The transfixed eyes of Michael Guardino’s fifth period Physics class gaze at the bright white SMART Board screen as students embark on an equation-filled journey of angular velocity and momentum.
Some teachers, like Guardino, find the interactive board to be a useful teaching tool, the latest and greatest technological innovation, while others believe the board to be a waste of both space and money.
Guardino himself is a huge fan of the SMART Board and finds it a valuable classroom asset.
“It’s the greatest innovation that’s ever been invented for the classroom,” Guardino says.
The CHS science teacher can be seen on any given day with plastic green pen in hand writing countless pages of notes on his SMART Board for the five classes he is teaching this year.
“I had to wait one year to get one, but when I did turn it on, I haven’t turned it off since—not literally of course.”
The SMART Board technology is a time saver for teachers who can write notes once for multiple classes, and it also promotes more stimulating lessons.
“I can run simulations on the board, watch videos in class and have the ability to pause it and draw on it,” science teacher Joseph Mello says.
English teacher Pat Robel is also a proponent of the SMART Board, saying, “I like how it’s interactive. I think in a sense it’s more engaging for the students.”
Many teachers are happy with their SMART Boards, but what about the teachers who aren’t?
Bill Schrier, a CHS history teacher, previously had a SMART Board but soon realized that using it negatively impacted how he engaged with students.
“I would be so worried with lining things up that I’m not interacting with my students,” he says. “Technology should support the student-teacher relationship.”
Math teacher Mike Deckelmann, who moved to a new classroom this year, opted against installing the SMART Board technology in his new classroom. Though he found it a great interactive teaching tool and a timesaver in terms of eliminating the needs to rewrite class notes, the benefits didn’t outweigh its size.
“I just didn’t want it because I’d rather have the space,” Deckelmann says.
Nora Ward, a psychology and history teacher at CHS, has had repeated technical difficulties. “It is a gamble as to whether or not it will work each day,” she says. “I cannot rely on it.”
The SMART Board technology comes with many benefits, as well as its share of challenges.
One thing is clear: the teachers at Carmel High School remain split regarding the success of SMART Boards in their classrooms.