If I see one more f’ing Smart board disabling a chalkboard…

…I’m gonna ‘splode. Ladies and gentlemen, an interactive whiteboard is a supplemental technology, not a replacement technology.

From today's New York Times

From a post a year ago

 

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8 responses to “If I see one more f’ing Smart board disabling a chalkboard…

  1. I’m with you on the supplement to the classroom and not replacement tech, but why defend the chalkboard? I’m not sure I follow 100%. When app-based books take over, my guess is that schools will recycle every last old text as fast as they can. Same thing? Curious . . . not sure how I feel myself.

    • Nice observation about texts. Something more to worry about. Just what I need, man.

      Why defend the chalkboard? Have you seen the TIMSS videos from late ’90s of American and Japanese 8th grade geometry classrooms? The Japanese teacher’s use of the chalkboard is masterful. Truly a model to which I aspire. A chalkboard gives a teacher the space needed to tell a story while keeping beginning, middle and end all simultaneously visible. Can’t do that on an iwb or an overhead projector.

      For what it’s worth, I consider chalkboards and blackboards pretty much isomorphic for pedagogical purposes. Each has properties that reasonable people can argue about, but those are small in comparison to the important thing they have in common-unbroken acreage.

  2. Perhaps we need to wait for the technology to develop further? I reckon that smartboards are currently rather clunky and unreliable. At our place we have three different brands (Promethean, Hitachi and Epson), which all work moderately well, but which all have idiosyncrasies and bugs which cause them to stop working on various occasions.
    I like your phrase “unbroken acreage”. But surely, interactive whiteboards are the ultimate in unbroken spaces, if the software was well enough designed to allow for expansion at the edges?
    I recall the moment in one of the Star Trek movies where an ageing “Bones” tried to speak to a desktop computer, and everyone laughed. Technology has easily caught up with that idea; don’t you think it will continue to move ahead to where a chalkboard or whiteboard can’t keep up?

    • The more I think about it, the more I suspect that we are approaching (if not already past) the point where no significant improvement can be made to certain kinds of technology for mathematics education. The whiteboard/chalkboard may be a prominent example of such a technology; I have become fairly sure that beyond some potential cosmetic advances, no change in the basic nature of these tools would improve their ability to serve the purposes they do.

    • Peter:

      But surely, interactive whiteboards are the ultimate in unbroken spaces, if the software was well enough designed to allow for expansion at the edges?

      No, no, no. I couldn’t disagree more strongly. The same argument would apply to the overhead projector with the plastic on a scroll. Yes, the acreage becomes (functionally) infinite. But you can only look at part of that acreage at a time and everyone has to be looking at the same part. Is it “The Graduate” that has a conversation in which one character is at one edge of the screen and the other is at the other in a still shot? When converted to standard 4:3 VHS, the scene pans back and forth between the two characters. Totally different scene because of it. We cannot see them both at the same time. That’s the difference between chalkboard/whiteboard and iwb/overhead.

      I am not convinced that iwbs will outpace the old fashioned technology. I do believe they’ll get a lot better than they are now (they’d BETTER get a lot better!) but I don’t feel they’ll ever be a replacement. Nor should they. They do something different; let’s get the technology better at doing that, not better at doing something that is already done well.

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