I ran into the Principal of a local private school today. Several years ago, I had worked with a class of her 6th graders to teach them how to use PowerPoint. So, I mentioned to her that I would love to come in and work with her teachers this year in a coaching type relationship. She then told me all that this tiny school had accomplished in a relatively short period of time. They regularly use video conferencing with a global partner. Labs are no longer used; instead, there are laptop carts.
Each classroom has a Smart Board. They use them to differentiate instruction and to encourage students who are tactile/kinesthetic learners to get up and interact with the content. My comment was that it was good to see them using the boards interactively. Her response was, "Of course! Otherwise, we may as well just use the LCD projector."
So, tell me, why does she get it and others don't? Why are schools buying tremendous numbers of interactive white boards and forgetting about the interactive piece? Instead, they are being used as very expensive walls or chalk boards. Teaching and learning is not being impacted. Teachers are still up in front of the room, and they are more tired at the end of the day than the students are. Unfortunately, it seems that too often we make the purchase before thinking through how we are going to use it. Professional development and a well thought out plan are the key to transformation.