Friday, December 8, 2006

SMART Boards are Becoming Popular Classroom Tools

What technology that was developed in 1991 has become the popular “emerging technology” for today’s classrooms?

The first blackboard was used in a Philadelphia school in 1809. The blackboards were made from lumber. Their covering was a mixture of egg white and carbon from charred potatoes. Chunks of chalk were used to write on the surface and the erasers were cloth rags. “Blackboards” later became “green” boards, although they still required chalk.

Black/green boards eventually became “white” boards and we used markers to write on them.

What eventually replaced black/green/white boards?

The answer to both questions is the interactive white board. Although there are several versions of this tool, the best-known one is probably the SMART Board.

Whether you want to learn more about how to use SMART Boards before you have one in your classroom or you’re searching for resources to use with the SMART Board already in your classroom, you will find lots of information on the Internet. Here are a few sites to get you started.

If you know of some other great sites, please share them!


I looked for results of research concerning the use of SMART Boards in the classroom. I expected to be able to create a list of advantages and a list of disadvantages discovered when using SMART Boards. Well, the two lists are a bit lopsided!

Web sites examined to learn about the research…

• collaborative
• easy to use
• effective for whole class instruction
• enthusiastic and positive classes
• improved overall student learning
• improved student attitudes
• improved student behavior during class
• increased student engagement
• increased students’ levels of participation
• instruction is more organized
• interactive
• lessons were clear and dynamic
• points could be highlighted using the pens
• proved successful in many subjects
• quick to learn to use
• reliable
• students received more attention from the instructor
• students were motivated
• visualizing complex phenomena may help some students

• initial problems, such as classroom movement and setting up of the SMART Board
• initial cost and eventual replacement cost of computers, data projectors and their replacement bulbs, and the SMART Boards themselves

Atomic Learning has a series of tutorials for the SMART Board Notebook for Windows computers. Two of the videos in the series may be viewed by anyone; the remainder of the series is available to subscribers.
SMART training center, training materials for Macintosh users
SMART training center, training materials for Microsoft Windows users
introduction to SMART Board
SMART Board lessons podcast

great information and communications technology ideas
SMART – educator resources
SMART – accredited software
SMART Board resources
SMART Board ideas
free interactive whiteboard resources
great K-3 SMART Board sites
search strategies for finding web sites useful for SMART Boards

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