Innovation is difficult, especially by today’s education system standards. One of the major innovations that has been slowly working its way into many American classroom is the electronic whiteboard. The electronic whiteboard, or SmartBoard, is the combination of a projector, and a whiteboard, allowing the teacher to write directly on the lesson, or practice on the board, and display other helpful images to the students without the non-reusability of a chalkboard. For examples, if you class is doing a drawing assignment on a whiteboard/chalkboard, the students must erase to make more room, and their work is then gone forever, but with a SmartBoard, you can “undo” until you find that specific work that you were looking for to use as an example.
The website that I used to find some innovation ideas were found on http://www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/6458. One that I found really interesting, that I also thought of when I first took on this topic was the bundling of wireless/handheld slates and the SmartBoard. Even if it is one slate being passed around, the students are still able to project their thought up onto the board, and get input from other students in the classroom. With 4 or 5 slates per classroom, you could get the students into groups to work out different problems, so that they could all get practice working problems. One thing that the SmartBoards have on their side is that they are engaging for the students. Instead of a lecture, or a teacher writing on a plain old chalk/whiteboard, the teacher is using a technology that they know. A SmartBoard is pretty much a large slate for them to interact with and use. Technology literacy is so much higher now than it was with previous, and even the current generations. These kids are raised around iPhones, iPads, iPods, iTVs, iDogs, they are fully immersed in the culture of technology.
One of the problems that could arise from integration of SmartBoards are the IT problems. Here at Johnson, we know all about IT issues, and if that were to happen in a classroom without a proper IT group at the school for that purpose, the students will become unfocused, the lessons with be less effective, and the learning will be much more difficult to come by.
A few technologies that you would need in order to innovate some of the ideas from the last paragraph would be an electronic whiteboard, which could cost anywhere from $2,000-$4,000 per classroom, as well as slates, which could range from $200-$400. If you were to try to get four for every classroom, the cost would range upwards of $5,500 per room. That is also just the basest utility cost. If you were to factor in any applications needed to integrate the slates to the SmartBoard, which could tack on an extra $200 per classroom.
A lot of the problems that come along with the integration of technology are the costs. With upgrading to the latest, most cutting edge technologies, the price tag is pretty steep for non-profit, state/government sponsored school programs.