Biology Comes Alive at Wilson Magnet High School

With a commitment to progressive technology and a State Designation as a Science Magnet, Wilson Magnet High School in Rochester, New York is indeed a "magnet" to science-buffs. The school gives priority attendance to students from within its inner-city community, while also encouraging science-oriented students from other regions to apply. George Wolfe is a teacher of Advanced Placement Biology at Wilson Magnet. A recipient of the New York State Outstanding Biology Teacher Award with his own Homework Hotline public television show, George was eager to apply his creative teaching techniques to the SMART Board in the Spring of 1996.

Built-in Flexibility for True Multimedia Presentations

Prior to the arrival of the SMART Board, Wolfe used a LaserDisc player and a Macintosh to display images through a ceiling-mounted monitor. This setup offered little flexibility to either include or interact with other types of media. As such, Wolfe hoped the SMART Board would enable him to incorporate multimedia CD-ROMs into his regular lectures. He explains, "I envisioned that this product would allow me to have a picture of an am'eba on the Board and, with a touch of the nucleus, it would bring me to a video or a microscopic view of the material within the nucleus."

Wolfe has found the SMART Board to be the perfect tool to help him utilize his favorite multimedia software. Using it in conjunction with conferencing software for Macintosh, he can capture an image from a CD-ROM, save it to the clipboard, then import the image into his notebook. This allows him to prepare slide presentations using all the captured images, then distribute copies to his students even before the class gets underway. If he wishes to change the course of his presentation, he still has the flexibility of adding or modifying information on existing images. With the SMART Board, even showing a movie clip to elaborate on a specific image is done with a simple touch.

Whiteboard Tools Help Focus Attention

With the help of the SMART Board's whiteboard tools, Wolfe has been able to highlight important points in his lectures. During a class on the human urinary system, he wanted to draw particular attention to the functioning of the bladder. Using the one-touch features of the Board, he selected and changed the color of the bladder to yellow. He recalls, "It was a very neat and powerful lesson for my students." As well as helping his students get more involved in the presented material, Wolfe claims that the SMART Board has made his students "more aware of new technology, and they are absolutely amazed by it!"

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This article originally appeared in the 11/01/1999 issue of THE Journal.