Learning in the Hands of Students: Redefining a Classroom With SMART

Students gathering around a SMART Board working collaboratively.

Teacher & School
Christie Carnahan
Dual Immersion 1st Grade
Valley View Elementary School, Pleasanton, California

To raise students’ level of engagement in the state’s standardized course materials, and help them achieve higher scores

SMART Solution
SMART Interactive Displays
Student devices

Technology-enriched instruction lead to improved test scores – especially in reading and writing - only a year after the SMART Interactive Display and software rollout. 

Motivation: Unexpected Test Results After a Transition

After Valley View Elementary transitioned to their Program Improvement Plan (PI) in 2011-12, test results from students in Carnahan’s class were not what she expected. The low scores came despite the school’s new standardized English Language Arts and Math program.

Carnahan crafted a technology-focused solution and pedagogy shift with the goal of creating more engaging lessons for learners. She designed instructional objectives aligned to technology-enhanced activities in order to engage students with standardized course materials.

Her students had little exposure to technology previously. Carnahan’s class had seen an increase in the number of English Language Learners. Approximately 60% of her students were underserved, and some came from low socio-economic backgrounds. As such, many of her students have consistently struggled with using technology entering her classroom based on their low exposure to technology at home.

Carnahan became a SMART Exemplary Educator in 2012, and after reviewing research related to improving student learning outcomes using SMART technologies, she chose to integrate a comprehensive SMART Solution into her classroom.

“I saw firsthand how my SMART solution allowed my students to not only experience the latest educational technology, but also discover the AMAZING gift of education within themselves.”

How SMART Solutions Improved Learning Outcomes

Enhanced Lesson Content
Carnahan leveraged Lumio to develop lesson content. She migrated her existing content into engaging Lumio lessons, where students could discover, process, and engage.

System Creation and Peer Learning
In order to ensure consistent adoption of Lumio, Carnahan had her students complete a sequence of log-in steps. She encouraged peer learning by asking four students to become Lumio experts. They in turn trained four other students, and those eight students trained eight more students, until the entire class was proficient.

Extended Learning Beyond the Classroom
Lesson activities were created to use at home after first being taught in the classroom. Students were asked to teach their families the lesson. Students and parents then collaboratively journaled about their home learning in Lumio, and shared at school.

Leveraged Integrated Features
Developed and modified curriculum content in SMART Notebook, then delivered using the interactive display and SMART Document Cameras.

Built whole class, small group and individual game-based lesson activities in SMART Whiteboard, where students could contribute at the SMART Board or through their devices.

Captured formative assessment data on what each student understood, in real-time, helping to provide differentiated instruction.

Outcome: Engaged Students and Higher Scores

The students’ overall scores on the California English Language Development Test showed a 70.8-point average improvement in their growth, with an average median improvement of 63 points. Their overall average percentage increase was 18.4% (average median = 17.6%).

  • READING: Average improvement was 143.8 points, with a median of 146.0. This represents an average percentage increase in reading of 58.3% (average median = 55.7%).
  • WRITING: Average improvement was 91.9 points, with a median of 97.0 points. This represents an average percentage increase in writing of 36.1% (average median = 32.4%).

Engaged Students with New Technology Skills
Carnahan believes her SMART Solutions helped her better connect with her students through a collaborative, interactive, and technology-rich classroom learning environment. Plus, she felt her SMART Solutions helped encourage her students to participate in school, become actively involved in the curriculum, and develop increased technology skills.