At the beginning of this teaching term I was asked to trial the eBeam for the college I teach at. I hadn’t heard of eBeam before, so the first thing I did was google it.
What is eBeam?
What I saw (and what can be seen in the YouTube clip) seemed interesting and quite straight forward, but I wasn’t majorly convinced that it would add to the teaching and learning experience. I went to a couple of training sessions set up by the college and learned a few ways in which it could be applied in language teaching. After the training I decided to divide the trial into 3 stages:
Stage 1: familiarising myself with the software and developing lesson plans that are suitable for my context (students and logistics);
Stage 2: trialing the technology in the classroom in as many possible ways;
Stage 3: reflecting on how the lessons went.
The set up in my college means that I am not able to use eBeam as demonstrated in the clip above. Our projectors beam onto a screen and most classrooms (including those I was teaching in) don’t have a whiteboard behind them. This means I’m unable to trial the whiteboard markers. However, one of my classrooms has no whiteboard whatsoever, so it would be perfect to experiment with the eBeam as a whiteboard using the stylo.
Some of the functions enable you to reveal only a part of an image, these functions seemed ideal for introducing topics (in a slightly more interesting way than just having an image). Projecting images on which related vocabulary could be written might also work in my context. This would also offer the opportunity for students to write on the images (rather than at the side). Developing this idea a little, I think it will be interesting to see if prepared materials could be written on (much like the old OHPs) and answers underlined in audio scripts (I’m teaching Listening only again this term).
So in brief my eBeam teaching ideas are to:
- use eBeam as a whiteboard
- present images (using a ‘discover function’)
- write on projected images
- underline answers in audio scripts
- fill in answers on prepared documents
I plan to enable students to write with or use the stylo at any stage should they wish to do so – if, of course, they feel confident enough.
I’ve taken these ideas and built them into my lesson plans. This has been easy to do, which shows that the technology can be used in my context without the need to adapt teaching styles.
The software has been installed on my computer (in addition to my teaching rooms), so I have been able to play with it and address potential issues, before trying it in the classroom. I can’t wait to have a go (and see if my original skepticism was justified). It’ll be interesting to see how the students react.