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SMART Board’s & Agents of Change

March 20, 2009

I recently posted this at  The Interactive Whiteboard Revolution, but I thought I’d post it here as well.

We’ve had SMART Board‘s at Holy Trinity for almost 3 years now and a lot of the credit for that is actually owed to Don Grant (my principal at the time) and Chris Betcher, an Aussie teacher on an exchange who motivated (inspired?) me to pursue ICT in the classroom.

That led to me attending an ICT conference and actually winning my own SMART Board.   Shortly after that,  I was involved with putting together a pilot program at HT with 10 (plus mine) boards. Today, we have somewhere (I don’t actually know the current tally) close to 25 SMART Board’s in the school and more are being ordered each month.

What is interesting about the whole experience for me is how we (the original users at HT) have all gone in different directions over the past 3 years.  The science and math people have wholeheartedly embraced the SMART Notebook software and are creating original lessons to suit their needs.  Some of the English teachers have been creating some effective lessons as well.   Personally, as a senior Business and Economics teacher, I have found the creation of entire lessons using SMART Notes to be time consuming and somewhat fruitless.

I have embraced the use of Web 2.0 in my classroom and use the IWB as a conduit to the same.  Now I realize some of you may think that I am wasting the IWB and simply using it as a glorified projector, however, that is not the case.  Much of what I teach is based on the analysis of current events.  The IWB when paired with the power of the Internet allows us to bring the “real” world into our classroom and engage in meaningful discussion.  We can look at products, advertising, etc. in a unique way AND the IWB  allows us to add our own ideas to what is on the board at any given moment. Sometimes we get so caught up with the technology that we let it displace the teaching.  What I mean is, don’t create SMART lessons for the sake of creating an interactive lesson. Create them because they are actually meaningful.  That is why I see the IWB as a piece of a rather large puzzle; a rather productive tool in my ever growing tool box.

To sum up, education is undergoing a digital transformation and there are many factors influencing both the pace and direction of change.  Some educators will be the agents of change, others will be content to adapt to the new order once it has been fully established and the final group will slowly fade away as their traditonal way of doing things becomes obsolete .

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