Smartboards don’t make us smart!

In recent years, technology has been lauded as the solution to all of education’s problems.

Give all students a laptop! Smartboards in every classroom! How about iPads? Sure, buy them in bulk as well!

Why do we think that these fancy gadgets are the answer to our prayers?

Granted, I love my gadgets! I have a SmartBoard in my room and a class set of laptops. However, I know that I do not use my SmartBoard to its full potential. Part of that problem is that I am not in my classroom for 4 hours a day. Instead, I am teaching in the science lab where there is no SmartBoard. In the science lab, I have individual white boards–a no-tech-gadget-that the students love using! When we use the whiteboards, every student is engaged and working. Whereas on the SmartBoard, you get one student up in front of the room working on the SmartBoard. You’ve just replaced the teacher with a mini-teacher, a student. What’s so smart about that? I would rather have all students working at whiteboards than one student at a SmartBoard.

I do love the class set of laptops in my classroom. My students are able to take a foreign language using the Rosetta Stone online program. Without laptop and internet access, a foreign language component would be missing from their curriculum. We are able to complete science simulations, write papers (and revise and edit!), create websites, complete research, and much more using the laptops. They are an invaluable tool in my classroom and a tool that I have used to its fullest potential and integrated within my curriculum.

Again, I love technology and trying out all the latest gadgets. I completed a Master’s of Education program in Instructional Technology. I hold a Technology Specialist endorsement on my certificate. However, I know that just putting the latest gadget in the classroom will not improve teacher instruction, will not motivate students, and will not help students learn. Teachers must still determine how to provide the best instructional practices for the students and seamlessly integrate the technology throughout the instruction and learning process. Only then will students really learn.


What are your thoughts regarding technology in the classroom? Let me know in the comments.



5 thoughts on “Smartboards don’t make us smart!

  1. I had a smart board in my first classroom and loved it because it made me a better teacher, but I agree that tech can be a little deceiving. It can’t be the only end-all be-all in instruction. Like you said, student engagement is really valuable, so they can take responsibility for their own learning. With the smart board, I would split class time 1/3 lecture or teacher directed, 1/3 student centered and project based, and 1/3 practice. With the smart board we went on virtual tours, webbed out to the internet to go with teachable moments, and took time for student centered discussion using “critical thinking questions”, those higher level questions that they had to jot down an answer and then we would open it up and share. I was also the only one with it during the 9/11 attacks, and I had most of the high school in my room, pulling up news reports, maps, and video.

    As far as using twitter, facebook, and blogging in the classroom, that can be a big can or worms or a big can of potential. I think it’s important to keep up with it so we know what’s going on and use what’s good about it. Do you use any of those? If you do, how?

    Again, teachers can use technology for good, or they may risk just replacing themselves. But to use it to make you a better teacher is a good thing.

  2. Thanks for your response, Chrissy.I agree with many of your points. We can certainly harness the valuable technology resources and use these gadgets to increase student learning.
    I have not used twitter or facebook in my classroom just yet. I have used blogs in my classroom. I previously used them during a science unit in which the textbook offered little information on the content area. I set up blog posts with information, links to videos, and questions for discussion. Students had to view the blog post and any videos, images, etc. and then respond to the discussion questions or the other students’ comments in the replies. It worked fairly well and the students enjoyed the process.

    • I’ve heard of this concept before. I too see both the positives and negatives. I can’t quite see this concept working with my population of students, but it is an idea worth exploring.

  3. We purchased several Smartboards for our department. Unfortunately, only a few are actually being used. The learning curve and the planning time needed to use the technology effectively is keeping teachers from using the boards. It isn’t that they don’t want to use the boards. They were excited to get them, but they aren’t finding ways to actually engage students by using the boards.

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