The Love-Hate Relationship with my SmartBoard

The Innovative Educator put up a post with ’10 Reasons to Ditch the Board‘ that got me thinking a bit. This is my first year using a SmartBoard. And I truly have a love-hate relationship with it. When it works, I love it! When it doesn’t work, I want to rip it off the wall and throw it out the window. I joke with my class at the beginning of a lesson, asking aloud, “Alright, will it be a SmartBoard or a DumbBoard?” It seems to have trouble ‘synching’ with PowerPoint, such that there are times when I try to write and it won’t recognize the pens correctly. I’ve tried all that I know, and just never found a way to replicate when the errors happen. I need to keep troubleshooting.

So let me give you some context. I don’t – yet – have the students use the IWB all that much. So it’s not all that ‘interactive’ for my students. Not more so than my previous whiteboard/chalkboard/LCD Projector. But here’s where it’s a bit different for me. I use the pen features to solve problems on my PowerPoint slides (alright, I’m setting myself up here…be nice!) for my students. (Conversions, Stoichiometry, etc.) Then I save the PowerPoint and post it to my Moodle site. I’ve also used it to create some diagrams that will post right into a Word document which I can share as a PDF…say worked solutions to a Free Body Diagram for a physics class. Now I don’t think these are all that groundbreaking, as far as using technology goes. But it gives my students an opportunity to revisit my content, and that’s valuable in my opinion. To be honest, I’d rather have a Tablet PC of some sort than an IWB, as I could do all that I do with the IWB and even more! (Marking right on a lab report, for example.) But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to be more ‘innovative’ with my IWB. I just haven’t gotten there yet.

And that leads me to something I put in my first blog post here. One reason I started this blog is to attempt to put some ideas out there and hold myself accountable to them. And while I don’t want to ditch my IWB, I definitely feel I can use it better.




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2 responses to “The Love-Hate Relationship with my SmartBoard

  1. Thanks for replying to my post with one of your own. I don’t see why you need an IWB to do what you are sharing.

    First, for most learning assessment can be done by typing on a keyboard rather than using a pen. For some reason teachers think pen when it comes to assessment. Think keyboard. You can also think voice as most software and online programs allow you to record your voice.

    If you want drawing/writing ability use Google Drawing. If you or your students have iTouches let them interact with the work being projected using free air mouse and the iTouch. If you or your students have laptops/netbooks they can interact that way.

    If you want kids to use a pen rather than a mouse buy a few I-pen Mouse for $30 bucks.

    All of these solutions enable you to engage learners much more effectively than using an IWB does.

  2. Hi Lisa,

    Thanks for the response. I use my keyboard ALL the time for assessment. But there are certain applications (marking up a graph, for example) where having a pen would be much better. I have a ‘graphics tablet’ which allows me to do this. It was about $75. It works reasonably well, but it’s a bit glitchy. So I don’t use it as much as I planned. I also like using the pen for showing calculations. Using the mouse just doesn’t work for a long problem.

    Some of the options you’ve suggested, though, might be worth checking out. But I’ve got the IWB, I figure if I can get more out of it than I am, why not?
    Thanks for the discussion. I appreciate it.


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