March 2010

SmartBoards – one step beyond the novelty factor

In my educational technology class we had a number of discussions on SmartBoards. A number of teachers mentioned how useful the SmartBoards were in their classes. I think the capabilities of SmartBoards are amazing. I had a brief chance to use a SmartBoard before I got my own tablet. However, even though I like my tablet, I have to admit that the software that comes with SmartBoard is amazing (if your computer has enough memory for it). This was an issue for me 2 years ago. In any case, I thought that this clip might be useful if you are considering this technology. I especially enjoyed modern applications of SmartBoards – like the following one, where the teacher uses 3D Virtual Environment with her SmartBoard. Looks very neat.

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Now as I watch all these neat videos, I keep thinking of what ARE THE BIG IDEAS behind this technology? The novelty will go away and the students will get used to it, but what are the real reasons we want to use SmartBoards? What can this technology do that other technologies can’t? I think this is the real questions we should try and figure out.

2 Responses to SmartBoards – one step beyond the novelty factor

  1. Leo Chan

    I have been hearing all the goods about Smartboard, but before I watch the videos you have posted, I know nothing about it. Thanks!

    Smartboard reminds me of the next generation of computer Microsoft has been showcasing. It is the touchscreen computer that can be as large as a coffee table, of which people simply use their finger(s) to operate on the surface of the “coffee table.”

    Smartboard has a lot of “wow” factor in it. How can we use it for teaching and learning is a different question. The SECTIONS developed by Bates & Poole identified 8 different criteria on selecting new technology for classroom uses. Students, Ease of Use, Cost, Teaching & Learning, Interactivity, Organization Issues, Novelty, and Speed.

    Sometimes I wonder if one of the criteria is more important than the other, and whether I would still use the new tool if it only satisfies some of the criteria.

  2. Marina Milner-Bolotin

    Thank you Leo.

    I think the real power of the SmartBoard compared to tablet is a) amazing software that comes with it (which theoretically can be installed on the tablet) and what is more important – the opportunity for the students to get engaged. I am not going to give my tablet to my students to write on it, yet they can come to the SmartBoard and use it. An alternative is of course – every student has a tablet 🙂 Actually there are touch screen tablets as well.
    I liked the criteria you mentioned.
    Regards, M.

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