Learning Styles

Many of the students in Matthews’ classes aspire to be special education teachers. Brandi Duke, a senior from San Angelo, knows that special ed kids need different kinds of help learning.

“The Smart Board is a great way to aid students who don’t have the fine motor skills to physically flip a coin – which can be simulated on the screen. This is another way to help them out and see that it’s okay – we’ll work on that motor skill another time,” she said.

Lauren Sammons, a senior from Frisco, says the Smart Board facilitates all kinds of learning styles.

“If a student is a visual learner they can see the lesson up on the board; or if somebody needs it demonstrated, they can come up and actually do it on the Smart Board. They can also do it themselves at their seats or outside of class with the same worksheets that correlate with what they are learning in class, so it affects all three kinds of learning capabilities,” said Sammons.

Technology Makes Texas Tech Grads More Marketable

Walter Smith, chairman of the Department of Curriculum & Instruction in the college, knows Texas Tech students are more marketable if they have certain certifications coming out of college and into the public school classrooms.

“The Lubbock Independent School District (LISD) instructional technology leaders are very interested that the people who come from Texas Tech to join their faculty are ready to use the technology that they’re putting into the classrooms, and we’re very interested in making sure that our graduates are ready to do the kind of job that the local schools want them to be able to do,” Smith said.

And, Smith says, it’s not just about feeding teachers to the local schools. The majority of the newly certified teachers don’t go to LISD. They are hired around the state and around the nation, so Texas Tech students are ready to show their prospective employers that they know how to use the technology schools are using.

Featured Video

Instructors from the College of Education demonstrate how Smart Board technology can be used in their classrooms. More Video>>
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College of Education

The College of Education at Texas Tech University offers a full range of programs, including 9 doctoral degrees, 10 master's degrees, two bachelor's degrees and numerous specializations which can lead to careers in public or private education as teachers, professors, administrators, counselors and diagnosticians.

Programs in the college are housed in three departments.

The Department of Curriculum & Instruction offers advanced degrees that prepare leaders, researchers, and professors with the knowledge, skills, and practical application experience needed to analyze, construct, and evaluate curricula in ways that create optimal learning conditions for all learners. Language and literacy, bilingual education and STEM education are just a few of the specializations offered by C&I.

The Department of Educational Psychology & Leadership consists of a diverse group of academic programs that equip students with a comprehensive knowledge of learning, motivation, development, and educational foundations. The disciplines of counseling and school psychology are housed within the EP&L department as are programs to prepare future college administrators, primary and secondary school and district leaders, as well as practical and academic educational psychologists.

The Department of Teacher Education focuses solely on teacher preparation, ensuring that teacher candidates are ready for the classroom on day one. The Teacher Education Department is home to TechTeach, an innovative teacher preparation program that puts teacher candidates into public school classrooms for a full year and requires that students pass teacher certification tests prior to entering the classroom. Various paths to teaching careers, including fast-track distance programs statewide and alternative certification options, are also housed in this department.

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