Socrates: Excuse me, but someone left a large ugly plastic thing in my classroom. I tripped over one of the hanging wires.
Staff: Socrates, that’s your new smartboard. Tomorrow is a faculty development day so you can learn how to use it.
Socrates: What am I going to use it for? Separate the talkers? Plato and Xenophon are so chatty.
Staff: It’s the latest technology that delivers quality instruction to your students.
Socrates: Am I getting fired?
Staff: No, Socrates. It doesn’t replace you. It makes your job easier.
Socrates: That’s great! Since my students got laptops and smartphones, my job has been so hard. Is it an internet blocker?
Staff: No, it has internet. And it can display what’s on your laptop.
Socrates: What would I display on the “smart” board? (uses air quotes)
Staff: Your class notes. You don’t have to waste time writing on the board. Or erasing it. You can make a slideshow.
Socrates: I’m more of a question-asker. If I made a slideshow, why not just send it to the students. Then I wouldn’t have to come to work.
Staff: There’s a lot of information out there, Socrates. Your students need access to that information.
Socrates: What kind of information? This is a Great Books class, and they all have copies of both books.
Staff: I don’t know. But there’s a lot of good audio visuals that other teachers have made. Worksheets. Fun stuff that the students will enjoy. Interactive.
Socrates: That sounds distracting from the important questions.
Staff: Students gets bored easily these days; the smartboard keeps their attention.
Socrates: So you’re telling me that you’ve put a giant smartphone in my classroom?
Staff: Socrates, you know that technology is neutral. It all depends on how you use it. You can show your students great art.
Socrates: I enjoy seeing it in person.
Staff: Now you don’t have to. Our field trip budget is a little tight after purchasing these smartboards; you’ll need to do a virtual visit instead.
Socrates: What if I decide not to use the smartboard?
Staff: Oh, you have to. Parents are so impressed when they tour the school and see the smartboards. They always nod approvingly. It makes us look so up-to-date.
Socrates: Can I ask you a question?
Staff: You just did.
Socrates: If teaching isn’t dispensing quality instruction, but communicating ideas from one soul to another, does this smartboard make my job easier or harder?
Staff: I don’t know, Socrates, I’m not a philosopher. I’m the technology integrator. All I know is that you have to learn how to use this thing before your VenWeb training.
Socrates: What is VenWeb?
Staff: It’s a program that you spend hours on each day updating your students’ attendance, assignments, and grades.
Socrates: Goes to the faculty lounge to look for hemlock.