Saturday, October 26, 2019

Interactive Whiteboard Alternatives

One of the biggest, literally, things in edtech is the interactive whiteboard. Smartboards, Promethean, there are a few manufacturers.

My district uses Smartboards. I'm not a fan. This post isn't a rant on why I don't like them, the purpose of this post is to outline an alternative, but to give some context, here is why I'm not a fan, and never have been, of interactive whiteboards...
  • they are expensive. $3k+ is a lot to spend on a single item
  • they are a central focal point... but classes should be flexible and fluid, a large fixed object like an interactive white board take up a lot of classroom real estate and are only used a small portion of the day
  • most users only use a fraction of capabilities
    • that may be due to lack of training, or that those features are bells and whistles and don't fit seamlessly into a teacher's workflow.. either way it's an issue
  • they only do one thing
    • ok, so not literally one thing, but a large, fixed object, no matter how "flexible" or "versatile" it's still a piece of furniture

So, what's the alternative?

Saturday, October 12, 2019

ACTEM 2019 Reflections

ACTEM is the Association of Computer Technology Educators of Maine. I had the pleasure of attending their fall conference this year and it was a blast.

Maine is doing some great things with technology, with state support and the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI)...

In 2002, Maine became the first state to provide a personal portable computer device to each 7th and 8th grade student and teacher, along with the software, wireless networks, technical support, and professional development needed to effectively use the technology for teaching and learning.  Read more about the groundbreaking MLTI program on the History page.

The program has changed somewhat over the years, but the goal remains the same:  to provide State support for access to technology-enhanced educational experiences for all students. In the 2018-19 school year, the State will be helping over 300 schools obtain educational technology and the professional learning necessary to take advantages of all that technology offers.
The conference had the usual slate of featured keynotes and breakout sessions. What I found so valuable was for the relative small size of the conference (a few hundred attendees) the quality of the presentations, and skill/knowledge of the presenters, was amazing.