Interactive white boards have changed the face of education. Smart Boards, a popular brand of interactive white boards, are popping up in many educational settings, and while some teachers sing their praises, others are frustrated with some of their disadvantages. While Smart Boards are a widely used technology in the modern classroom, these interactive white boards do have some disadvantages.
Most teachers need to be trained before they're ready to incorporate Smart Board technologies into their classroom lesson plans. Oftentimes, these trainings require a specialist from outside of the district, which can cost money. Teachers will either need to donate their free time to learn how to use the machines, or districts will have to pay them for additional hours spent on-site.
Some teachers will pick up the program fairly quickly, but other, less technologically advanced teachers, could have difficulty learning and using the new concepts. Smart Technologies boasts several educational programs, including its Notebook lesson activities, Lesson Activity toolkit and Smart Response question sets. Smart Technologies, though, claims that it offers technical support to assist teachers.
The fear of many districts, though, is that these technologies will be too overwhelming for some teachers, despite the promise of technological help, and they will simply not use the boards after the districts spent the money on purchasing and installation.
According to "SMART Boards in the Classroom: The Influence of Interactive Boards in Education," because they're pieces of electronic equipment, Smart Boards require maintenance to make sure they're running appropriately. Districts or schools, then, will most likely have to hire additional technology support personnel, particularly if teachers aren't familiar with using a Smart Board. In addition, Smart Technologies periodically releases updates, and educators will need to know how to find, install and use these updates.
Another disadvantage when it comes to maintenance is that a Smart Board's screen can be damaged with excessive use and wear.
Smart Boards take work to install. Usually, they have to be installed by a computer or technology specialist, and if a district doesn't have these on staff, they can be expensive to hire and might not be available when they're needed.
Smart Boards cost a considerable amount of money, and this can be a problem for school districts that are already low on funds or for smaller or rural districts. As of 2010, basic Smart Board models cost just under £650, but many models cost more.