LCD Panel Takes San Jose Teachers to New Stage of Instruction

Training in use of the Chisholm LCD projection panel is bringing teachers in the Moreland School District in San Jose into a world of new technology.

"By using the LCD projection panels, teachers are succeeding in taking their instruction to a new level," confirms Marie Scigliano, district instructional technology and media specialist. "They are making more active a process that had been more passive. And a critical thing about it is that they don't have to change their delivery style very much to capitalize on the technology. The LCD provides new features extremely beneficial for instruction, and it is a nice transition into technology for a person as a presenter."

Scigliano, who has 25 years teaching experience and is studying for a Ph.D. in education, has been instructing how to use the DataBook 10/20 made by Chisholm to teachers selected from each of the school district's seven elementary and two middle schools. These teachers are now teaching the other teachers in their schools how to make presentations using DataBooks and PowerPoint or HyperStudio software.

Respectable Specs

Scigliano says the district selected Chisholm's DataBook after careful study because of these features and qualities:

  • Durability;
  • Projection quality in a partially lighted room;
  • Unique remote annotation capability; and
  • Video and sound capability.

"Our district training room has a bank of windows on one end," Scigliano says, "but one projection panel we tested required a room to be completely dark before the projected image was satisfactory. The DataBook had the brightest image, and the writing tablet and pen feature allows teachers to face their audience while they underline, circle or otherwise highlight elements of their presentations."

Mastering the DataBook is persuading teachers to take an interest in other aspects of technology, Scigliano said. It also lends itself well to working in teams. When teachers do not feel comfortable delivering the entire electronic presentation by themselves, they can have the computer or annotation portion performed by a fellow teacher, a teacher's aide or a student.

"The DataBook LCD projection panel is a good collaborative way to provide information," she says.

Training to Attract Teachers

The Moreland School District is implementing educational technology through a system in which district specialists work with technology lead teachers at each campus. During the training sessions with these technology leaders, Scigliano concentrates initially on general presentation skills rather than new equipment. Later the teachers discuss the specific Chisholm panel, what new capabilities it brought them, the incorporation of video into teaching and its engaging effect on students, the ability to highlight and how to select colors to attract attention. Teachers then break into pairs to practice skills. Ultimately each teacher prepares a 15-minute lesson using the computer and DataBook and delivers it to the group for critiquing.

Teachers now have the capability to stand and present information in an active, rather than static, manner and incorporate text, graphics and video.

"They can make the abstract more concrete," Scigliano says. "This technology is making a critical impact on education, because it helps teachers demonstrate and explain things beyond what they can do with only the spoken word."

When teachers are themselves familiar with the use of technology, they are far more likely to persuade students to learn its use, notes Scigliano. Similarly, it is important to include district administrators and principals in the training so both they and the lead teachers can, through example, encourage all teachers to master the new technology.

"Some of our principals have included among their annual goals the making of presentations to parents and the PTA with the DataBook," Scigliano says. "One principal has already done it. The comfort she already has with the projection panel shows how relatively easy it is to learn."

Students Adapt Quickly

Students, meanwhile, are having great fun using the DataBooks, which are available at individual schools as well as the district headquarters, to create lively, multimedia versions of their reports. But then, everyone expected the children to take to the panels like bees to nectar. Fortunately, with exposure and training, the adults are coming around too.

This article originally appeared in the 05/01/1996 issue of THE Journal.