How many of you guys have used a SmartBoard? It’s a pretty polarizing new technology. Some people see it as the first step toward the classroom of tomorrow. But many people I’ve spoken with see the SmartBoard more as a glitchy waste of money that looks like the late 90’s vomited on a touchscreen. Granted, only a couple people in the latter camp have actually used one before, but if derision of the SmartBoard is pretty common, it seems worth considering how a writer’s (unfair!) perception of it might affect its usefulness in a tutoring session.

The main point I’ve come up with during my research is that SmartBoards are useful because they combine the three main “modalities” of learning – visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Visual learners benefit from graphically representing ideas and viewing images. Auditory learners benefit from discussing outloud and seeing things in writing. Kinesthetic learners benefit from manipulating things physically or moving around. As I’m hoping you’ve noticed, these are all things you can do with a SmartBoard! By using a medium that appeals to all three learning styles, tutors don’t have to worry about guessing how a writer learns best and all sorts of learners can benefit from the variety SmartBoards allow.

SmartBoards can also be great tools for tutoring students who are creating multimedia projects. I just tutored a student who was part of a group making a Prezi, and I would have killed to have a big touchscreen to work on instead of trying to jump back and forth between his laptop and my pen and paper. It would be easy (scheduling aside) to get the whole group together to develop group writing skills and make notes on an actual image of the Prezi.

For my final deliverable I want to make a video or a brainshark examining the uses for the SmartBoard and’/or student perception of it. So that brings me to my question for you guys. Having heard my case, would you want to try using a SmartBoard in a tutoring session? As a tutor? How about as a writer? Why?

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