It can be gleaned from my previous eBeam post that eBeam didn’t work as I had hoped it to as a whiteboard, but I thought it wasn’t too big a deal (I’ve managed without whiteboards for years) because I could use it to enhance teaching (and learning) in other ways. And so I set out to experiment.
Given that I teach a substantial number of low-level EAP students and consequently use a lot of imagery, I decided to use images and record vocabulary on the screen. The intention was that it would be easier for students to understand and retain the words as they would be recorded on the images, rather than on a separate board (see below)..
As with using eBeam for a whiteboard, the main issue is the clarity of the writing. It was also quite a challenge to select the right colour: what was clear for me and those at the front, wasn’t necessarily clear at the back of the classroom.
Along a similar vein, I used a tool to hide most of an image, leaving just a ‘spot’ visible (see below).
This was used for students to guess the image and lead into introducing the lesson’s topic and elicit topic vocabulary that was hard to describe (i.e. fur, claws, whiskers…). Before revealing the image, students’ suggestions for the topic were recorded on a board. Once revealed the key vocabulary was written on the image (see below).
The activity itself worked really well and students were engaged, offering interesting topics and most of the key vocabulary. Again the main stumbling block was the legibility of the text.
As students were becoming more familiar with the technology, I asked students if they wanted to write on the image. I wasn’t taken up on the offer, so to encourage students using the technology I decided to use a listening script and have students underline the answers in the text (on screen).
This worked well and some students did use the stylo. However, due to the script length I had to create two documents: the saving and uploading of which interrupted the flow of the activity, as well as making it a little disjointed. On reflection, this is something that may have arisen from my experience and knowledge of eBeam, rather than the technology itself.
Encouraged by students involvement in the above activity, I decided to see I could take it a step further and created word documents (i.e.tables to fill in, answers to add…) for students to complete. Unfortunately, this was perhaps a step too far, too soon and students weren’t confident enough it use the technology: possibly not helped by the misalignment of board and pen (I had to revert to the whiteboard) and what I called the ‘Bermuda Triangle’ area of the board (where no writing would appear).
On the plus side, eBeam can be integrated quite easily and effectively into teaching. On a practical side, it seems that certain salient features demand a lot of practice (on the part of the teacher and students), especially the use of the stylo.