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Are smart boards the norm in schools now? - Page 5

post #81 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oriole View Post
I just wanted to say that if you get awarded a technology grant, you don't have the liberty of spending the money on books. Whoever gives away the money declares how it's to be spent.
Exactly.

Though lots of school systems (including my own) are getting around "technology bond/grant" issue by purchasing curriculum that is in part software based. At least for the technology levy purposes of our state, paper only textbooks don't count, but if there is an online and software component it DOES. Some textbook companies are aware of this (as are some administrators). It's the only way our district could afford our (VERY NEEDED!!!) new math curriculum.

I think a lot of people don't understand how school funding works. The schools are almost never given a set amount of $$ to dispense with as they please, not even from taxes. In most states the money is pre-directed for a particular puposes. Capital bonds can ONLY be used for capital projects (buildings, ect.) Levies are normally very very specific as to what they may be used for. It is illegal to transfer funds between the various pots in most areas. And of course, if you apply for a grant in most instances you must use it for the purpose you applied for.

So, if those schools hadn't used the technology money for the smart boards it could NOT have been used for textbooks (unless there's some loopholes in there like there is in our state, or with the organization issuing the grant). It couldn't have been used to fix a crumbling school building. If you live in a district with a flush capital improvements moneypot and you've done everything you can possibly do--even if you have a million dollars left over you cannot buy computers or books or pay for more paraeducators or teachers, that is for physical plant things only.

So it's not a matter of a snobby PTA picking the wiz bang tech over real improvments (probably. I'm sure that's possible somewhere). I live in a very wealthy neighborhood, and really not even my neighborhood school's PTA coudl have afforded to equip all the classrooms with smartboards.
post #82 of 100
I also live in a tiny rural, low income border town (population 5,000) and we have smart boards. I think they are great! They are an awesome resource and from what I have seen, haven't taken away from hands-on learning at all.
post #83 of 100
Geez, I'm so out of the loop. I'm not that old, I was in school not ALL that long ago, and yet this sounds like sci-fi to me! Never even heard of 'em.

Off to google.

EDIT: I found a great video, if you're befuddled like I am: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjdNPMZJbLs
post #84 of 100
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.
post #85 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
As the mom of a three-year-old who got here through "today's posts" I am horrified. I'm thinking living overseas (like in France, where they still have to write their term papers by hand) might be cheaper than private school.

How awful- you don't have to take your own notes? What's the point?
Having spent my teenage years in a country where all school work and exams had to be written by hand, I can assure you that it is overrated.
post #86 of 100
They aren't the norm by any means but my DS has them in all his classes. He's at a specialty school and they got a hefty grant that specifically paid for smart boards and new computers in every class. The grant came from outside sources and can ONLY be used for this technology. I'm sure the school would LOVE to spend the money elsewhere but they aren't going to turn down free money even if it is for something they don't need as much as new fencing.

We have a pool of parents who do nothing but apply for grants. You'd be amazed at what they've come up with.
post #87 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by HipGal View Post
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.
Is the teacher using the smartboard to show videos? Perhaps she isn't up to speed on her smartboard training.. I don't have a smartboard, so I haven't done any of the trainings, but my understanding is that smartboards actually get kids out of their seats more when properly used. For example, they have touch screens so the computer can ask, say math questions, and then the teacher will call students up to the board individually or in small groups to figure out the math problems, select the answers, etc. The programs can actually make math like a game.. there are premade programs you can get for it.. there was one for the Odyssey I checked out once- it had questions for each section of the book, and students would go up to it, and select answers and it had a baseball diamond thing.. it shouldn't be used to make students sit in their seats more- but less is what I saw from just observing/talking to those that are fairly well experienced with them.
post #88 of 100
I don't know what she is doing with the smartboards besides having them check-in in the morning (moving their names from one side of the board to the other). I just mentioned videos because that is something people said it can be used for. I think playing computer games on it isn't that much better. But that is my opinion! If I want my son to learn via computer games, I could do that at home and save myself thousands per year in tuition costs.
post #89 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drummer's Wife View Post
Do people who seem to be a bit anti-technology realize that in all colleges, and many highschools today students use laptops? If I went to the lecture hall at my school without my netbook, I am almost positive out of 200+ people in the room, I would be the only one taking notes on paper. seriously.
I had to comment on this too. My DH is in school now...in fact, quite seriously in class as I type this. And his laptop is over on the end table next to me. NO one brings their laptops into classes...in fact one of his teachers even made it a rule. You can find students in the library or coffee house etc with their laptops doing homework or surfing facebook. But in class no way. And, it's a commuter school, for most students, if they aren't going to be specifically working on a homework project for a particular time, most students don't even bring them on campus, too much risk of theft in the parking lot.
post #90 of 100
I'm laughing a little as I read these comments because as much as we all work to put the new technology into perspective with our kids education--to many kids, mine at least, it's really just another tool that gets used. It isn't a huge deal because to them, all of this technology is starting to feel, and be, connected. Lesson using the smartboard, textbook work, homework accessed via a school website....it's their world, and I don't think they really think it's out of the norm at all. They still write by hand, take notes (I saw a page of handwritten notes from my oldest's technology class today!), play instruments, do handwork.....but they are "digital natives", and our generation isn't. I'm not sure it's a good/bad issue as much as it is a new way of doing things that is interactive and efficient.
post #91 of 100
I saw a lot of them when touring the public schools in our district. We are in a Montessori charter schools and there is no reason for them since Montessori classrooms are different from ordinary public school. They use more hands on tools. I would FREAK if I saw smartboards in their school!

ETA: And I am a tech freak! I couldn't live without my droid!
post #92 of 100
Funny to see this thread back!

The public school my kids went to last year had smart boards in every room and the teacher's used them in exciting and creative ways to engage students (I wrote about it last year). They also had an amazing computer lab where my kids did very cool projects.

This year my kids are attending a private alternative school with no smart boards and barely any computers. They are really enjoying the dark room, kiln, sign language class, etc. There are some computers in the library for word processing and research, but that's about it.

You really can get a good education either way, but I think that the more students per teacher, the easier it is for the teacher to engage all the kids using something like a smart board. They are very cool tools.
post #93 of 100
DD's kinder room had one last year (all classes have one) and I know it was easier for the teacher to be facing the students at all times instead of writingon a chalkboard with her back to them. Some of the boys in that class....yeah, much better to be facing them! LOL!

Jenn
post #94 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by HipGal View Post
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.
post #95 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by mistymama View Post
Where did you go to college 3 years ago that the majority of people didn't have laptops. I'm not trying to be snarky at all, just honestly curious if it's regional or something.

I'm ancient so when I went to college I took notes. My younger sisters, however all went to college 1999-2009 (some of them got advanced degrees) and even back in '99 they each needed laptops for school. This was 4 year, public universities on the west coast.

About 2 years ago I took several courses at a public, 4 year university here in the deep south. A laptop wasn't "required" - but every single person had one.

With the cost being so cheap (esp for a word processing laptop that can get online) I can't imagine why anyone would choose to write notes. I type a gazillion times faster than I write, plus my hand gets tired. Technology is a good thing, IMO. Very good.
There is a difference between having a laptop in college, and bringing it to every class. When I worked at a college just a few years ago, we had plenty of computers, but they tended to stay in the offices and such. I used mine to make up hand out for the students all the time. They just didn't actually come into the classroom. The students brought note books and pens to take note or do drawing.
post #96 of 100
My big question is, if you have very expensive smartboards in kindergarten, what happens when one of the impulsive and curious 5 yo decides to try writing on it with the safety scissors?
post #97 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by eepster View Post
My big question is, if you have very expensive smartboards in kindergarten, what happens when one of the impulsive and curious 5 yo decides to try writing on it with the safety scissors?
I was kind of waiting for this myself because one of mine is very curious, and an explorer. But, it never happened, and I found that the class was generally extremely respectful of the teacher's instructions.
post #98 of 100
Generally the students love using it, so if they abuse it they don't get to use it. Also the board themselves are pretty durable. I don't think the scissors would really damage it - it's not like a regular touch screen or flat screen.
post #99 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
As the mom of a three-year-old who got here through "today's posts" I am horrified. I'm thinking living overseas (like in France, where they still have to write their term papers by hand) might be cheaper than private school.

How awful- you don't have to take your own notes? What's the point?
Just because a classroom has a smartbd doesn't mean you don't have to take your own notes. Please don't jump to conclusions. I have a smartbd in my classroom, as well as a regular whiteboard. Students take notes, and I use the smartbd to show documents (it's great for marking up docs that are in Word to demonstrate editing), showing interactive things from the web, showing websites (like, we're reading Julius Caesar.. quick, pull up a picture of the Colossus of Rhodes to explain that allusion..), etc. It's actually a great, and enriching tool.

ETA: Oh wow. Note to self. Read the date of the post you're responding to.
post #100 of 100
when my daughter attended a parochial preschool and i can not tell you how much the school and teachers talked up these smart boards. to me they are glorified dittos or photocopied assignments, the teacher just does not have to make 20 copies because it is displayed on the smart board. the teacher told me how the children would be able to see the life cycle of a butterfly. and i told her how we purchased a butterfly kit and it was amazing to see the cycle up close. Then she told me how they do patterns of the screen and I said that I thought it would be more beneficial for each child to do a pattern with pennies and nickles. Last year, we went to public kindergarten and the teacher was saying how she was going to have a smart board in the class that she would share with another class. She ended up using it far less than she original thought.
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