Thursday, August 24, 2017

Our New Promethean Boards

The Promethean boards were installed in our rooms last week. Today we were given a few hours training on them.

I haven't yet touched the board in my room. I wasn't sure if it was ready and I had no idea what it could do our how to do the things it could do. Besides, I've seen them at other schools in the past, and we've had a portable one for years. While they looked interesting, and there were technologically advanced things I watched teachers do on them, they seemed kind of cumbersome. They were interesting, but not really impressive.

But after our training today - Wow! They've made some major technological advances in the past few years, and these babies rock! They are giant touch screens. They are monster-sized tablets. They are computer monitors. They are computers in their own right with thousands of available educational lessons and apps. You can also download things from your classroom computer or your phone onto your Promethean board. Students can work on it from their district-supplied laptops.

Teachers can use them to create and give lessons and tests, show static and moving displays, play educational videos, and probably do lots more stuff that I'm not even aware of yet because I just learned about them today, and we only spent 2 1/2 hours at the workshop.

My new Promethean board is bright, and shiny, and new, and computerized, and I can't wait to get back into my classroom to begin exploring all the  things this baby can do. And all those things I've been saying over the years eschewing classroom technology because it hasn't ever and it won't ever enhance student achievement - forget it all. I've changed my mind. These are the greatest educational tool since avocado toast.

Hmm, that was not just a mixed metaphor, it was a mixed-up metaphor. What I meant was, due to the incredible "cool" factor of the Promethean board, I want to be wrong. I want this computerized behemoth to actually lead to greater student achievement. That would make my life and the lives of my students so much easier and more pleasant.

I know that students will be much more engaged because we all become much more engaged looking at a computer screen than we do looking at paper.

However . . .

I also know that this will be another educational boondoggle. Nobody would ever try and convince us that putting a young athlete in front of a computer to play Madden NFL will improve his football skills. That only comes form lots of hard work in the gym and on the field. That's how academic achievement works too. Pick up that pencil. Apply it to the paper. Get those hand and arm muscles moving and sending messages to the brain.

When that pencil wears out, get another one. Make sure there are stacks of paper. Work hard.

Remaining hypnotized in front of a computer screen is still not the way and never will be the way students learn. Will the educational establishment ever learn that lesson?

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