Promethean Boards are not the right step towards integrating technology into classrooms
Integrating technology in classrooms sounds groundbreaking, but the reality is not so glamourous. When Promethean boards started popping up in classrooms all around Montgomery County in 2008, it sounded like the perfect technology - designed to make learning interactive and to bring the fresh face of the 21st century to the classroom. But eight years later, those shiny dreams have come up short. Promethean boards are a great idea but have too many flaws to be effective.
While Promethean boards were designed to effectively integrate technology into classrooms, they don't often work. Science teacher Amy Ferguson has had an unusable Promethean Board since the beginning of the year due to an issue with her Promethean board pen. Just figuring out the problem with why the board was malfunctioning took three weeks. "It's just really frustrating how often the things break and how often I have to do something about it in order to make it function correctly," she says. In the meantime, she uses the whiteboard, which brings its own challenges since the Promethean board takes up most of the whiteboard space. If a Promethean board priced at around $1,500 takes weeks to fix, it is not being used effectively. And if the board breaks, the teacher is out of options as the board usually takes up most of the whiteboard. Promethean boards simply do not work well as a teaching tool.
One study that took place in a small city school district in northern Ohio found that there was only a small difference in student achievement between students with teachers that used interactive whiteboards and students with teachers that did not in math and language arts classes. The only statistically significant differences in student achievement are between grade levels, which led the authors of the studies to conclude, along with other pointing evidence, that the way the interactive whiteboards are used determines their effectiveness. Technology itself does not improve student achievement; how technology is used by teachers does. Considering that teachers like Ferguson do not feel like they were adequately trained on how to use it, it is the Promethean boards that are mostly ineffective.
The ineffectiveness of Promethean boards doesn't mean that all technology is useless in helping students. Chromebooks are a more helpful solution to adding technology to classrooms because the students can directly interact with technology and it increases their access to information. Virtual reality is another interactive technology that could better engage students in a lesson than Promethean boards. Expanding students' access to knowledge and giving them a broader scope of information is a way that technology can actually help in the classroom.
Amy Forsbacka. Hi, I'm Amy. I love drinking coffee, trying tasty new foods and doing yoga. I also enjoy running and relaxing. More »