SMART boards not too smart

As we all have experienced growing up in classrooms where SMART boards were the newest and coolest technology to have, they’re pretty hip (or they used to be maybe 10 years ago).  However, in terms of being especially helpful in instruction, their benefits do not reach much farther than being a glorified projector of a computer screen.  Don’t get me wrong, students do get very excited about the opportunity to write on the board, but, in my experience, this becomes a hassle, as the screen seems to always need orienting and the words or numbers written become skewed.  In this situation, which I basically associate with every SMART board encounter I had as an telemetry school student, what should be a minute long activity of sharing an answer with the class turns into a five minute process of writing, erasing, and recalibrating the board.  In my opinion, it detracts much more from the instruction than it could ever have the potential to add.

With this said (and perhaps rather harshly), I would like to accredit the SMART board with peaking the interest of students.  One positive encounter I have had with this piece of technology was when I substituted as an aide in my local middle school at home.  In this reading special education classroom, the teacher allowed students who finished their assessment early to work on an activity of matching root words with their meanings through Quizlet.  The game was a race, where each student had about a minute to match as many words as they could.  In this way, the SMART board allowed students to practice content they had already learned, with the motivation of competition backing their engagement.

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