Tuesday, August 05, 2008


Wes Fryer

recently wrote a post about Smartboards. It has gathered quite a few comments and I am deciding to create a post instead of leaving a comment behind.

Wes in his post starts off talking about how Smartboard is requiring a license key to use the latest version of Smartboard Notebook Software. I will admit that having access to the smartboard software for free. It is a cornerstone application that I have used in my classroom.

Wes also points out that some divisions are using IWB's to "showcase" their use of technology. This is a disturbing trend.

I work in a school of 1000+ students. We have to large Smartboards and have just recently purchased 2 mini versions. Cost is a factor on what we as a school will purchase. It was deemed prudent to purchase the two smaller boards. This is all good news to me. I had one of the larger smartboards in my room for the first 100 days of the school year. It is to be shared so I had to give it up for the rest of the year. This was very difficult. I had just gotten used to using it and had found many different uses for it in my classroom.

Video conferencing I collaborated with a school in Alabama and used Eluminate to do some creative problem solving.

The two classes were able to connect and work simultaneously and the Smartboard provided the link so that the entire class could participate.

Class Math Congresses The students used voicethreads to showcase their work. They then used features in voicethread (zooming in on details) to further elaborate on the math content that they had created. The smartboard allowed for an image to be larger than the standard chartboard sized paper we were using in class.

Finally I used the Smartboard to place my lessons up onto slideshare and Ustream. I was just getting comfortable with this when my 100 days were up and I had to give it to another teacher.

Technology needs to be in the hands of teachers who are willing to use it creatively and with purpose. For schools that do not have a huge budget (mine included) place the smartboard in a classroom where it will be used on a daily basis. Arrange a schedule so that other teachers can Everyone wins in this situation. The teacher that uses the board on a regular basis and the school that gets more teachers on board using technology through seeing technology in use.

Wes also mentions that often technology is being used as an extension of 19th C teaching in the 21st century.

"I know, but I am quite tired of seeing so many teachers continue to persist in 19th century styles of teaching using 21st century tools."

Wes also quotes the (The Anytime Anywhere Learning Foundation (AALF)

"Only when we put the technologies in the HANDS OF THE STUDENTS and intentionally seek to facilitate student creation, communication, and collaboration with those tools ON A REGULAR BASIS will we be appropriately utilizing taxpayer dollars for educational technologies in our schools."

I heartily agree with this statement. I hope that students will start to create more using technology. I hope to have mathtv up and running this year. It will take what my class blogs have been doing and make it more media fresh for today's student.

My morning time is up. Ben Hazzard of the Smartboard Podcast also responded to Wes's post. It is an excellent reflection on the technology as he sees it. I recommend reading his comment.

Technology needs to be in schools. Too many teachers are afraid of technology. We need to bridge the gap. Kids want technology, teachers need to use it. Baby steps people.


Lisa Parisi said...

Well said. I am in a school where almost all the teachers have their own SmartBoards. I teach SmartBoard classes to my colleagues. Unfortunately, many of the teachers use the board as a gloried whiteboard, adding little to the classroom. In my room, the board (and its software) is a tool for large demonstrations, a place for students to create and present projects, and a place for us the easily view web calls. The students actually set up schedules to take turns using the board during project times. We need to keep sharing best practices in order to let others see what this tool can actually do.

Mr. H said...

Thanks for the comment Lisa. Kids need to use the tools. Teachers need not to be afraid to let the students use the tools.

Stacey said...

I'm a new middle level math teacher. This will be my second year teaching. I do have a SMARTboard and I'd love to do a collaborative project similar to what you mentioned in your post. However, I really don't know where to start. I've been trying to find math teachers on twitter to work with. (I haven't spoken to anyone about creating an opportunity just trying to network thus far. I was just introduced to twitter and ustream last June.) I'd love to hear your ideas and advice. Thanks!

Mr. H said...

Stacey DM me in twitter. Or email me there are may opportunities to use your smartboard as a springboard for interesting collaboration and for different lessons.

Hope to hear from you soon.