Introduction to Smart Boards
The SMART Board is a large whiteboard that uses any of a handful of touch technologies for detecting user input (e.g. scrolling interaction) that are equivalent to normal PC input devices, such as mice or keyboards. Some sort of projector is used to display a computer's video output onto the whiteboard, which then acts as a huge touchscreen. The SMART Board usually comes with 4 digital writing utensils that use digital ink replacing the traditional whiteboard markers. The digital ink work by using an active digitizer that controls the PC input information for writing capabilities such as drawing or handwriting.
- You open the world up for your classroom. There are many virtual field trips out on the web, and you can tour the Metropolitan Museum of Art, go on a field trip to a swampland, or tour of a Martian rock field. What could be better than that? It's as though you are really standing on Mars!
- Also you can interact with the various buttons on the web site you choose. Kids love to go up and click on a birdsong, for example, or start a penmanship animation going.
- The smart board is large, and really commands attention so children stay focused.
- Large animations can show the relationships between objects, such as with planet orbits in the solar system, or the interaction among molecules.
- Another great feature is that you can use colored "markers" that can be used to circle things on the screen. Kids loved that since they could point out a spot on a map, or a grammar mistake, etc. for the whole class.
- The Library of Congress is there for the taking, and in a large enough format so that you can read books together, sing songs, and show a Van Gogh print in larger than life size. I could go on and on.
- The Smart Boards can be a bit touchy. You had to orient the board if someone bumps it. (The markers could be off by quite a ways if you didn't orient the board frequently.) This can be annoying.
- In certain models, the projector light casts a shadow on the the board until you get out of the way. Rear projection and LCD based Smart Boards don't have that problem.
- The smart board system is heir to the same problems that a computer and projector setup have, since you need a laptop to find the web sites and a projector to project the images on the Smart Board. Sometimes the web site is down, or plugs don't work, etc.
- I found that finding the sites on my classroom computer did not translate to the laptop we had hooked up in another room. I'd then have to send myself an email and open it on the laptop hooked to the white board. It was easier finding the web sites on the laptop and making a bookmark on the laptop.
- Expensive, and therefore not everyone can have one.
- The bulbs for the projector are very expensive.