Breakthroughs in Educational Technology – From the Humble Blackboard to the Indispensable Smartboard

If you enjoy wandering around the Internet in search of insights into the explosion in the use of technology in traditional classrooms and industrial settings, YouTube should make you feel like the “kid in the candy store.”

On a recent visit, we stumbled across something interesting in a video entitled A Vision of Students Today. A graphic towards the end of the video displayed the following comment about a revolutionary breakthrough in educational technology in the classroom. Here is the quote:

  • The inventor of the system deserves to be ranked among the best contributors to learning and science, if not the greatest benefactors of mankind.

The author of the statement was an American educator named Josiah Bumstead. The year was 1841. And what was the “system” of which he spoke? The humble blackboard/chalkboard!

One could speculate that as far back as the time of the Ancient Egyptians, a few people responsible for teaching realized the value in using visuals in the classrooms of the day, but the technology simply was not available. Pigments and wall drawings took time.

In that context, consider how revolutionary the advent of the chalkboard was. It freed good teachers from the prison of their lecture notes and allowed them to “think on their feet.”

If you think back over the course of your life to the teachers who inspired you, among them there was surely one or more who were veritable wizards at the chalkboard.

They dazzled us with their enthusiasm and the speed with which they displayed their words of wisdom for all to see. What’s more, from time to time they actually asked for our input. Remember the thrill you felt the first time your own words appeared on the chalkboard? Good teachers knew not to filter what we had to say. They accepted our thoughts and up they went on the board. And great teachers gave us the ultimate thrill – the opportunity to write on the chalkboard ourselves.

It has long been an axiom of educational practice that seeing words as well as hearing them leads to better learning. Today, research on how the brain learns confirms what many have believed for more than one hundred years – active involvement of students in the learning process facilitates learning.

In its day, your own words appearing on a blackboard was a significant facilitator. Brain-based research now tells us colors and sounds enhance visuals even further. Although the cleaner and more visually appealing eraser board long ago replaced the chalkboard, it still lacks the appeal of a well-designed PowerPoint presentation. Or does it?

PowerPoint presentations with the most dazzling graphics and sounds imaginable can still suffer from one major drawback – whose words appear in the presentation? In effect, the implication here is that in at least one aspect, students scribbling their own thoughts on an eraser board is superior to a pre-prepared power point presentation.

And today we have the twenty-first century version of the chalkboard available to us – the Smartboard. In essence, it’s a chalkboard linked to a computer. If you have never heard of one, or seen what they can do, pay a visit to YouTube and be prepared to be amazed.

New Teacher Tips – How Teachers Can Use Educational Technology Successfully

Educator, trainer, and presenter, Thomas Crawford talks about educational technology and how new and seasoned teachers can start using it more effectively in their classrooms.


Hello Thomas, I want to thank you so much for taking time to take part in this interview. You just came back from the blog conference in Seattle. Can you give our readers a conference brief on some new insights on educational technology happening for new and seasoned teachers? The conference was the T + L (Technology and Learning) event by the NSBA.


Schools are moving very quickly into the 21st century. The T+L conference sponsored by the National School Board Association (NSBA) allows educators, administrators and school board members to have access to the most current and insightful technology available to them. It is more than a vendor fair. It is an opportunity to share and discuss innovations in information technology through round table discussions and forums.


What advice can you give new and seasoned teachers who are just starting to express an interest in using educational technology, but don’t feel 100% comfortable using it?


Teachers can learn the technology by using it and not being scared from it, which makes things a lot easier. We tell our students that practice makes perfect. The same goes for us. I always tell teachers to ask for help if they need it.

Teachers should spend time getting to know any online learning resource or computer program before implementing it in their classrooms. Therefore, practice and asking questions is the key to adapting with any new form of technological instruction. Start small and use your colleagues as resources


In many of the schools I teach, I see whiteboards collecting dust and teachers are simply not using them. Can you explain why this is so? What are some alternatives?


Often, whiteboards are misused. They become a very expensive display device and their potential is not maximized. In addition, whiteboards loose a lot of interactivity and student engagement because the placement of the whiteboard. In many elementary classrooms it is often too high and out of students reach. As a result, students are not engaged and discipline problems can occur. There are some cost effective ways to deal with the issue by using a projector, wireless slate. This way, the teacher can move around the classroom and still maintain some degree of interactive control.


You spent a great deal of time in London working with some of the online educational resources. What are your observations and insights about how teachers use educational technology? How can US teachers improve their understanding of information technology in the classroom?


I worked in a primary school in London. Teachers like to share and they like things that are free or inexpensive. In the UK there is an abundance of teacher created web based resources that are readily available. The government even put together free web based resources for teachers. The more teachers used these resources, the more confident they became about creating their own. Here in the US, teachers can experiment with different resources from around the world to gain understanding of how the Internet and its resources can be used effectively in our own classrooms. We can learn a lot form what International organizations such as ISTE and BECTA (British Educational Communications and Technology Agency) have to offer.


What makes an instructional design successful in terms of its ability to engage learners?


A successful instructional design is one that addresses all the needs of the students and has a multi-sensory approach. By this I mean it has a highly interactive web based activities, audio-video components at the very least, and is also easy to follow, understand and navigate.


Please share with our teachers the features of your website and how teachers can differentiate their instruction to cater to English language learners, (ELLs) group instruction and working with students of special needs. What makes it user-friendly and accessible for ALL teachers?


In addition to curriculum from a host of content providers that include full courses with assessments and individual learning objects, the IQity platform allows teachers to custom design classroom assignments, lesson plans or units to meet the needs of individualized learning style of single students, small group and large mixed ability classes.

In fact, custom designing lesson plans helps with the classroom management piece by catering to individualized instruction. Teachers can design multiple assignments based on a students IEP. There are several hundred schools using our platform successfully with positive results. Schools use IQity as a platform for a full time digital school, additional course offering and even credit recovery.


Great! Well, thanks very much Thomas for this interview.

Thomas: It was my pleasure and I hope new and seasoned teachers alike find this information useful.

Education Technology

It is a fascinating time for schooling and technology. Educational technology is persistently enhancing and more typical spot within the classroom. Google 21st Century Classroom Presentation. You are going to come across universities moving to a various kind of surroundings. Is this great? Are there difficulties with adding interactivity and engaging materials inside the school room? These issues will not be answered in this article. This article is intended to educate you on what technologies is presently obtainable for schools. We are also going to stick using the 21st Century Class theme.

Engineering is the branch of understanding that deals with developing and utilizing technical procedures, such as resources and crafts, for interacting with existence, society, as well as the surroundings. Personal computers have certainly altered the way folks do just about anything, including how they manage private affairs, communicate; operate corporations, and how our youngsters are taught.

Document cameras, projectors and computers are turning out to be typical spot in the classroom. Document cameras are an amazing piece of technology utilized in education today. Many universities nonetheless use transparencies and overhead projectors. Projectors and interactive whiteboards are a should ever because the World Wide Web became obtainable. Multimedia, simulations, videos, maps, study, and so forth… Projectors allow for whole class understanding and engaging discussions that extend from a specific subject or skill.

Educators need to realize that student is much more secure typing up a paragraph around the computer instead of writing it over a piece of paper. These educators have to turn out to be component of the engineering revolution in order to be capable to integrate training technologies into their classrooms. Blogging, web layout, movie conferencing and joining on the web communities are just some of the methods educators can turn out to be much more familiar using the internet and technology era.

With a lot of new on the internet etiquette principles, preserving up with all the children becomes pretty a process for anyone who operates with them over an every day basis. Numerous times, college students tend to be more technologically innovative than the leader from the class. This poses a trouble in many ways. Teachers must step up for the challenge of attempting to stay a single step ahead from the game by reading trade journals and asking technology directors within their district for your newest technology news. Becoming educated about trends will keep adults prepared to approach this new studying avenue with confidence.

“Technically speaking,” academic technology, at times referred to as studying technology, is the study and practice of teaching and improving capabilities by building, using, and administering ideal technological processes and resources. Whether or not the chosen medium is a G.P.S device, an academic video clip, a metal detector, or even a computer, academic engineering provides for an enormous amount of interactivity. It permits faculty and college students to participate in dynamic demonstrations, simulations, and designs that can be utilized to explore and check theories. Experience free of charge to check out the web site Education Technology.