Bill MacKenty

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Great podcast and a comment about making tech easy to use

Posted in Educational Tech Design Smartboards on 06 - April 2008 at 06:43 PM (16 years ago). 180 views.

I found a great podcast today and as I was listening, I heard a teacher talking about how a smartboards might not fit into his curriculum.  This raised 2 very interesting issues for me. The interesting value of smartboards, and how technology isn’t always the best choice.

I wrote a reply as a comment, but wanted to elaborate on it here.

I have an observation about smartboards. We have tons of smartboards in our school (23 of them, with another 14 coming soon). I understand it might not work for your particular discipline, but the interesting thing is what happens when you get technology close to your teachers

We found that having a projector / screen in the room, ready to go, makes using technology so easy, that even our low-tech teachers are using the smartboards.  It’s a real lesson in “if you make technology easy to use, and immediately accessible, teachers will use it!”. We are using the 600i series, so a teacher can use it to write notes, then easily save the notes, and upload them to a course management system. But basically, all a teacher needs to do is turn it on, and start writing. Very positive. Because our smartboards have speakers, teachers can plug in their ipods, dvd players, or vcr’s to show videos.

I also really respect your comment about how technology doesn’t fit into your teaching.  I know plenty of teachers who have thoughtfully considered using technology and decided it didn’t fit into their curriculum. This wasn’t a fear-based response, it was a result of carefully considering the technology, looking at the whole picture (support, pedagogy, student technology use, and budgetary issues) and then deciding it wasn’t for them.  We have a math teacher at our school who likes to use the entire board to write a formula, or work a problem through. She likes her students to see the entire problem, from start to finish across the board-space.  This particular boardwork wouldn’t fit on a smartboard, which uses a page-by-page style to display lots of information.

I suggest anyone who hasn’t heard of these folks subscribe to the blog linked above, and their podcast.