Thursday, February 18, 2010

Think Of It As Op-Ed, Not Journalism

I apologize. I admit, I only know one side of the Smart Board controversy.

I know they cost a small fortune and I have seen them in action. While they don't cure all that ails education, they are a great remedy for some of the problems.

My posting about this, as my postings about everything else I write about, comes from my frustrations with dealing with the bureaucracy of education and being able to do nothing about it. Over the years, I have seen thousands of dollars wasted on manipulatives, books, technology and countless other things, that no one ever uses. Many of these things were never worth anything to begin with. Smart boards, I know, have worth. But, I fear, they will end up collecting dust, like the exercise machine sitting in my basement because the exposure needed to use them properly has been severely missing. And, in a school the size of Packemin, it will be hard to get the hands on experience necessary to succeed with them.

Most teachers do not even know that Smart Boards require a special pen. I read a blog post by a teacher who was out one day and came back to find the sub used a dry erase marker all over the one in her room. I quote a colleague who, upon seeing the Smart Board exclaimed, "the board is smart, the teacher is not."

I apologize for any embarrassment my posts have caused. But, I stand by my writings. This blog is where I let off steam, where I can publicly bitch about the things I have no control over. It is a big part of who I am. I And, for the record, I would love to learn how to use a Smart Board and incorporate it into my lessons. I'm just not sure I have the time to do this--three preps and six classes is very time consuming.


Sonja said...

We got smart boards this year in every classroom in all the high schools in my county, next summer the middle schools and the following summer the elementary schools will have them installed in every classroom. Special education rooms included. I love mine!

Yes - it's taken a good bit of extra time and effort on my part to learn all the ins and outs which make the magic work but I feel it's been worth it. I just hope the county will continue funding so they can be maintained, upgraded, and fixed as needed in the future.

Anonymous said...

I hear you. I have 4 preps over 5 periods. Just as hard. When is there ever any time to learn something new? I feel like I am treading water just to keep from sinking.

mathematicamama said...

If you are getting Smartboards then you should be getting computers also, right? Then it's not 400 teachers fighting over just a few computers to do grades and stuff.

proofoflife said...

Boy, you hit the nail on the head with this posting. Here's my smart board story. Every newbie who has walked into my building has been given a brand spanking new smart board. One young chap actually had the nerve to ask when "his" would be set up! I was sitting quietly in my anger thinking to myself "huumm , this guy wants his smart board set up and I am sharing chalk and an eraser with another senior teacher!" HA! Taking things into my own hands I roamed through the halls looking into classrooms to find the "old" ( one year old) smart boards. I came across what was a dust collector and spoke to a teacher who said they would not need it as they were given a new one. I gingerly rolled it down the hall asked for the elevator key and put it in my room. Chapter 2... I had to locate the projector that goes with the Smart Board. After several investigations with the newbies I discovered it was in some ones closet because The LIGHT BULB had gone out! I went to the ordering person and ordered a light bulb. Three weeks went by and I received the light bulb. In the meantime my students thought it pretty funny that I had put a huge sign on the Smart Board that said "DUST COLLECTOR". I also would teach with my door wide open and comment at the top of my teacher voice on how" NICE IT WOULD BE TO SHOW THEM THE MAPS" instead of drawing on the chalk board. ( this is not to say I do not have maps , only on the smart board the little boats move!) I personally took apart the projector like a master electrician convinced that I was not going to get any tech support. When I had 900 mini screws out of the projector I threw up my hands and said , "ok kids, enough test prep for today, get over here and help me!" Needless to say , the kids had the projector put back together in a flash. We were all so happy! We were "high fiving"each other, hooting and hollering! This happiness was short lived because low and behold NO PLUG to plug the projector into the wall! Not being one who gives up easily I went back to dick research mode and questioned the newbies as to where oh where could my little plug be. I was told to order one! It seemed the original plug must have gotten thrown away. I would curse now , but I know I am a professional. WHY WAS THE PLUG THROWN AWAY? I marched into my principals office to ask who was responsible for the technology in the building? This was a really stupid question because my principal doesn't even know how to check the email! Sensing that my hot flashes were really acting up she sent one of the newbies to a store to get me the plug. Three months later the dust collector is still sitting in my room. Maybe one day I will have a moment to hook the entire thing up. Maybe even before June! Thank you for allowing me to vent! If you delete this post I won't blame you, but where is the accountability???

Mike Skiles said...

You can use a dry erase marker on a smartboard; that was a selling point. I have used one on mine. It can be difficult to clean 100% however.

mathematicamama said...

I use a tennis ball to write on mine. I hid the pens so they would not be stolen.