Are smartboards as good as they look?

As part of an assignment for an online course I was instructed to find a blog with some element of educational technology that I find to be interesting and then to write a review. To conduct my search I used google, and then to narrow my search I used the tabs at the top, went to new and then selected blogs. Thanks to my professor Shawn for showing me this feature (who knew it existed), it definately narrowed the search. I thought from there picking a blog would be a piece of cake. Boy was I wrong. Despite the fact that hundreds of teachers blog, many of them solely talk about their teaching experiences (always good don’t get me wrong) but where were the blogs that connected to other literature or useful information I could use in my own teaching. After days of going from one blog site to the next I finally stumbled across one that caught my eye!

Check out the blog for yourself: http://fnoschese.wordpress.com/2010/08/06/the-2-interactive-whiteboard/

The blog, just as a quick recap in case you don’t have the time to read over the lengthy post, outlines that even though this teacher knows how to use a smartboard, and has even been told he’s the best at using it, he questions whether or not it raises student achievement. To support his thoughts he includes a Washington post article that talks about the idea.

I found this blog particularly interesting as I’ve always heard how great smartboards are. I’ve never had the opportunity to create my own lesson using one, but have seen them in action when I was in teacher’s college. I think back to when I saw a smartboard for the first time, I was in such awe with the touch screen as the professor outlined how they work that I didn’t even notice myself that the class was still doing what old ways of teaching are being criticied for, sitting still and listening to the teacher talk. This is exactly what this blog touched on. Who needs a $2000 interactive whiteboard, when you can create your own interactive whiteboards, using different materials that allows for more student participation and interaction among the students for a small price of $2 each.

The author of this blog makes a great point stating that “I use technology with my students, but only when the pedagogy demands the technology”. I agree, in that not every lesson is suitable to incorporate technology. I know there are many great things that come from using technology in the classroom- it helps make learning more fun, relavent and current. But is there cooperative learning and participation from all the students? And is differentiated learning possible? We as educators can not always assume that by adding in a tool of technology will necessarily make the learning more meaningful for our students. A figure of speech that I’ve heard many times throughout my life, in different situations just popped into my head: Anything is good in moderation. With that said, I will embrace experimenting with different technologies to use with my students (when I get my own classroom- hopefully sooner rather than later) but keeping in mind to have a balance or variety of different teaching methods and educational tools.

Thanks for reading, stay tuned for more postings soon 🙂