YORK -- Video games, the Internet and cable television have effectively ended the days of teachers standing behind a lectern and reading from handwritten notes.
"There was a time when having a 25-inch television in your classroom was a pretty big deal," said York Superintendent Russell Booker. "Those days are gone now."
That's why the York School District is planning to purchase 120 Promethean boards, electronic white boards that will allow teachers to actively engage students in hands-on, interactive learning. Several schools are also using some of their own budget money to buy extra boards. Teachers can show videos, connect to the Internet and get student responses to questions immediately using the board and hand held devices that allow students to respond to questions from their seats.
The boards are used in many of the surrounding districts including Clover, which now has boards in every classroom.
Last year, Hunter Street Elementary School got six Promethean boards to use for all grade levels and subjects ranging from math to music. Both teachers and students liked them, said Hunter Street Principal Kevin Hood.
"Everybody uses them in different ways, but the main thing was just keeping those kids engaged," Hood said.
LaPonda Burris, a teacher at Hunter Street who will help train others on the Promethean boards next year, said most teachers don't have trouble learning how to use them.
"It's adaptable to all areas of the curriculum," she said.
Diane Howell, principal of York Comprehensive High School, says they'll be installing 27 boards at her school next year.
She envisions the boards being used for everything from teaching about fungus to showing dissections for biology class. The key difference is that the boards allow student involvement, she said.
"We already have a lot of multimedia projectors, so I want it to be more than that," she said.
One of the benefits of the boards is that once a class plan is prepared for the board it can be shared among the district.
Teachers will have training on the boards this summer and then periodically throughout the year.
Eventually, Booker said he'd like to see every school in the district have a board.
"Students coming out of the universities are used to using these now for instruction," he said. "We are just wanting to makes sure that we are staying current with our technology."