Friday, March 4, 2011

SMART Board in Education

Maia H. Mendes
IT 103, section 001
March 3, 2011
SMART Board in Education
George Mason University

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Technology gradually has transformed our lives by the way we communicate, teach, learn and work.  It has enriched the minds of those that are inspired to learn and enhanced the capabilities of those that seek better jobs and opportunities.  The innovation of the SMART Board interactive whiteboard has taken technology to a new level of challenges and adventures in the 21st Century across the spectrum of education. In this research, we will learn about what is the SMART Board its capabilities and functions.  How this device is connected and utilized in classroom settings. How beneficial it is in education development and student learning, and ultimately teachers’ readiness to utilized technology. 
SMART Board in Education

            Technology development has been in the making for a long time.  However, according to Geoffrey Steinberg, author of the textbook Introduction to Computer Information Systems (2008) it was not until the 60’s that “the marriage of computer and communication technology began.” (p.176).  As society, in general, embraced the new challenges of technology, a new culture of demands emerged upon every individual and profession to be at least knowledgeable in the basics of technology.  Without any doubt, education is one of the fields where technology development it is not only necessary, but also it is needed. In nowadays, children are savvy in technology from an early age.  They demand technology use, and they respond and focus better on learning when interaction with technology is an option.  The new technology “in” now, in some classrooms around the nation is the SMART Board interactive whiteboard. It is known to be one of the greatest assets and tool that any classroom can acquire. Unfortunately, not all classrooms in the United Sates can afford to have one.   According to the latest Media Release of  SMART Board done by “Future source Consulting, an independent global research company, claims that based on their research, the United States has approximately 36 percent of its classrooms equipped with interactive whiteboard.” (SMART) The questions now remain; who developed the SMART Board?  What is the SMART Board and how does it work? In addition, how can the SMART Board be utilized in a classroom or learning settings? What are the benefits
in education? Moreover, are teachers trained to use this Technology? Let us find out who developed SMART Board Interactive whiteboard.

            According to Wikipedia, “SMART Board interactive whiteboard was first introduced in the market in 1991 by SMART Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: SMT) (TSX: SMA), a publicly traded company with headquarters in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, which is best known as the developer of the SMART Board.”(Wikipedia) Now let us find out what is SMART Board.

            According to Mark Daly, a contributor to, “A SMART Board is a digital whiteboard that allows the use of touch screen capabilities to manipulate information, as it is connected to a computer.” (Daly) In addition, the Wikipedia reveals “SMART Board it was the first interactive whiteboard to provide touch control of computer applications and annotation over standard Microsoft Windows applications.” (Wikipedia) Now, let us find out how this device can be connected to the computer to perform such tasks?

            According to Wikipedia “SMART Board interactive whiteboard (IWB) is a large interactive display, that connects to a computer and projector in two ways; first, through a wired medium such as (USB or a serial port cable), or via a wireless connection called (Bluetooth) and 2.4 GHz wireless which is more secure.” (Wikipedia) In addition, “the projector projects the computer's desktop onto board's surface of the interactive whiteboard where users control the computer using a pen, finger, stylus, or other device.” (Wikipedia)  In case of some adjustments are needed.  “The user can calibrate the system (align the pointer with the image) if necessary, and activate programs, buttons and menus as they would with a mouse.” (Wikipedia)  However, the user can choose how to add any text input by simply following some steps. “The user can either invoke an on-screen keyboard or utilize handwriting recognition.  These input options circumvent the need to return to the computer to enter text into programs.” (Wikipedia)  Furthermore, the SMART Board interactive whiteboard offers many other functions such as, “Operating any software that is loaded onto the connected PC, including web browsers and proprietary software.  Using software to capture notes written on a whiteboard or whiteboard-like surface…on a graphics tablet…Controlling the PC (click and drag), markup (annotating a program or presentation) and translating cursive writing to text.” (Wikipedia)  The list goes on…In addition, the interactive whiteboard can either be mounted on a wall or installed on a floor stand and be mobile.  Now, let us find out what are the opinions of some experts and educators, on the field of technology and education about the use and benefits of this device in the classroom.                          

            Interactive whiteboard ideas for business.  Teaching Business & Economics.  It is an article published by Nancy Savage, an assistant elearning, business and ITC teacher at Knowles Hill School, Devon. Savage sustains that “the interactive whiteboard can bring invaluable benefits to the classroom since it provides an opportunity to include all learners within the lesson.”(Savage) In addition, Savage refers to its functions, such as “Highlighting, drag and drop exercises, rub and reveal, brainstorming, sorting, modeling and annotating into your lessons.” (Savage) Another important point that Savage mentions is Recordability, “The whiteboard is
useful for creating a record of each lesson as it happens…annotations can be saved and printed for future use. It can be reused in classes for revision, given to absent students…useful to students revising for their exams.” (Savage)  Savage, also recognizes the positive impact that interactive whiteboard can have in preparing students to take exams, especially those who have difficulty understand some questions, she explains by saying.  “This can help students, as they often struggle with the understanding the different elements required in answers.  This makes students more aware and confident about what examiners are looking for in a response to exam questions.” (Savage) The benefits of interactive whiteboard in the classroom seem huge.  Not only motivates learning, also engages students in new ways of learning by meet their challenges and allowing them to gain confidence.  Now, are teachers ready to meet these new demands of students and Technology?

            Redefining Teacher Education Programs for the 21st Century.  Diverse Issues in Higher Education. It is an article published by Dr. Helen Easterling Williams, dean of the School of Education at <idl>2Azusa Pacific University in California. Dr. Williams believes that “Failure to revisit professional development in the light of new technology could render teacher training programs obsolete.”(Williams) Dr. Williams , also shares her experience of being seated by a two year- old boy, during one of her flight’s, she claims that this young toddler could operate a video iPod, select movies and watch them quiet, while his mother was asleep.  These observations made Dr. Williams realize how early this young boy could use technology and navigate through the system without a problem.  She writes, “I wonder if the teacher candidates at Azusa Pacific University were being adequately prepared to work with this young toddler when he entered Kindergarten.”(Williams)  Dr. Williams went on thinking how a teacher could meet this young toddler’s challenge without hurting his capabilities  and she writes, “I imagined that the teacher would give him some building blocks and ask him to build a pyramid… the child would pull out his electronic device… saying, ‘Check this out. I built a pyramid… It’s got a secret chamber. Bet you can’t find it!’” (Williams)  The thought of how this little boy could be treated by a teacher that is not ready to deal with assertive young students in technology frightened her and Dr. Williams writes, “My heart sank as I further imagined that the teacher would probably label this child as being disruptive and would have him tested for attention deficit disorder. He might even end up in a special education classroom and lose his excitement for learning.” (Williams)  Time has come to recognize the demands of technology in education. The ways of teaching and learning has shifted to new levels. Teachers on the field are asked to overcome the hurdles of technology by becoming efficient trough training and accept the reality of the time.  Let us now look at what the new world research says.     

            According to SMART, Media Release, “SMART innovation transformed the way the world works and learns.  Research from around the world confirms that using interactive whiteboards can increase student motivation and engagement, enhance teacher productivity and have a positive effect on student outcomes and often on student attendance and behavior.”(SMART) This leads to the conclusion of the research and what have I learned as a result.

            SMART Technologies Inc.  Began simply by enlarging the screen and conquering the world and the minds of those that have had the privilege to work with SMART Board interactive whiteboard.  There is no doubt that it is a great asset to any classroom in the world with all its functions and interactions.  Provides good communication, sharing of ideas and enhances student and teaching skills. It captures the minds of young and old alike and unleashes the fears of the students by boosting their confidences.  It allows students to be creative and test their limits just by a simple touch of the screen.  It reinforces learning by showing the concepts systematically and rewards those that work hard at figuring out their challenges. 

Works Cited

Daly, M. (1999-2011). eHow. Retrieved february 26, 2011, from htt://

Savage, N. (2008). Interactive whiteboard ideas for business studies. Teaching Business & Economics. fron ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID:1532741781). , 12(2). 9-11.

SMART. (2011, January 12). Retrieved February 26, 2011, from http;//

Steinberg, G. (2008). Introduction to COMPUTER INFORMATION SYSTEMS. Dubuque: Kendall/Hunt publishing Company.

Wikipedia. (2011, February 10). Retrieved February 26, 2011, from Technologies

Williams, H. (2009). Redefining Teacher Education Programs for the 21st century. Diverse Issues in Higher Education. from Education Module (DocumentID: 1681530201). , 26(3). 25.