Removing Barriers and Hurdles

Remember when SmartBoards were all the rage?

Schools rushed to get these to every school, sometimes because they saw them as beneficial, and sometimes because the school across the way wanted them.

I will be the first to admit, I was on the SmartBoard train.  To this day, I still believe that every learning space should have access to a projector (or some type of screen), and audio. These are absolutes.  But did we need a SmartBoard?  I was an advocate at a much different time in my career, while others thought they were nothing more than a glorified way to lecture.  This is always a good reminder of where I have come from in my thinking, but also to empathize that people are at different places.

But this isn’t about the validity of SmartBoards. This is about the process of implementation.

Do you remember the “portable SmartBoard”? The hope was that each teacher would get a chance to use this, but the slightest bump of the board or the projector would lead you to the dreaded recalibration process.  You would have to stop right in the middle of the class to set up this board.

The majority of people hated the process, but some didn’t have an issue with jumping the hurdle. The portable SmartBoard that was meant to be used by many, was kept in the room of the few because only a few people would jump this step.

Yet, when the SmartBoards were mounted, use went up.  No pulling in on the cart, no setting up, and no recalibration. It was there and ready to go.

PLEASE!!! Do not take this as a pro-SmartBoard post.

This is a pro-remove-the-barriers post.

The more hoops people have to jump through, the more people you lose along the way.

If you want something happening in the classroom, remove every barrier you can to make it the norm, not the exception.

SmartBoards might not have been (or be) the best learning tool, but it doesn’t mean we couldn’t learn something from the process.

Source: George Couros

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