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A few years back I taught in a lab equipped with a SMART Board. I typically only used it as a regular whiteboard and the only benefit I could identify was that I didn't finish every lesson with ink on my fingers from absentmindedly erasing the odd illegible letter here and there.

On the downside, it was something of an attractive nuisance for the kids with shorter attention spans, and writing on it was less precise and natural than writing with an ink marker. On balance I would probably have gotten rid of it, given the choice.

Now I am being offered the chance to have a SMART Board installed in my lab. I can't think of how it could really be useful in teaching CS but then I am a bit of a Luddite when it comes to ed tech in general.

My curriculum focuses on web design (HTML/CSS/JS) and I am looking at bringing in Scratch and/or Python.

So am I wrong about it just being a fancy, overpriced wall hanging? Are there actual uses or benefits of a SMART Board in teaching CS that I'm just not seeing? How have you used SMART Boards in your classes?

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  • $\begingroup$ Do you have a projector at the moment, or just a whiteboard? If the choice is whiteboard vs SMART board, it's different to projector vs SMART board, of course. $\endgroup$ – Aurora0001 Jul 5 '17 at 18:49
  • $\begingroup$ A similar question about when a blackboard should be used instead of a projector is here. $\endgroup$ – thesecretmaster Jul 5 '17 at 20:46
  • $\begingroup$ I currently have a whiteboard and a projector which projects onto another whiteboard. $\endgroup$ – Neal Zupancic Jul 6 '17 at 9:10
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I've been in rooms with smartboards that aren't dry erase marker safe which means if the smartboard goes down the board space is lost.

I've never used a smartboard but think I get the most bang for the buck with a projector onto a whiteboard. We can project sites, code, etc and also annotate by writing on the board directly (although the annotations can't easily be saved other than by taking a picture).

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  • $\begingroup$ Now that's one benefit I had forgotten about the SMART board, and perhaps it's only benefit over a whiteboard & projector combination. The annotations can be saved as an image, or series of images, on the computer that controls the board. The resultant image(s) can be edited in Paint, etc., later. $\endgroup$ – Gypsy Spellweaver Jul 6 '17 at 6:43
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I had a smart board at previous school. I used it when we did scratch, and it worked fairly well for that. Not as useful when teaching typed languages. But the screen was pretty small relative to the size of my room so it was tough to see from the back of the room.

My room now doesn't have a smart board, but has a very large projector screen and it's way better because it's way bigger.

Although, I do sort of miss the smart board when kids present projects. It was great for demoing game projects.

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Although you may think mine is a less than serious answer, the best example I have seen for the use of a smart-board in computer science is in a video from De Pauw University, when they implement a time machine to explain program code debugging.

I just love it, and show it to my students every year!

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