Mimio – Granby Elementary (OH)

Mimio – My Story from Granby Elementary School (Columbus, OH)

I believe the MimioTeach interactive teaching system has made me a better teacher. But it also has made my students better ‘teachers.’ Just five minutes after showing them the tool for the first time, they grabbed the pad and stylus and were off and running in the role of instructor. I see my position now has more of a facilitator while my students have taken on the role of collaborating, coaching and instructing each other.

Darren “Mike” McGuire
5th Grade Teacher, Granby Elementary School


School Profile

Granby Elementary School is located in the Worthington City School District in Columbus, OH. There are nearly 450 students in kindergarten through grade six. Approximately 34 percent of the students are eligible to receive free and reduced lunch prices.

Technology Improves Instruction (and the Instructor)

Mike McGuire, a fifth grade teacher at the school, had no idea how he and his classroom were about to be transformed when he was given his MimioTeach Interactive Classroom Solution three years ago. Before that, he had four older computer models in the classroom and admittedly was not very tech savvy. But that was then.

Today, McGuire’s classroom is a technology port that includes his laptop computer and two MimioTeach bars with the MimioStudio software; one bar is installed on a large whiteboard at the front of the classroom and a second is connected to a whiteboard that rotates on a table situated on a desk in the back of the room. He also has a MimioView document camera, the MimioPad wireless tablet, the MimioVote assessment system and the MimioCapture ink recorder. His students sit together in groups of six at whiteboards turned into desktops. Each group also shares a 32” computer monitor so that they can work more effectively.

“I didn’t know what I was missing, but now I can’t imagine what teaching would be like minus Mimio,” McGuire said.

McGuire has between 25 and 30 different students come through his classroom every hour. He makes sure the MimioTeach at the front of the classroom is on and ready to go when the students walk in the classroom.

Typically, McGuire has three questions on the board for the students to answer, as everyone gets settled and ready to learn. He believes that getting the students involved is vital.  McGuire also posts their learning targets or questions that will be covered for the day. The learning targets get students thinking about what they will learn that day, and so do the questions.

“My students are fascinated by technology, but I have had to make sure that the lessons I create for them are genuinely interesting so that they want to become engaged with them – whether I’m sharing language arts, math or science content. I have found it’s essential to include as many activities as I can where the students are coming up to the board or operating it with the MimioPad and conducting the lessons themselves. This is where technology has become such an integral part of teaching and learning for all of us.”

Teacher-Led, Student-Centered Learning

The new style of teaching that McGuire has incorporated into his active classroom has made all the difference in teaching, learning and achievement gains. McGuire reports that the Mimio solutions have played an important role in driving student inquiry, discovery and learning.

“Using the MimioTeach forces me to always ask myself, what’s the best way to teach this? How can I get the students involved? I’m constantly thinking through these effective teaching aspects ahead of time,” he said.

During instruction time, McGuire uses MimioTeach to demonstrate concepts in visual and graphic ways. He even explains math operations by using pictures, conceptuals and models found in MimioStudio’s gallery and the Activity Wizard. For example, when teaching line plotting, McGuire added in football helmets as the “dot” for visual interest and relevance.

“The students created a pictogram using the helmets which was far and away more interesting than dots on a line – and it made learning math more fun,” said McGuire. When you start to incorporate colorful graphics into something ordinary like establishing the mean, median mode and range – the students retain the information better. The interactive whiteboard fits so well with this curriculum and it opens the students’ minds to recognizing different ways to solve the same problems.”

Other times, McGuire’s students tackle problems individually or in small groups – all methods leading to cooperative and collaborative learning. After the students have worked through a problem or series of questions, the MimioTeach becomes the focal point for whole-class discussion, review or re-teaching, providing the perfect venue for individuals or the small groups to present strategies and solutions to help their struggling classmates.

“I’ve found that my students are learning how to be better problem solvers and risk takers. When I’m teaching language arts activities, I can show one student’s work to the entire classroom via the MimioView, and students begin to suggest ways that student could improve. They aren’t afraid to toss out ideas that they might not have previously shared.”

McGuire even had one student create and teach a grammar lesson on “Me versus I.” The other students demonstrated their understanding of the concepts by using the MimioVote to respond to questions. At other times during the lesson, students came to the board to place the correct answer in the sentences highlighted on the interactive whiteboard.

“It takes courage to get up in front of your classmates and teach them, but it also demonstrates how easy this solution is to use,” said McGuire.

Collaborative Learning Adds Up to Improved Scores in Math

It’s that ease-of-use that has McGuire hooked on the powerful technology and its stand-out features. But it’s the students’ comprehension of the subject matter presented that has him most excited.

McGuire notes that the students used to just memorize materials and promptly forget the information after a test. But with his new building-block approach of teaching, sharing, collaborating and encouraging children to stretch themselves, students apply previous learning in order to solve the next set of problems presented. The new teaching style is making an impact on student achievement.

“Our Ohio Achievement Test (OAT) scores rose steadily year-over-year, from 63 percent proficient to 79 percent, in four years. In 2011, the state average was 66 percent,” said McGuire. “The difference in my mind was the effective and consistent use of the Mimio interactive teaching technologies.”

McGuire concluded, “Mimio has made my classroom come alive, my students are excelling at an incredible rate and I, too, am more engaged and improving. Life without these incredible interactive tools now seems almost impossible.”