Classrooms at P.S. 105 just got a little smarter, thanks to two city councilmen.
Councilmen Joel Rivera and Jimmy Vacca visited the school on 725 Brady Avenue on Friday, May 20 to officially unveil 15 new SMART Boards. The funding for the boards came out of each councilman’s budget.
For those who have not set foot inside a classroom in the past five years, SMART Boards are interactive screens that are replacing chalkboards and whiteboards in schools. They use touch screen technology, can play media, and are compatible with personal computers.
Fifty-two of P.S. 105’s 63 classrooms are now equipped with SMART Boards. The school goes from kindergarten through fifth grade and has a total of about 1,500 students. It is the largest K-5 school in the Bronx.
“I feel like we’ve made 20 years of progress in the last five years,” said Ppincipal Chris Eustace. “They make the classroom interactive.”
A big advantage of SMART Boards is that they help engage a generation of students that grew-up on computers and video games, while still keeping them focused on learning.
Vacca told a class of fourth graders that the technology should be a tool, not a crutch.
“I like technology when it makes things harder for students,” Vacca said. “Not when it makes things easier.”
For some teachers who have had to adapt to the new technology, the SMART Boards did make things harder, at first.
“Most of the teachers are very open to it,” said P.S. 105 technology coordinator Maggie Horgan. “The ones that were iffy love it now. It makes teaching so much easier because the students love it.”
Principals and teachers can submit lists of what they need at their schools and according to Rivera, “SMART Boards have been popping up for a number of years.”
He believes the most important part about having an up-to-date school is that it gives students the chance to maximize their talents.
“It’s about making sure kids get to use the best of technology,” Rivera said. “You never know. You might have another Steve Jobs or Bill Gates in these classrooms. This technology becomes a hook for them.”
SMART Boards were first developed in the early 90s by Canada-based SMART technologies but have become common within the past five to ten years.
Rivera has also been working on a pilot program that will give middle school students iPads