# Anyone use a Smartboard ?

Homework Helper
Anyone use a "Smartboard"?

In the next year and a half, my school is getting a renovation. A good deal of is set aside for top-notch tech stuff. There is a debate among those who make decisions whether to supply rooms with a smart board OR an LCD projector. If you had the decision to make, which would you go with? This can be from the point of view of a teacher OR student; which would you like to use, or which would you prefer to be used by your teacher/professor? ## Answers and Replies Gold Member What's a smartboard? (I can't answer you anyhow, because I'm neither a student nor a teacher.) Science Advisor Gold Member We've got a smartboard in our conference room at work, it never gets used. A decent projector would be much more useful for presentations, we tend just to use A4 and a bit of hand-waving for sharing of ideas which aren't being formally presented. Science Advisor Homework Helper brewnog said: We've got a smartboard in our conference room at work, it never gets used. A decent projector would be much more useful for presentations, we tend just to use A4 and a bit of hand-waving for sharing of ideas which aren't being formally presented. "A4"? ? And Danger: thanks for the input, it was very helpful [:friendly, non-insulting sarcasm smiley:] Science Advisor Gold Member Chi Meson said: "A4"?? Just copier paper! My school's administration just bought a few dozen smartboards, now they want to downsize the faculty to offset their losses. (did I mention they're eight digits in debt?) They're amazingly useless gadgets; it's basically a six foot touchscreen display with a big price tag. They don't write nearly as easily or legibly as either chalk or dry erase marker, and they're high-maintenance too. The alignment goes off easily, you write in one place and words appear ten inches to the east - so you stop and recalibrate the thing. Last edited by a moderator: Staff Emeritus Science Advisor Gold Member Smartboards can be used to very good effect -- but how probably won't be figured out by someone who's never used it before, and doesn't know the software that goes with it. Science Advisor Chi Meson said: In the next year and a half, my school is getting a renovation. A good deal of is set aside for top-notch tech stuff. There is a debate among those who make decisions whether to supply rooms with a smart board OR an LCD projector.
I would go with the LCD projector. You can draw attention to something on the screen using the mouse rather than pointing at it and blocking the view of the board for half the class.

Homework Helper
Gold Member
I've used a SmartBoard... but I felt the response time lagged a little bit. Maybe a faster CPU would have improved it. The software supported many useful electronic whiteboarding features... including an interactive feature with a cluster of classroom computers. I haven't explored if proprietary formats are involved... since I like to archive [and possibly later edit] the whiteboarding activities.

However, I preferred to use a TabletPC with a projector. When I taught in the room with the SmartBoard, I merely used it as a projector (without using any of the SmartBoard's input devices). I was thinking about installing some of the SmartBoard software on my TabletPC, then interfacing with the SmartBoard inputs via USB... but something came up. Maybe someday, there will be a convergence between TabletPCs and SmartBoards.

I was unhappy with the lighting conditions in the room it was in...so it was hard to read. So, classroom design should not be neglected.

neurocomp2003
yeah wouldn't a tabletPC or even a tablet hooked up to a laptop with a projector be better than smart boards?

rocketboy
We have smartboards in every major classroom at my high school. They are extremely convenient and usefull for the teachers, they put lessons on them, can go over the notes and write on the board, then save it and post it online for us. This is just one of the many ways they are used.

rocketboy said:
We have smartboards in every major classroom at my high school. They are extremely convenient and usefull for the teachers, they put lessons on them, can go over the notes and write on the board, then save it and post it online for us. This is just one of the many ways they are used.
That sounds like the reversed way of how things were done in my high school. The teachers had packs of notes, and you would get a pack for $5. The packs were printed copies of powerpoint presentations, and the teacher would show the presentations in class - using an LCD projector. Half of the information was missing from the printed copy, so you would write it down yourself while going through the presentation. It was a very effective system. Gold Member Okay, now that I know what it is... It seems to me that the laptop or tablet with a projector would be better, especially if they have to have the computer part anyhow. What's the point in duplicating all of the processing power when you already have it? moose Our school district has had them for about three years now. I like them because the teachers usually post the notes in a pdf file online after class. EDIT: I don't think a tablet connected to a smartboard would be better, because I feel that it is better when a teacher is actually up there writting everything, the same way as with a chalkboard... rocketboy ShawnD said: That sounds like the reversed way of how things were done in my high school. The teachers had packs of notes, and you would get a pack for$5. The packs were printed copies of powerpoint presentations, and the teacher would show the presentations in class - using an LCD projector. Half of the information was missing from the printed copy, so you would write it down yourself while going through the presentation.
It was a very effective system.

Actually, that is very close to what we do WITH the smartboard in our chemistry class. The only difference is our we fill in our pack of notes at the same time as the teacher, who does it on the smartboard, after getting us to figure out what should go in the empty spots (problems or notes or whatever). Sometimes he adds extra notes to teh smartboard though, and then will post them online.

In english, the teacher will sometimes put up one of a student's papers on teh smartboard, and then tear it apart for all to see. Very effective, as he can make all the marks on the paper that he would when grading a hardcopy.

In math, it's usefull for taking up notes and tests and exams, as she will put them up on the smartboard and then go through the solutions with us, before saving them online.

moose
The only class which I do not like for smartboards to be used in is math... I feel that math should always be taught on a blackboard... Don't know why...

Homework Helper
Gold Member
moose said:
EDIT: I don't think a tablet connected to a smartboard would be better, because I feel that it is better when a teacher is actually up there writting everything, the same way as with a chalkboard...
In this mode, I am up there in front of the class, facing the students, my back to the smartboard, occasionally looking down onto the table or podium to write on my tabletpc [which appears in real-time on the connected smartboard]. No part of the smartboard is blocked by my body.

One drawback of the SmartBoard, laptop/tabletPC-with-projector, and overhead-projector compared to a full set of blackboards/whiteboards is that the former has a small area that forces the student to keep up notetaking and that makes it difficult to get more of a "big picture" of what is going on.

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Well, until this thread was begun, I didn't know what a smartboard was. Now that I know what it is, it sounds like the sort of thing that will only be effective if they will also provide the teachers with good training on how to use it and what the advantages/features are so they can use it efficiently and effectively, as well as ensuring the rest of the technology is set up to utilize it, and that the room is set up to have appropriate lighting to complement it (in other words, probably a complete remodeling to go with it). Otherwise, it sounds like something that's going to be a big waste of money because it won't be able to be used to its real potential. An LCD projector can be used without needing to modify the rooms, and with some brief workshops on effectively preparing PowerPoint or other forms of presentations, even the not-so-tech-saavy teachers can probably get good use out of it without actually replacing chalkboards or whiteboards. Personally, I'd opt for whatever gives you the choice to also keep the chalkboards or whiteboards. I'd be afraid that if you can write everything on a smartboard and then students get used to having everything posted as a downloadable PDF, note-taking skills are going to fly out the window.

How much confidence do you have in your administration to do things right? If they're like most administrators, they get their eyes gleaming with some new set of toys, spend a ridiculous amount of money, but don't budget for the training or support, so you end up with a bunch of new toys collecting dust with money that would have been better spent on new textbooks or classroom supplies. If you think your administration would be good about providing the full follow-through, including support, necessary remodeling, networking, etc, the smartboards sound like they could be a useful tool, but LCD projectors seem more administrator-proof.

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
robphy said:
One drawback of the SmartBoard, laptop/tabletPC-with-projector, and overhead-projector compared to a full set of blackboards/whiteboards is that the former has a small area that forces the student to keep up notetaking and that makes it difficult to get more of a "big picture" of what is going on.
Sometimes I think schools should just invest in desks/chairs mounted on swivels and stick with the old system of putting chalk boards on all 4 walls.

moose
Moonbear, each teacher at my school went to "Smartboard" training...

Although, I would prefer to have those awesome university blackboards which have like 6 total...

EDIT: MB, what about the ground and the ceiling?

Last edited:
Homework Helper
Gold Member
Moonbear said:
Sometimes I think schools should just invest in desks/chairs mounted on swivels and stick with the old system of putting chalk boards on all 4 walls.
Some key advantages to an electronic whiteboard [SmartBoard or TabletPC-with-projector]:
• can integrate multimedia (video or simulation) and live data-acquisition and analysis
• can be archived [with edits] and made available offline
• can be archived, continually built upon, and revised into a set of well-written notes
Sometimes I hate to erase boards in which "good stuff" had been written down. I would love having four projectors driven by a TabletPC with software that will let me put what I want on each screen... even to the point of placing recently used pages automatically on another screen when I ask for a new electronic page.

#### Attachments

• myTabletPCexample.gif
26.2 KB · Views: 470
Last edited:
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
moose said:
Moonbear, each teacher at my school went to "Smartboard" training...
That really sounds like the key to making it work. Just introducing new technology for the sake of having it without the training for people to know how to use it and make the most of it is a waste of money, but it sounds like it could be a great classroom tool if the appropriate training accompanies it. How long have these smartboards been around? Is it a fairly stable technology? Or would a school considering them be better off waiting longer for bugs to get worked out?

moose
I know that they have been around for at least three-four years or so. First time I ever saw one was in my computer class in 8th grade. I've never witnessed any bugs in them or anything. However, unless the schools get crazy good deals on them, I doubt they are worth the money. However, my school didn't really need to buy anything else, so they just bought them. They are good if the school can afford them, but not necessary in any way.

All teachers "know hot to use" them, but not all teachers really use them for nearly all their advantages...

Moonbear said:
Sometimes I think schools should just invest in desks/chairs mounted on swivels and stick with the old system of putting chalk boards on all 4 walls.

I love swivel-chair lectures! - we have a large classroom here which does that. And 4-walled chalkboards are awesome.

NewScientist
I've used/seen used both of the LCD projectors and smartboards.

Smartboards, I feel, are very good in some subjects, such as chemistry where a member of faculty can go through a sheet of theory on the smartboard and save all of the lessons additional explanation notes onto that sheet as well; so that when they print off the theory notes, the class-specific explanation is also there for the students.

LCD projectors, though, in my opinion are better value by far, they can be used along with cameras so that a faculty member can show his student group an intricate experiment without them all getting close!

However, nothing beats a ton of white boards on the walls so that a class can leave there lesson there until the next time they convene and pick up right where they left off, and also it allows a flow of consciousness!