Smart Boards Leaving Chalkboards in the Dust

Posted on

Title: Smart Boards Leaving Chalkboards in the Dust

Research Question: I would like to research how technology has changed what’s going on in classrooms in the United States from the 1950s to today. Particularly, I would like to focus on how and why chalkboards have been replaced by Smart Boards in the United States. In addition I would like to see how teachers and students feel about this. Has this transition improved learning, sparked interest for students, etc? I first thought about Smart Boards replacing chalkboards when I talked to my sister back in Brooklyn, New York. She is currently in her senior year of high school (she goes to a small, all girl, Catholic school). She was telling me how now most of the math teachers are using Smart Boards instead of chalk boards. When I left that school in 2010 I remember a few math teachers using Smart Boards.

Why? I think this is important to research about because we are living in an age where technology is taking over. I wanted to see how technology is doing in classrooms. I could have chosen computers, but I feel that I know less about chalkboards and Smart Boards. I want to become a math teacher and so it would be nice to know how the instruments teachers use are changing.

Research Strategy: I first went to the Trinity College Library homepage. Then I looked under Trinity Online Resources (TOR) and looked under Educational Studies. Then under the results, I looked under “News.” I then went to Lexis Nexis Academic and typed in “chalkboards and smartboards in secondary education” in the search box and looked under Newspapers.

I used Google for the rest of my search. I typed in things like:

Chalkboards and Smart Boards in the U.S.

From Chalkboards to Smart Boards

Books on chalkboards and white boards

History of chalkboards

History of Smart Boards

For the last 2 searches, “History of Chalkboards” and “History of Smart Boards” I went to the Wikipedia page, not with the intention of using Wikipedia as a source, but to look at what sources they cited. I then looked at ones I thought were appropriate.


“About Blackboards – Blackboard Technology and Chalkboard History Advances.” Ergo in Demand, n.d.

(This source talks about the history of chalk boards).

Baburajan, Rajani. “Education Technology News: U.S. the Largest Adopter of White Boards: Smart Technologies.”, July 20, 2009.

(This source shows an interview with Terry Wason, manager, CEE, Russia and India. This source talks about how Smart Boards are becoming very popular in the United States.)

Bader, Daniel. “From Chalk Boards to SMART Boards: Local Schools 2.0.” Http://, February 24, 2012.

(This source talks about how technology is being used in the classroom.)

“Georgia Pacific Newsroom – UPDATE: From Chalkboards to Smartboards.” Georgia-Pacific News, December 21, 2011.

(A generous donation was allowed for classrooms in Choctaw County to get Smart Boards. This source talks about how Smart Boards will help students.)

Kuster, Judith. “No More Chalkboards: Interactive Whiteboards.” American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA), August 30, 2011.

(This source talks about the benefits professors have in using Smart Boards).

Liebrecht, Deia. “West Area Gets Smart With Technology.”, November 27, 2007.

(This source talks about the benefits Smart Boards have for students.)

Manzo, Kathleen Kennedy. “Whiteboards’ Impact on Teaching Seen as Uneven.” Digital Directions, January 8, 2010.

(Advocates and a couple critics of Smart Boards talk about how they feel about them).

Miller, Patty. “LexisNexis® Academic & Library Solutions.” Lexis Nexis, December 20, 2010.

(This is source is about a public school’s transition to using Smart Boards. The procedures of making the change is talked about. The cost is talked about as well.)

2 thoughts on “Smart Boards Leaving Chalkboards in the Dust”

  1. My advice is to do a bit more research to help you decide where the best “middle-ground” is between your very broad question (how has technology changed in classrooms since the 1950s?) and the other question, which may be too narrow for this assignment (How and why have SmartBoards replaced chalkboards in US classrooms?). For example, the best sources you’ve identified so far on SmartBoard usage (such as Manzo 201o in Digital Directions/Ed Week) are still focusing narrowly on a particular tool, not the broader “change over time” question that we’d love to see, because it’s still a very new type of technology.

    So look more for book-length studies of technology in education from an historical point of view, such as Larry Cuban’s Teachers and machines : the classroom use of technology since 1920, or Oversold and underused: computers in the classroom. Using one or both of these as a base for your “change over time” analysis might help you to break newer ground on newer tools (like SmartBoards). Doing so might allow you to modify your research question into something more like this:
    alternative RQ 1) Historian Larry Cuban has argued X about computers in classrooms over time. Does this argument also apply to the shift from chalkboards to SmartBoards, or not?

    After you’ve built a stronger foundation for this historical analysis, look into other databases specifically for research studies about “interactive whiteboards” (a more general term than SmartBoards).

  2. Priyanka, you emailed to explain that you had only found two research articles on the effects of SmartBoards on students, and asked how you should deal with this issue. But even if you had found ten articles about the effects of SmartBoards on students, that still would have been too narrow a question for this assignment, because it asks you to explore change/continuity over time.

    Therefore, I recommend that you immerse yourself in the broad question that historian Larry Cuban discusses in the sources mentioned above, namely: Has the introduction of technology (such as computers) into classrooms changed how teachers taught in recent decades, and do newer tools like SmartBoards fit — or break — this pattern? In other words, consider using Cuban (or other historically-minded writers) to frame the broader question and provide background about other tech innovations, and use recent evidence about SmartBoards as a test case.

    Remember, the way that you frame the research question is very important. Asking “does technology change how teachers teach?” is a different question than “does technology increase student learning?” Both are interesting questions, and they’re closely related, but they’re not the same thing. Decide how YOU wish to frame your research question.

Comments are closed.