Back in February, I attended a two day training about using SmartBoards, the interactive boards that you hook up to your computer and projector that allow you to tap or touch the board in order to move and manipulate projected onto the board.
My first thoughts were glorified touchscreen. What could I do with a SmartBoard that I can't already do with my presentation equipment and software? To me, it just looked like a bunch of tap-tap-tapping on a board to move things along. I supposed that this could be a little more convenient when presenting. I wouldn't have to keep moving between laptop and board to point out items and click to different screens or slides.
But at the end of my two days of training, I was pretty awed by the software and how you could create very interactive presentations and lessons, presentations that would get students up out of their seats, presentations that would hopefully more fully engage kids in their learning.
Now I'm trying to justify the costs and whether our teachers will actually use it. Will the nine SmartBoards that we have purchased (yes, our administration is generous with the technology!) be used effectively and consistently. Will teachers see it as a glorified touchscreen, or will they create dynamic, interactive lessons for their students? Of course, I will be providing some staff development at the beginning of the next school year to get them excited about the possibilities.
Let's hope we're all smart enough to get the most out of our new technology!