Welcome to Laurie Goodman's blog. I use this space to share news and opinions about education and schools in Ridgewood, the state of New Jersey and the nation, in addition to other issues I'm personally interested in. I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, questions or opinions, too, by posting comments on any blog entry. Please observe basic courtesy -- keep your comments focused on issues, no personal attacks or bullying, please. Contact me directly at: lauriegood@mac.com

Monday, March 30, 2009

SmartBoards and technology spending

Updated 3/31/09 11:22 AM

At last Monday’s meeting of the Board of Education, many of the comments at the microphone included a reference to “SmartBoards” and related technology supplies. Students and parents lamented the fact that the district was planning to spend money on SmartBoards instead of art or coaches. I’m not sure what prompted those comments. To be sure, Mr. DiSimone did mention supplies for things such as SmartBoards and other classroom technology (I guess that means computers…maybe projectors…overheads…) in explaining the “Media Services/Library” line of the budget. He said the line, which for 2009-2010 is $1,888,382, included library books and supplies and also technology supplies such as light bulbs for SmartBoards. But the idea that the district is taking spending money on SmartBoards or other technology instead of funding the art supervisor position or the assistant coaches is completely false.

To my knowledge, there are five or six SmartBoards at Ridgewood High School (and a few others in the elementary and middle schools). The HSA donated five SmartBoards to the high school. The RHS HSA created a Development Committee and asked Principal Jack Lorenz what his school needed. Mr. Lorenz, in consultation with teachers, said SmartBoards – I believe he has said his goal is to put SmartBoards in half the classrooms at RHS. He feels the SmartBoard technology will greatly enhance teaching and learning, and the parents of the HSA decided to support that goal.

(FYI, a SmartBoard is an interactive whiteboard that connects to a computer and digital projector and is used to engage students of all learning styles. Teachers and students can control computer applications, write notes, pull up charts and images, search the Internet, play videos, and print and save everything. Each SmartBoard costs about $5,000.)

So, let's clear this up: my opinion is that SmartBoards are great technology. But the fact is that the budget does not include plans to purchase SmartBoards.


Laurie said...

What a coincidence: article in the Bergen Record today about SmartBoards and how they engage students for better learning. Here's the link:

Anonymous said...

Typical Ridgewood behavior. Like parents don't already pay enough, we are raising money as if our kids attended a private school to install "smart boards." Simply pathetic.

Laurie said...

I disagree. Doesn't it seem more "fair" to give parents the option to donate for certain things? If you don't like SmartBoards, don't donate. The funds were raised in a very targeted and simple drive: please donate for SmartBoards (and last year the same committee raised funds for additional laptops). This wasn't a case where funds were raised with no specific goal, and then distributed by a committee. I guess I don't understand your objection.