When I first saw SMART boards introduce I was a freshman and in one of the two classrooms in the whole school to get one (at this time, only about 5 teachers had projectors in their class that they had to purchase themselves, the rest used overhead projectors). I thought “how cool, a board that connects to the internet? The possibilities for this could be endless!” I soon realized however, that it was basically just being used as whiteboard and a way for us to laugh at everyone’s first grade handwriting on the thing.
The problem with this wasn’t a design flaw, it was a flaw in the lesson plan, and possibly the education system as a whole. The board was given to the most senior teacher at our school. I assume that the administration thought that since she had the most experience, it would be easiest for her to implement. The problem here that wasn’t realized is that her lesson plans were mostly set for the past 20 years, with a few minor changes as the years went on. The board didn’t become the device with endless possibilities that we all thought, it was just implemented as a regular board to her, with a few movie clips here and there. It was still just another artifact that would be used for the same processes, experiences, systems, and overall culture to be expressed on.
The problem with technology being implemented in schools usually doesn’t stem around the learning curve of the technology, or how advanced it is, it derives from the lesson plans and teaching style at hand, which in turn is a product of the overall culture of our education system. Our experiences have shaped how we teach and certain modes of teaching have been locked into our culture for hundreds of years. The one teacher, multiple student, lecture style of learning itself is a process that puts certain limitations on lesson plans, activities, and overall creativity. Deviating from the norm with in this style of teaching makes it more difficult to implement changes and overall decreases the likely hood that these changes will be successfully implemented at all.