Ohio Teacher Brings Teaching, Learning to Life With the Addition of a Visual Presenter

The blackboards, desks and other items familiar to generations of students are still there; however, an array of sophisticated presentation instruments has joined the equipment that defines many of today's classrooms. Technology that was originally developed for space exploration and corporate communications is now bringing lessons to life for students from elementary to graduate levels.

Today's teachers realize how much the new high-tech presentation equipment can help in their classrooms, as well as how much the equipment can cost. While affluent educational facilities design and build classrooms and entire buildings around state-of-the-art technologies, budgets at many schools have already been stretched to their limits and simply do not permit such purchases, regardless of the benefits they offer teachers and students.

Choosing the Right Presenter

This was the situation at Greeneview High School in Jamestown, Ohio, which has about 400 students in grades 9-12. However, Cindy Mercer, a 10th-grade history teacher at Greeneview, had seen the difference a visual presenter could make and was determined to get one for her classroom - even if she had to pay for it herself. After researching products from various manufacturers on the Internet, she contacted ELMO USA, a company that manufactures a full line of digital and analog presenters. ELMO worked with Mercer to determine exactly what she needed, and together they decided on a visual presenter that would meet both her classroom and fiscal requirements.

The ELMO EV-4400AF visual presenter, which is connected to a computer and projector in Mercer's classroom, allows her to present abstract ideas in a concrete manner. It also lets her reach visual learners more easily by showing color and black-and-white visuals on screens or monitors in the classroom. The high-resolution images are presented with great detail and can be easily seen by everyone in the classroom. Teachers can easily operate the presenter from anywhere in the classroom with its remote control and mouse. Teachers can also enlarge images and zoom in for close-up views of specific areas. In addition, the presenter automatically brings each image into sharp, clear focus.

Mercer says: "The presenter enhances teaching and, in turn, improves student learning. It helps all students, including visual learners, to see concepts more clearly, literally and figuratively. Many more resources are now available to me; [for example], maps, charts, images, etc., that I couldn't use effectively before can now be shown to an entire class."

Mercer first used the ELMO presenter to project U.S. maps illustrating the country's expansion to her class. "The students lit up with understanding when they actually saw it in front of them as I explained the various treaties and purchases," she says. "What had been a rather vague idea was now reality - something they could see right before their eyes."

Classroom Uses

Among its many uses, the ELMO presenter enables Mercer to read books to her entire class when she d'esn't have enough copies for each student. She has also used it to share photographs taken during the Civil War to show how the same locations look today by using the presenter to zoom in on the pictures for the entire class to see. Teachers can also use the presenter to enhance their presentations with slides and transparencies. In addition, one of Mercer's students realized that the presenter could be used as a teleprompter and was allowed to use it for this purpose when he gave a speech to the class.

Non-English speaking students have also benefited from the ELMO presenter. "Rather than trying to learn how various words are spelled by listening to me and writing them down, these students can actually see the words spelled out on the screen," says Mercer.

Several students have also used the presenter to display images related to their speech topics. This eliminates the need to have pictures and other materials passed around the room, which distracts students while the speech is being presented. According to Mercer, "The presenter is very useful in clarifying verbal lessons with visual images and enhancing the written word."

Currently, only students selected by Mercer are allowed to use the ELMO presenter at Greeneview High School. "It's the only one we have, so we want to be careful," she says. In the future, however, more students will be allowed to use it to make presentations to the class. According to Mercer, "These students will benefit from using the presenter either for their own speeches or to learn more from other students' presentations."

Contact Information

ELMO USA

(800) 947-ELMO

www.elmo-corp.com/presentation

This article originally appeared in the 06/01/2004 issue of THE Journal.

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