Smartboards are no stranger to students who have been in classrooms for the last decade, however with new tech on the market, the Foothills School Division is looking to replace them.

Director of Learning Technologies for the Foothills School Division Lyle Roberts says the boards in some classrooms have been around for over a decade.

"The Smartboards and projectors, the existing ones in the school division are aging, they are anywhere between 8-11 years old. Those particular devices, especially projectors and Smartboards do wear out over time."

The school board has been aware of the reduced performance of the Smartboards for a few years now and Roberts says they've only recently found an alternative.

"We have a plan in place right now, to replace all the Smartboards in the school division [with new Smartboards], however at the same time, we were looking around for devices we could use in place of them."

Roberts says recently the board found its solution.

"When we started looking after August, the prices started to drop drastically because there was a price war on between Smart Technologies and a couple of the other vendors for what was called an 'Interactive Television'. It basically replaces the exact functionality of the existing Smartboards, and gives us some extra functionality as well."

Those who have been out of a classroom for awhile might wonder why technology is replacing simple resources such as chalkboards and whiteboards.

Roberts says keeping on top of this new technology is important for students, who face an ever changing digital landscape.

"They're a teaching device, it allows digital media and digital resources to be displayed to the students. You can't do that on a regular whiteboard or a chalkboard. For example video, Microsoft Word documents, web pages and the instant information displayed on them. The internet has been a big boon between classrooms across the province and across the world because it gives you access to instant information. You can't get that information without something to display it on. What we are doing is bringing interactive televisions in, we can display anything digitally on that board, even live video and conferences between classrooms."

So when can classrooms in High River and Okotoks expect to see this new technology in classrooms?

Roberts says as early as the next school year.

"In 2019-2020, Big Rock school in Okotoks, Senator Riley in High River and Westmount School in Okotoks."


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