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I believe smart boards, etc are a throw back intermediate step towards the real future in technology. Smart boards are for teachers who are trying to transition from writing on a chalk or white board to writing on a digital tablet or eventually touch screen computer. The negatives of white boards are: 1. Not cost effective. Schools could put digital projectors in 10-20 rooms for the cost of one fully loaded smart board system. 2. Turning your back on the students should not be under emphasized. Overhead projectors help alleviate some of this problem, but burned; stained hands and blinding light are not missed any more than chalk dust or whiteboard marker odor. I face my students 100% of the time and only look down at my screen to write and thought I had a good eye on the class. One day I was video recording the class for a discipline problem and I was amazed at what was actually happening in the class as I glanced down at my screen or book. 3. Students view from the back of the room is inhibited by the necessary low installation of the board so a teacher or student can reach the top of it. With just a projector, screen and digital tablet, the screen can reach the top, near the ceiling. I find myself never writing below say the 5 ft from the floor or students in the back start standing up to see. 4. Smart board screens are relatively small compared to how large a projected image can be. On a smartboard, to make a line all the way across the screen, the teacher has to physically make the 5 or 6 foot move, where as with a digital tablet, it's as easy as the flick of your wrist. 5. The interactivity of a smart board is over rated. At first it's fun for 30 students to watch ONE student write on the board, but doesn't take long for that to get old and 29 students get bored real quick. You can actually do the same with a digital tablet anyway. I had a "student station" set up where a second tablet was attached to my computer so students could write on the projected image. What I did this year (with borrowed laptops, 5 personal digital tablets and free trial lab monitoring software), I believe is the future of education. With 30 laptops, lab monitoring software, I was able to let all 30 students work at the same time. By viewing all 30 live thumbnails of their captured desktops, I could then display individual desktops to the entire class via the projection screen or even broadcast the each individual computer (maybe even eliminating the need for even a projector), thus no blind spots, no zooming required! I believe this is the answer to NCLB, with my set up; I could actually monitor remotely from my teacher's station how each student was progressing. I could discreetly intervene or the student could IM me a question which is great for students getting help without embarrassing themselves in front of the class. This lab monitoring software even allowed me to simultaneously send worksheets, quizzes, etc to each student's computer. This software also had a quiz/testing system that gave me live returns (no more asking how many are still working!) and item analysis of individual problems. If we took all the money being spent on smart board or similar systems and spent it for in class (one-to-one computing) computers, digital tablets and lab monitoring software, we would truly be taking a step towards the future. They even make full sized students desk with touch screens that can be split screen for student work vs. incoming broadcast from teacher or other students (this can be disabled). It worries me to see so much money and hype put in to smart board type systems (the one in our school cost over $10,000), when I consider them just a passing fad and resources could be better utilized on more basic infrastructure with more forward thinking considered. Thanks, Paul Perry MS EDTECH CJHS Math Teacher e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org e-mail email@example.com > From: Miles Fidelman <firstname.lastname@example.org> > >>> "SMARTBOARDS in every instructional classroom" in district???!!!!! > > This recent discussion has me wondering, what's the big deal about > SMART boards? > > I'm a parent and a technologist (engineer, manager, entrepreneur) > who's sat > on > technology planning committees for our district. We're in Massachusetts, in > a > district that's making a big deal about procuring SMART boards, but... > > In an awful lot of business settings, I've yet to see interactive > white > boards > used for anything more than recording conversations during a meeting, and > even > then, the trend is toward snapping pictures with a cell phone, and uploading > the picture to a laptop. For advancing powerpoint presentations, it's a lot > easier to click a keyboard, or maybe the button on a wireless mouse. > Occasionally, I've seen people use these things for fancy purposes - such as > data mining, or zooming around maps (a la "Minority Report," or some of > Hewlett > Packard's recent ads for touch sensitive displays). But even in such > applications, it turns out that it's a lot easier for someone to control the > display from a keyboard, not by pointing at the screen. When people > cooperate > on writing documents, people generally take turns sitting in front of a > keyboard, with the resulting text projected on a screen. > > As a result, most of the interactive white boards I've seen, seem to > be > sitting > unused. > > In classrooms, and in the educational literature, I've yet to see any > examples > where people are using SMART boards for anything that seriously advances > teaching (say, interacting with a simulation model in real time). For that > matter, outside of science labs (data gathering from instruments), I've yet > to > see classroom computers used for much more than putting powerpoint slides on > wall, accessing web pages, and maybe playing with functions in math. > > So I have to wonder, what's the big deal? Laptops, projectors, > network connections, yes. But aren't there better things to spend > money on than SMART boards? > > Miles Fidelman > Newton, MA > > > -- > In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. > In practice, there is. .... Yogi Berra --- Edtech Archives, posting guidelines and other information are at: http://www.h-net.msu.edu/~edweb Please include your name, email address, and school or professional affiliation in each posting. To unsubscribe send the following command to: LISTSERV@H-NET.MSU.EDU SIGNOFF EDTECH