Theme & level – White boards, K-5th grade
This article is about researchers setting out to develop a scale of students’ attitude towards Smart Board (SB) use in education. The research was done in elementary schools in Turkey, with one teacher trainer who specialized in SB use, three teachers from different subject fields experienced in SB use, and one Turkish language expert took place on an expert panel in developing the scale. There were 203 students, ranging from 4th to 8th grade that had SBs in their classrooms for about 2 years. One school had SBs in the classroom for only one semester.
The researchers were able to develop a scale which asked 24 questions about the use of SBs in the classroom. The students would rank the questions from 5 (strongly agree) to 1(strongly disagree) and used happy faces to unhappy faces to go along with each number. They also gave information about their gender and grade level. The scale would be used to get a good readout on what the attitude of students are towards Smart Boards.
However, the researchers did not say in the article what their findings were about the attitude towards SBs is with elementary students. I feel this was short-sighted on their part. They did bring up some specific issues of the use of SBs. While SBs are touted as making whole-class teaching more effective, productive, and creative, many teachers are not trained properly in the use of SBs in the classroom. Loads of classrooms are equipped with SBs, software installed, but this is as far as school districts go, expecting teachers to go ahead and use them with no further training. Teachers have come to rely on them as a projector or writing surface but nothing more. There may be one in-service training done but much more is needed for teachers to embrace many of the different features available with SBs. Also there is little well-designed subject material, which is compatible with SBs, available on the market, (Sad, 2012). So it is left up to teachers to come up with appropriate material development for their students. This puts more time constraint burdens on already overloaded teachers.
Other issues the article talked about since SBs are fairly new, they did not know if the learning done with SBs is something which students will retain for long periods of time vs. traditional teaching methods. Or is the “learning” which happens with SBs just a matter of it being new technology and when the newness wears off, will scores still be higher? They felt that more research needs to be done, thus their attempt at making a scale to test students’ feelings about SBs.
NETS-T (#5) is being met by teachers continuing to improve their professional practices through the use of smart boards. From this article it clearly shows the need for more training in the use of SBs in the classroom. Teachers need to research for themselves, if it is not provided for them by the district, what is the optimum use of SBs within their teaching practices. The digital technology of SBs has many wonderful features to enhance learning for students by the use of visual, auditory, and tactile characteristics. However, most of those features are not being utilized.
I feel this article states many of the questions I have had about SBs in the classroom. I have talked with teachers/students who presently have SBs in their classrooms and this article states a clear picture of many classroom situations. Teachers and students view the SBs as a fun drawing tool only. From taking this class on technology in education, I can see many great ways to use SBs in education. However, I believe there is a large gap between the use of SBs and current teachers actually embracing it with their present teaching methods. I believe school districts needs to step up with proper training, and continued training to help teachers use the digital tool of Smart Boards in their classrooms.
Sad, S. (2012). An attitude scale for smart board use in education: Validity and reliability studies. Computers & Education, 58(3), 900-907.