Wednesday, 17 October 2007

The digital classroom

Earlier this year, I was very impressed by how one of my client’s classrooms was equipped with some of the latest gadgetry.

I’m still getting to grips with what are generic terms for commodities, and what are brand names – in the world of new technology, the two are often confused, such as when people say “google” instead of “search”, or when we talk of PowerPoint as though it was the only presentational software available.

But the piece of kit that particularly impressed me was the Smartboard. Electronic whiteboards have been around for years, and I frequently used one in the company I was with in the early ‘90s. But this is a step beyond. The Smartboard combines a screen for displaying presentations, or digital video clips, or documents the tutor wants to share with the group (Word docs, spreadsheets, etc), with a “whiteboard” using special pens and yielding content that can then be saved or printed as needed. And it’s touch-sensitive.

When you combine this with a network of terminals in the classroom, you have all the digital technology you need to lift even the dullest subject to a new level, to make the classroom experience exhilarating – even for digital natives.

And no, the guys at Smartboard (insert TM or C symbol or whatever) aren’t paying me to say this!


Laurie said...

I would add that the SMART Boards, due to their interactivity, bring two intertwined dimensions to any classroom. Due to the very nature of the Boards, they bring an element of novelty to any lesson. Novelty, if not overdone, is a powerful factor in engaging a learner and assisting with making the experience a memorable one.

In addition to tweaking memory, the act of being able to physically interact with material that otherwise might be one-dimensional quite changes the way a student engages with his or her learning.

The SMART Boards are one of a few pieces of technology that have the potential, when used creatively, to alter the dynamics of teaching and learning.

I, too, am not paid to say this! My experience stems from being a teacher and professional development provider at a K-12 school in Rye, New York, US, as well as having a strong interest in how the brain functions. I blog about the brain and learning at Neurons Firing (


Ken said...

Good to hear from you, laurie.

I read recently that there are over 80 million blogs out there, and you chose to read and comment on mine! I salute your good taste.

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