The SMART Board
[16 Sep 2006]
I saw the SMART Board interactive whiteboard at ICET (International Conference on Educational Technology) last week.
The product has improved since last time I saw it. It is basically a touch-sensitive board that you write on in “digital ink” (the plastic-tipped pens just press on the board and the software makes it appear that you are writing on the board.) You can use any application that your computer supports, since the board acts as the desktop and all OS operations are available. Pretty clever.
I was not so interested at first in this product because I felt it would just perpetuate the “teacher at front – students listening” paradigm. However, I can see that it does have a lot of interesting collaborative possibilities, since it makes it easier for students to be involved in what is going on at the whiteboard, rather than watching some teacher demonstrate the interactive element. It would have been great when I was using LiveMath to demonstrate mathematical concepts.
There was a demo by a secondary school teacher showing how he uses the board with Google Earth during his classes – it was impressive.