Are smart boards the norm in schools now? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums
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#61 of 100 Old 09-08-2009, 07:00 PM
 
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I sort of doubt kids are taking notes in KG. But I'm still shocked at the prevalence of these "smart boards" which I had never heard of.

Let me tell you, in our school, I have never seen one. I suspect the overwhelming response here is either because people with smart boards are the ones reading the thread or because the MDC community is well above average in terms of income levels and therefore the kids here mostly attend schools in well-off school systems.
Yeah, I don't think there is note taking in Kinder.

As far as the income assumptions here, um, no. Have you not seen the frugality board and all the low income threads at MDC? Sometimes its just about how well a school manages funds. Our community where I live is mainly average to low income families and quite a lot of poverty level families. Yet our elementary school has smart boards in every classroom and brand new Mac computers in the 2 comp labs and a good portion of the classrooms have them too. Our school also does not charge for registration, transportation or field trips. I'm actually very proud of what our school has managed to do with the funds it does get.

My son has special needs and relies on this technology quite a bit. His fine motor skills often make it hard for him to do his work by hand, or to have readable handwriting. Its not because he doesn't try or doesn't have enough practice, he just can't do it. I've watched the kids in the special ed room do assignments using the smart board and also one of the 3 Macs in the classroom. I'm very thankful that my child has the opportunity to get a good education in a way that works for them. If he had to do everything the "old fashioned way" I don't think he'd do as well as he does.

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#62 of 100 Old 09-09-2009, 07:40 PM
 
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Yes I am one of those MDC members who has an above average income and live in a good neighborhood and my children attend a Title 1 school. I also hang out on the frugal boards here.
We have the smart boards. A teacher did a demo last night at the PTA meeting. I thought it was awesome.
They have one in one of the 2nd grade classrooms (the teacher had the most training) and one in the library. The cost is about 5K each so eventually they will have them in all classrooms. Most likely by the time my dd2 starts kindy in two years.

After the demo, I LOL and told our principal how when I was in 6th grade 25 plus years ago we read about the "school children of the future" and one of the things was a huge computer screen as a black board. Well here it is! Now I feel really old.

When I was in college many many moons ago during the first Bush Adminstration, computer labs were a new thing on campuses and I was a minority because I had my own PC and printer in my room. Several of my friends would hang out and them write their papers at my Apt. Some would bring pizza, watch Melrose Place and then later write their history papers. LOL. Email was a novelty and something new. So was having a modem on your PC. Just 5 short years later, my sister said most of the students had their own pc in their roomm and modem. Laptops were still in their infancy.

I could not imagine not having one now. Heck, at the preschool board meeting the Secretary takes the minutes on her laptop as we conduct the meeting because then she dosent have to go type it later. At the end of the meeting, she emails it out to the rest of us.

As far as smartboards, again its just a tool just like the pencil. If it reaches students that might not have been reached than more power to them. I dont think it will make everyone learn easier, but my dds who are younger than 8 are already getting savy on the net and pc. In a few more years, we will need 3-4 pcs instead of just one now.

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#63 of 100 Old 09-09-2009, 11:22 PM
 
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Also, the arguement that kids need to be up on technology is flawed because the technology is going to change drastically by the time they are in high school/college/work force. Who remembers playing pong? And even an 18 year old that I know was talking about how much the tech. has changed from when she was in 4th grade compared to her brother.
I remember playing Pong, and that is part of the reason why I am adept at using all technologies now. The specific applications and pieces of hardware aren't what we are training kids to use for their future. We are helping kids learn how to work with these tools in whatever ways are appropriate at that time. I, along with my students, am what is called a "digital native." I grew up with this stuff. No, I don't program in BASIC anymore, but the fact that I DID means I can now work with all kids of platforms and equipment.
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#64 of 100 Old 09-09-2009, 11:26 PM
 
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I remember playing Pong, and that is part of the reason why I am adept at using all technologies now.
I believe Pong is also available on Wii.. isn't it one you can download? (actually my 11yo says pong "laser hockey" is on Wii Play- all my kids have played it )

To build off what you said, I think it is important to teach kids about the technology we have so they will be ready to make the advances when we need them.

Isn't it true that the guy that invented Pong sold it for a piddly amount (whoops!) and then went on to invent the dancing characters in Chuck E Cheese? I believe I heard that once... nothing like learning from one's mistakes.

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#65 of 100 Old 09-09-2009, 11:30 PM
 
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We just moved from Fairfax County, VA, and in most of the schools there, every classroom had one. The PTAs did lots of fundraisers to buy them. The teachers consider them a great resource, apparently, and the students respond well. I think it's great.
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#66 of 100 Old 09-10-2009, 11:56 AM
 
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We don't have smart boards in our school. It's a tiny charter school, and there simply isn't money available for these things. Even if we did have the money, our school has much more pressing concerns. I don't feel like my children are missing out at all by not having smart boards available to them.

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#67 of 100 Old 09-12-2009, 07:21 PM
 
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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.
I was taking classes two years ago, at Penn State, and not one student came into either of my classes with laptops to take notes. One was a 400 level ethics class, the other was an intro Poli-sci class. Most carried laptops, but not one person took notes on them. In fact, both classes had powerpoint slides with outlines, and we were encouraged strongly to print these out and take notes on them.
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#68 of 100 Old 09-12-2009, 11:08 PM
 
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All of our classrooms have smart boards. They're pretty cool.

It seems that all the teachers also have mics. You can't hear them outside of the classroom but they seem to work well in the classroom. Must save their voices some. Dd1's teacher didn't use one last year but both the girls' teachers do this year.
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#69 of 100 Old 09-12-2009, 11:19 PM
 
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We have Smart Boards. We live in a blue collar neighborhood.

Our elementary school looks almost ready to be condemned. Most of the schools in our school district have been updated we're last I guess.

Our schools win awards. Our families are lower income for the most part. (Way higher than average free and reduced lunch students.)

I love our schools.
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#70 of 100 Old 09-12-2009, 11:28 PM
 
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It seems that all the teachers also have mics. You can't hear them outside of the classroom but they seem to work well in the classroom. Must save their voices some. Dd1's teacher didn't use one last year but both the girls' teachers do this year.
Mics aren't actually for the purpose of saving the teacher's voices. It is actually to help the hard of hearing students. It's an accomodation thing.
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#71 of 100 Old 09-13-2009, 12:09 AM
 
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Ok, I was feeling a bit snarky when I made that post and I'm getting snarked at back. But, I'm pretty sure that despite a number of low income boards, the income *averages* around here are well above national averages. Our PTA also fundraises like crazy, and makes about $10,000 a year. We simply do not have the income base at the school to do a lot more than that.

Now the grant programs sound interesting. Though I'm not sure if I had $5000 to spend per classroom that a smartboard is what I would spend it on.

I guess my thought was more along the lines of, I know there are classrooms in this country where teachers are hurting for books and other basic necessities. While a smartboard sounds incredibly cool, it's clearly a luxury, not a necessity. If I were queen, I'd make sure all the children had books, paper, etc., before spreading around the smartboards. But that is probably a topic for another thread.
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#72 of 100 Old 09-13-2009, 12:16 AM
 
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Ok, I was feeling a bit snarky when I made that post and I'm getting snarked at back. But, I'm pretty sure that despite a number of low income boards, the income *averages* around here are well above national averages. Our PTA also fundraises like crazy, and makes about $10,000 a year. We simply do not have the income base at the school to do a lot more than that.

Now the grant programs sound interesting. Though I'm not sure if I had $5000 to spend per classroom that a smartboard is what I would spend it on.

I guess my thought was more along the lines of, I know there are classrooms in this country where teachers are hurting for books and other basic necessities. While a smartboard sounds incredibly cool, it's clearly a luxury, not a necessity. If I were queen, I'd make sure all the children had books, paper, etc., before spreading around the smartboards. But that is probably a topic for another thread.
The thing about technology grants and the like is that they are very specific for what they can spend the money on.

Our school isn't particularly wealthy either, our pta raises probably about the same amount. We do have an AWESOME state rep who manages to get our school district lots of great stuff. Last year our whole school district got a whole new reading curriculum and a whole new social studies curriculum, because of grant money that his office secured.

So , yes smart boards are definitely a luxury, but it is a lot of times a matter of talented grant writers
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#73 of 100 Old 09-13-2009, 09:52 AM
 
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Mics aren't actually for the purpose of saving the teacher's voices. It is actually to help the hard of hearing students. It's an accomodation thing.
I didn't actually think that saving their voices was the sole use of the mics, just an added benefit. Never really gave it much thought past it must be hard to get 20 5 year olds attention and it must really come in handy. Good to know it's more than just saving teachers from having to buy lots of tea and honey.
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#74 of 100 Old 09-13-2009, 11:42 PM
 
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...
It seems that all the teachers also have mics. You can't hear them outside of the classroom but they seem to work well in the classroom. Must save their voices some. Dd1's teacher didn't use one last year but both the girls' teachers do this year.
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Mics aren't actually for the purpose of saving the teacher's voices. It is actually to help the hard of hearing students. It's an accomodation thing.
The mics are more 'surround sound' than just a microphone.

The speech teacher in my school has written grants for the past 3-4 years & has placed the sound system in about 10 classrooms so far (all grants, so no school district money). It's more than accommodation for HOH students (we don't have any currently in my school) but increasing time on task for everyone. Her basis is improvement in ELA (English Language Arts) scores as well as individual assessment scores in classrooms where kids are currently testing low & there is an improvement in their scores after a teacher uses this. Frequencies don't get lost & everyone in the room can clearly hear the teacher.

I'm the librarian & we're trying to come up with a grant together for me to get one, but it's hard since I don't do any testing that could quantify a 'before' and 'after'.



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...
Now the grant programs sound interesting. Though I'm not sure if I had $5000 to spend per classroom that a smartboard is what I would spend it on.
...
Almost of these of grants are specific - it's not so much you get the money & then decide what to spend it on. There is a lot of technology money out there, both private and public, and some of that is due to the 'showy' nature of the technology. Also grant programs are generally seen to enhance the school, so books and paper are seen as basics to be supplied by the district. I live in a pretty income segregated area (Long Island) so lots of the poorer districts have tons of technology and great libraries due to grants & other enhancement monies in an attempt to level the field.
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#75 of 100 Old 09-13-2009, 11:47 PM
 
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I live in a tiny, rural town. Our (tiny) school has smartboards. They are very interesting, the kids love the lessons with them. They haven't replaced any hands on teaching that I am aware of.
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#76 of 100 Old 09-14-2009, 11:59 AM
 
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Really? I graduated college <3 years ago and almost nobody brought a laptop to class-it was all paper and pencil!
It has to be location and university . . . I graduated undergrad 10 years ago, so started my undergrad 14 years ago. My freshman year, probably about 50% of my classmates took notes on laptops; by senior year, probably about 90%.
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#77 of 100 Old 09-14-2009, 02:39 PM
 
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Ok, I was feeling a bit snarky when I made that post and I'm getting snarked at back. But, I'm pretty sure that despite a number of low income boards, the income *averages* around here are well above national averages. Our PTA also fundraises like crazy, and makes about $10,000 a year. We simply do not have the income base at the school to do a lot more than that.

Now the grant programs sound interesting. Though I'm not sure if I had $5000 to spend per classroom that a smartboard is what I would spend it on.

I guess my thought was more along the lines of, I know there are classrooms in this country where teachers are hurting for books and other basic necessities. While a smartboard sounds incredibly cool, it's clearly a luxury, not a necessity. If I were queen, I'd make sure all the children had books, paper, etc., before spreading around the smartboards. But that is probably a topic for another thread.
Sometimes it's not up to the teachers/parents/schools. I believe in our particular state that our governer decided we'd all be 21st century ready and set aside funds for particular things like smartboards regardless of whether a school had working drinking fountains or enough paper to last the year.

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#78 of 100 Old 09-14-2009, 02:45 PM
 
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I didn't read all the posts, however I have kids from K-11th grade in three different school districts and I have never heard of them or seen them.
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#79 of 100 Old 09-14-2009, 06:21 PM
 
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.

I guess my thought was more along the lines of, I know there are classrooms in this country where teachers are hurting for books and other basic necessities. While a smartboard sounds incredibly cool, it's clearly a luxury, not a necessity. If I were queen, I'd make sure all the children had books, paper, etc., before spreading around the smartboards. But that is probably a topic for another thread.
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.

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#80 of 100 Old 09-25-2009, 01:35 AM
 
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I didn't actually think that saving their voices was the sole use of the mics, just an added benefit. Never really gave it much thought past it must be hard to get 20 5 year olds attention and it must really come in handy. Good to know it's more than just saving teachers from having to buy lots of tea and honey.
I tend to be a mic-hate if there isn't a student in my class who needs it as an accommodation, but you are right, they do save my voice! I still rarely use it, but as I am not naturally soft-spoken anyways (the New Yorker in me ) my voice is taking a beating everyday.


Of course, I think there are nights that my husband is grateful I am a bit less talkative!
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#81 of 100 Old 09-25-2009, 03:57 AM
 
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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.
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#82 of 100 Old 09-25-2009, 12:53 PM
 
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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.

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#83 of 100 Old 09-28-2009, 06:20 AM
 
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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

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#84 of 100 Old 09-01-2010, 03:31 PM
 
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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.
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#85 of 100 Old 09-01-2010, 03:37 PM
 
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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.
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#86 of 100 Old 09-01-2010, 03:45 PM
 
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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.

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#87 of 100 Old 09-01-2010, 03:58 PM
 
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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.
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#88 of 100 Old 09-01-2010, 04:40 PM
 
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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.
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#89 of 100 Old 09-01-2010, 05:04 PM
 
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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.
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#90 of 100 Old 09-01-2010, 07:08 PM
 
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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.
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