Smart Boards were introduced in 1991 and are developed by SMART Technologies. These boards are designed as an interactive whiteboard with a touch screen allowing presenters to have more control over their presentations as well as more interaction with the audience. Smart boards are widely used during conferences, workshops, meetings and even classrooms (Whatley, 2012).
In the classroom, teachers can engage their students by designing and delivering interactive lessons with the use of their finger or a digital pen. The teacher can touch the Smart Board by clicking on buttons, highlighting text and dropping and dragging items for teaching and learning purposes.Although the teacher has full control over the applications, students can also interact directly with the Smart Board if the teacher so chooses. Since the Smart board and the projector are connected to a computer, navigating and accessing the Internet is not an issue. Therefore, creating and delivering engaging and meaningful learning is possible through the use of a Smart board since all students can view what is happening at the same time.
The introduction of the Smart Board in classrooms has allowed other technologies to be replaced. This includes technology such as the overhead projector, which has been used to enlarge learning materials such as a worksheet, a textbook, or a class note on a screen for all students to see. The overhead projector required the use of transparencies which were placed on the base of the projector. The mirror, located at the end of the long arm attached to the base, catches and reflects the light towards the screen. The Smart Board negates the use of transparencies and it includes a projector that is built on the top requiring less room than the overhead projector. Smart boards have also replaced the need for chalkboards and dry-erase white boards as notes and explanations of concepts and skills can be completed and taught using the Smart board.
The use of Smart Boards allows the computer to be used in meaningful ways to foster deeper learning. Students can learn together as information and knowledge via the Internet can be projected onto the screen. This makes learning accessible to all and can allow for rich discussions to happen with the entire class as each and every student can view and/or interact with the information on the screen.
Moving forward, it is likely that the Smart board will be replaced by each student having their own iPad, which can then allow students to interact with the screen from their desk. It can also allow for small groups of students to work together using the Smart board to meet their own learning needs as well as promoting self-paced and self-directed learning as students can download apps based on those needs.
Whatley, J (2012). How do smartboards work? EHow. Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/how-does_4564507_smart-boards-work.html