We are living in the age of technology, where computers and the internet are a major part of our school, home, work, and social environment. As technology progresses, it is becoming more accessible in schools via phones, laptops, and tablets. At Nantucket High School, technology has also reached the academic world through the use of interactive whiteboards, or SMART boards. Many places including NHS, lecture halls and meeting rooms have adopted the use of SMART boards as a new way to teach and interact within the classroom. Although many see this use of technology as a way to advance learning, it is debated, at NHS and around the globe, whether SMART boards are truly effective in developing and bettering students’ learning. The general consensus at NHS is that SMART boards are not improving the quality of learning for students, however, they do present some opportunities that might otherwise be unavailable.
The SMART board was created by David Martin and Nancy Knowlton in 1991. Now, the teaching apparatus has become prominent across the globe, in an effort to bring a new and innovative method of education to office buildings and schools. The interactive whiteboard makes presentations run more smoothly and creates a better teaching/learning environment for kids in elementary, middle, and high school. However, students, teachers, and people in offices have begun to question if the machines are actually having a positive influence. Most teachers claim that their SMART board is not particularly useful.
“My SMART board is not very effective,” said NHS history teacher Aileen Fredericks. “I don’t use it much as a SMART board, I use it as a projector, and the few times that I do use it as a SMART board, the calibration is always off, and it’s not worth fixing. It is just more of a hassle than helpful. I know there are many interesting resources out there for it, but I have never felt the need to get into any of them.”
On the other hand, some teachers find the SMART boards very helpful. Ashley Erisman, a science teacher at NHS, finds the SMART board in her room to be quite effective during her classes.
“I use it for slide presentations, I present my daily data to my earth science students, and I also play lots of live stream videos,” said Erisman. “I think my SMART board is probably on and active more than some of the others.”
There are some teachers that are unsure about how efficient their SMART board is. Liz Reinemo, English teacher at NHS, finds her SMART board helpful in some aspects of the classroom, however, she does not feel it is extremely useful overall.
“The best quality of my SMART board is the ability to play videos, and to stream from the internet,” said Reinemo. “I don’t know if it improves learning, but I feel like it makes transitions smoother. I feel like it makes teacher’s provisioning easier, and it makes notes more accessible to students.”
Despite how effective it may be, Mrs. Reinemo has weekly, and “sometimes daily” issues with her SMART board, and she is not the only one. Mrs. Fredericks does not see a point in fixing her SMART board when she comes across issues, “it’s not worth fixing.”
SMART boards are a controversial topic at NHS. Many teachers are unsure if they benefit their teaching environment, but they are interested to learn more about them, and how they can continue to transform teaching in the classroom.