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Thu

09

Apr

2009

The Stupid Board Needs A Dunce Cap
Thursday, 09 April 2009 04:24
by Tom Chartier

Hey there all you frustrated parents! Are you tired of your budding young Einsteins coming home from school with 50 lbs of books, homework assignments and C- test grades? Of course you are. I feel your pain. Something is amiss.

You’d think that after seven hours of in-class instruction coupled with four more hours of homework… yeah I know, it’s only supposed to take thirty minutes… our little Whiz Kids would be whizzes not computer game addicts and academic morons.

So what gives? I’ve got it! Maybe our schools have not been wasting enough money on high tech gizmos and gadgets.

Well there’s hope my friends. It’s called the Smart Board. Imagine that. But it’s all true! Step right up and your school can flush away thousands of dollars on a whole bevy of Smart Boards, the hot new educational scam.

What is so “smart” about the Smart Board? I see you are confused Mrs. Griswold. Let me show you the light. The Smart Board is “interactive!” It does everything your kid cannot do. It can even mimic your little darling’s sloppy penmanship at the touch of a finger. It can add two fractions together! Will wonders never cease? All you have to do is touch the screen and it does all the work for you. Scooter loves his computer I see. Hey, the Smart Board is right up his cordless mouse. To put it simply the Smart Board is a lot like a real computer projected onto that obsolete white board overlooking and intimidated the little tykes. W.O.W! World Of Warcraft fans will love it.

And here’s the best part. Hold onto your iPhones! The Smart Board can do everything… yes I said everything… that old-fashioned whiteboard can do! It can even make the totally incompetent “teacher” appear to be competent, without the unpleasant side effects of actual teaching! I can see the eager look in your eyes. You ask; how can my school get a Smart Board?

For a piddling cash outlay several times larger than the value of Jay Leno’s car collection, your school can be the envy of the district with a Smart Board in every classroom! Chuck those cost efficient whiteboards and smelly markers! Eject those notebooks and pencils! Time to start a fundraiser!

My son’s school has not one but seven Smart Boards! Envious? You should be. That’s the idea. And now the PTA has sent out personalized letters, with attached envelopes begging for money to buy an additional thirty-two Smart Boards. They are “shooting for the moon!” The goal is to have a Smart Board in every classroom.


Okay… let’s calculate the waste here. On the island where we are marooned, one Smart Board installed and ready to rock only costs US $5,406! Chicken feed! Thirty-two of the little babies come to a paltry sum of US $172,992. Okay, okay. That is cheaper than Jay Leno’s car collection. I’m sold! Krimoney you can snag a good repossessed ranch home in Tujunga, California for that!

But… uh… aren’t we in a worldwide depression? Don’t the classrooms already have white boards for the teachers to actually write on? Wouldn’t a real teacher simply ignore the Smart Board and “teach?” Do these high fallutin’ Smart Boards actually improve the learning of our kids? Ah… good question!

My best guess as a parent, a former teacher who comes from a family of teachers and my biggest qualification of all… a former student… is; NO! Smart Boards will do nothing to improve learning. They are Stupid Boards… at least for the schools. They are brilliant ideas for the Educational Garbage Industry. Folks will throw money away hand over fist for new fangled gadgets with lots of bells and whistles faster than a drunken gambling addict at the craps table in Las Vegas when it comes to their precious little Preciouses. There’s gold in them thar schoolrooms!

However, let’s not go on my opinion alone. I checked in with two experts on classroom learning. The first was noted educational writer and classroom teacher with decades of experience, Linda Schrock-Taylor. She concurs with me. Her view was well put: “When will the schools learn that more manipulatives between the info and the brain causes learning retention problems!” You betcha. Overload the learning brains with stimulus and they will shut down. The more complicated you make the wheel; the more things there are to go wrong. Just go out and look at all the crap under the hood of your cars. Think they’re going to last as long as an air-cooled VW? Nope. Will these $5K Smart Boards last as long as that white board? Nope. How often do you have to trash your computer and buy a new one, every two years? Are Smart Boards subject to the dreaded Blue Screen of Death? How long do you think those Smart Boards are going to hold up before they will need to be sent to the landfill… where they actually belong… and replaced at another huge expense?

Okay, so on to expert number two… my teenage son. He’s actually been exposed to the miracles of the Smart Board. I asked him if he liked it and what he thought. With sugarcoated tact he was honest: “It’s a huge waste of money.”

Hey! I like this scam all the more! Maybe I can upgrade what’s left of my portfolio and invest in Smart Boards.

On the other hand, maybe I’m being hasty with my cynicism. Maybe I should get with the program and support the PTA Smart Board drive. After all, I have a personalized letter and a donation envelope. And one cannot stop progress or a good snake oil salesman. The local PTA needs money… lots of money. Who am I to deny them? There must be something important about purchasing thirty-two Smart Boards. Oh… here it is in the letter! They want to be “the first school on the island to have a Smart Board in every classroom!!”

Oh… Now I get it! This has nothing to do with education. Silly me. It’s all about status. Well that is a worthy cause. A heap of expensive Smart Boards will really rub our elitist status in the noses of the other schools. Why not drop the pretense of… and I shudder at the thought… “education” and raise money for something even better? How about a polo field complete with well-trained polo ponies? Ok, we’ll get the Smart Boards this year and the polo field next year.

Sorry, I didn’t get it at first. I guess it’s time for me to sit in the corner with the dunce cap on. After all, I don’t know how to think since I wasn’t educated with Smart Boards. I thought the important thing was education not status. I was wrong. That’s my two cents worth. I’ll be more than happy to help out and donate it to the PTA Smart Board drive.
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IS said:

0
...
Someone should step in and do something about this, as we, tax-paying citizens, are providing money for these boards. Down here in the south, some "Einstein" thought it would be a great idea to start an initiative to put a smart board in every room of each elementary school. You tell me, why would a kindergarten class need a smart board? Is a smart board really necessary in an elementary school? It's an outrage. And after wasting thousands and thousands of dollars we are sitting here wondering why the public education system here in the U.S is one of the lowest in the developed world.
 
September 06, 2009
Votes: +0

a frustrated person said:

0
Ugh...
I go to middle school and the whole school just finished putting a smart board in every classroom. My school has about a hundred classrooms, and I am not exadurating at all. About a week ago there was a power out and just about every single stupid board in the school blew out and the school actually spent thousands of dollars to replace them! Along with that, like IS said, we are being taxed to pay for these retarded things, and, I know that this is irrevilant, but the reason our taxis are so high and it is all going to waste is because politicions don't care. They don't ahve to pay taxes. They don't have to pay social seccurity or health insurance or any of it for the rest of their lives as long as they were a politician for a set amount of years. They all get payed a crazy amount of money and are rich. Some of them say what the hell, it doesn't affect us so lets boost the taxes so we could donate it all to an opposing country. Then lets gived the rest to huge corperations, and say that the government is running out of money so that we could rase the taxes even hight. Others are just so rich and out of touch that they think that everyone has the amount of money to afford all this. One politician was asked what he thought was a middle class citizen, and he said anyone who takes home (not incuding what was taxed off) under a million dollars a year!!!!! The government is so out of touch they don't even give a **** about anyone except themselves.
 
March 10, 2010
Votes: +0

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