I agree smartboards are only as good as the teachers who use them in the classroom. For my classroom, they provide a way to display assignments and activities without printing off copies for everyone or erasing and rewriting instructions for every class. It's a way to pull in contemporary situations to support the literature they're reading. It's a to provide students an interactive way to be involved in classroom instruction like diagram sentences. It saves time, so instructional time is actually being used for instruction. It enables us to study and discussing spelling and vocabulary by using online resources like spelling games such as Bookworm or Text Twist, and we learn it in a way that they will remember.
I work very hard to make our classroom smartboard work for us.
Smart boards are only as effective as the teacher using them. We have teachers that request and get a smart board and then use it only as a projector. Smart boards can be very beneficial though in the right hands.
I agree. Access to a smart board would be great, as in one per room grouping or some such thing. I see the science and math departments as the primary users based on subject matter, but it would be nice for everyone to have access. Back in the day, it was having an overhead projector, something which didn't take a lot of training. A smart board is not only costly but requires some specialized training and some practice. Just not worth it to me as an English teacher.
We have smart boards in almost every classroom in our high school, but I agree with the previous posts that they are not essential for effective teaching. Not only are they extremely expensive, but we've had a lot of problems with our boards, and are now in a situation where the school district cannot afford to replace aging laptops or desktop computers to hook up to the smart boards. Similarly, the bulbs for the projectors are so costly that we've been told if our bulb goes out in our classroom, there is a significant chance that we will not be able to replace the bulbs.
One other issue I face is time management--do I spend my time creating interactive flipcharts that will wow my students and perhaps review a small portion of what we're learning, or do I spend my time grading writing assignments and giving my students thorough and helpful feedback?
Pohnpei makes some very good points in the previous post, especially about the cost involved with purchasing multiple smart boards. The school where I taught last year ordered one for every single classroom. I don't know what the total costs were, but I do know that there were no teacher raises last year, and I believe several staff positions were cut at the end of the year. Smart boards are certainly beneficial for science classes, but I'm not sure that they would be as helpful in other classes. Older teachers who are more likely to resist new technology are less likely to use them to their full advantage. I think it's a great idea to have them in all classrooms (I also think there should be a computer available for each student in every classroom)--their uses and flexibility are incredibly helpful to both students and teachers--but the cost of doing so is not always the best way to spend education dollars these days. If resources were unrestricted, then my answer would be a resounding YES.
This is, of course, a matter of opinion. My brother, for example, has a smart board for his biology classes and thinks it is great. I never had one for my history classes and I do not think that it would really add much. I tend to think that we overemphasize the value of technology.
I do not really think that a smart board is worth the amount of money it costs. I do like to use graphics and such from computers when possible, but there are cheaper ways to accomplish that. I do not think that the interactive nature of smart boards is all that useful in a social studies context.
I think that the money used on smart boards would be better spent (at least in my subject area) on training teachers and on giving them better materials to work with. I think that is more valuable than the latest technological gadget.
Most certainly the availability of a smart board will go a long way in improving the effectiveness of teaching and learning in any classroom. Buy utility of the smart board should not be judged in isolation. It should be viewed in relation of the cost.
Availability of monetary and other resources are limited for any educational institution. Therefore it is essential to evaluate the utility of the smart board per dollar spent. For many schools there may be other facilities that classrooms in a school needs and which will provide greater value per dollar spent. In situations like these spending limited resources on smart board may not be justified.