Originally Posted by HipGal
My son's class just got a smartboard yesterday. Everyone is very excited about how "neat" and "cool" it is. I'm not really that excited about it. Even after one day my son had that "grumpy after too much time on the computer" thing going after a day of school staring at the smartboard. I'm hoping the teacher won't use it as much during the year (maybe she used it so much yesterday because it was the first day?). I try to limit screen time for my kids because I think they need real life experiences for proper brain development. I'm not excited about him watching videos or playing with a giant computer all day. (Yes, I know it isn't ALL day, but a large part of the day). Maybe in middle school or high school I could see how it would be a positive thing, but for elementary it just seems like more screen time (and less time with hands on materials and/or interacting with other children).
When I taught it was seen as poor teaching to show the kids videos. But somehow if it is on the computer it is great (versus watching it on TV). Would people be so excited if their classrooms got new big screen TVs that the teacher could show videos on? I don't send my son to school or pay tuition to have him watch videos, but maybe that is just me.
I would love to see some research that shows how much learning is improved by smartboards. So far I have only seen how much teachers "like" them, but I haven't seen studies showing that children are reaching a higher level of thinking / understanding with them. I know the funding is coming from another source, but I would really love to see funding going towards tutoring or other things that actually would help children learn to read, understand math, write well, etc.
I do think that watching a video on the smart board can be a very different experience from watching one on a TV. When I first started teaching TV/VCR's (no DVD's) were what we used. If I wanted to watch a video with my class, we had to call the audio visual guy to wheel the thing down the hall or set up the projector, and then we either had to watch the thing from the beginning or wait while I rewound it to the right point. It was enough of a production that you wouldn't do it unless you were watching a whole video. We might do a half hour magic school bus video that related to science or watch something like "Charlotte's web" after we read the book, but it was a rare thing, and frankly not very useful for the kids at all. For many teachers it was a cheap way to get babysitting when you were desperately trying to get the report cards done.
Today, with a smart board, the teachers I supervise use video really differently. If they're teaching a lesson, they might pull up a 30 second clip or a 60 second clip from a library of science and social studies videos to illustrate a topic well. For example, if they're studying animals they might watch a few seconds of how each animal moves, or if they're studying the lifecycle of a butterfly they might watch a short video of how the butterfly moves through all the stages in super speeded up motion. This is really targeted, and the videos they're watching are brief and align really well with a topic. Or kids might watch themselves (e.g. if they're in drama class and practicing a play) or something.
Other things they use the smart board for include game show type games where each kid has a "clicker" and the teacher can instantly see which kids are "getting it" and which kids aren't (the board just shows a graph of how many are right, his computer screen shows which kids are which). Or for using guided notes where he starts with notes that are mostly blank and fills in key concepts, or for putting up a document to edit with the class watching, or for an activity like I saw the other day where the French teacher was having kids sort pictures into the 2 different types of words for foods you eat (foods you eat "some" of and foods you eat "one" or "two" or another number of).
Can it be boring and "screen timish", yes in the hands of the wrong teacher, but that teacher probably ws boring before the smart board -- the kids were just staring at a chalk board or a piece of chart paper. But it has the potential to be as interactive as any other technology.