Monday, January 11, 2010

Are they so SMART?

Lately, the Tempered Radical has been wound up about interactive whiteboards (most recently here). I have a SMARTBoard, and I've mentioned before that doing without it makes me sad.

TR has a solid argument, though:
Even the “Internet access, video and audio presentations, and digital assessments” that Ed Week spotlights can all be done with a data projector alone.  The actual whiteboard does nothing to enhance any of these activities.
Now, Marzano goes on to argue that he’s an ardent believer that technology can make good teaching easier—and he’s right.  But Interactive Whiteboards don’t. 
Instead, they are disarmingly insidious gadgets—so stinking sexy to people making purchasing decisions that they're almost irresistible whether or not there are proven strategies for meaningful implementation.
I can't argue this from beyond my own classroom experience, but I have also worried about spending on SMARTBoards when I could get a whole wad of netbooks for my classroom instead.  Sigh.

Something to chew on, regarding the use of new technology, from Unclutterer:
What inspires me most about the Amish isn’t their alleged simplicity (which you can probably infer I don’t necessarily believe is simpler), but their ability to give up a convenience after experiencing it. It is extremely difficult to give up a technology (or habit or vice or any possession) that you greatly enjoy. The fact that the Amish know of the technologies and ways of our world, have even experienced them, and are willing to give them up if they start to interfere with their priorities in life is what I find impressive. They easily get rid of the distractions that get in the way of what matters most to them.

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