Do Smart Boards Make Us Smarter?

In this current world full of iPhones, laptops, and iPods, chalkboards seem almost forgotten. Ten years ago most people would never have imagined a Youtube video playing from a classroom blackboard, being able to drag text across the board to match up to a correct answer, or having the chalkboard talk and teach you math. A smart board is a type of 21st century blackboard that offers the ability to utilize a variety of teaching tools such as video, power point, photos, and access to the Internet. This newly popular device is very interactive and can create a welcoming environment for all learning styles.

The reasons for these smart boards are that, “Smart boards help bring dynamic instruction to life. They appeal to a variety of student modalities (i.e.: sight, sound, touch). We know that all students learn in different ways, and smart boards provide diverse strategies to be added to a teacher’s instructional repertoire,” explains Mrs.

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Laudicina, the Assistant Superintendent of the town’s schools. Furthermore, these smart boards were made possible “through a variety of funding sources including, school HSAs, Fundraiser, district budgets and individual donations from community members.” Though some towns were lucky enough to have their smart boards donated, the typical cost is usually around $4,500 per board. However, research shows that smart boards may very well be worth the money. One study at a high school in Canada shows that use of the smart board as compared to use of laptops in class actually improves grades and enhances learning while improving collaboration.

With all of these benefits, smart boards might seem like the perfect teaching tool. Surprisingly, not all teachers feel the same way. Ms. Menagatos, a math teacher who is currently using a smart board, believes that this piece of equipment is “very helpful when it works, but it is not always reliable.” Mrs.

Welfel, a Spanish teacher who also uses a smart board has a similar view “you cannot use smart boards for everything and it is not very dependable, but it is a great learning tool overall.” A student states, “Smart boards are helpful however there are certain disadvantages, like frequent malfunctions which delay the class.” As the 21st century moves forward and technology advances, smart boards will most likely become more prevalent in schools nationally and internationally. Soon the smart board might even be old news!