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Friday, October 09, 2009

SmartBoard Clean-up…

I just finished a week long assignment in a 5th grade classroom that had THE total Uber-SmartBoard setup. This teacher is hot into the new tech classroom equipment.

SmartBoard Keyboard, SmartBoard tablet, SmartBoard stylus, SmartBoard mini-mouse and Doc-Reader.

All lesson plans, books, worksheets, videos, student selector applications, lesson videos; EVERYTHING was on the computer for use on the SmartBoard. The amazing thing was it all worked!

(He also had hard copies of the lesson plans and the teacher’s manuals for backup…just in case.)

This isn't the first time I've encountered SmartBoards. I've used them in several classes over the last couple of years. Every time I encounter one of these SmartBoard setups, there are written precautions in the plans about not treating it like an ordinary whiteboard.

Don’t use Sharpies on the SmartBoard!!
Don’t use pencils on the SmartBoard!!
Don’t use crayon on the SmartBoard!!
Don’t use ballpoint pens on the SmartBoard!!
Don’t use Dry Erase markers on the SmartBoard!!
Don’t use ANYTHING except SmartBoard pens on the SmartBoard or…ELSE!!

(See Rule #1)

So...on that LAST day (today) of the assignment, I was using the whiteboard to write something just to the left of the SmartBoard when one of the kids asked me about a question on the worksheet displayed on the SmartBoard.

You know what comes next…

I turned and wrote the number "2" while starting to explain the problem in question and…I knew it as soon as I did it. I was holding a black DryErase pen.

I didn't need the chorus of "Noooo's" from the classroom to tell me that I had just royally screwed up. I’ve never broken Rule #1 since these things started showing up in classrooms…until now!

While looking for something that might be used to clean the screen, I found a container of germicidal wipes. Luckily almost every school classroom is H1N1 phobic these days and has these things on hand to wipe down desk tops and sinks. It had a familiar odor.

Fortunately from my previous employment in HiTech, I know that Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA) is used to clean electronic equipment without using abrasives or leaving residue. I hoped that it might work on SmartBoard screw-ups without damage.

I tested a wipe on just a small spot on the screen and the marker came right off. I verified that the screen still worked over that area before erasing the rest of my dumb blunder. The board was working fine for the rest of the period.

Now, I might have gotten away without the teacher knowing how bad I screwed up but there was the small matter of those 28 little witnesses seated behind me.

I added my confession to my end of day report.

I may not have a future at this school come Monday morning.


Anonymous said...


Don't worry, once I was pissed because my SmartBoard decided its projector wasn't going to turn on for the day because it hadn't shut down completely the day before and was in "idle" mode that I just conducted my lesson as usual, using regular DE markers on it. The kids were SHOCKED because I have a sign attached to the tray of my SmartBoard that says "Don't use Dry Erase markers on the SmartBoard!" for subs. It took a loooooooooong while to get the board clean, but those alchohol wipes worked nicely, and there was no damage to the actual board.

The Bus Driver said...

I'm sure they design those boards to be cleanable in the case of an "accidental" marker stroke. In our schools, the teachers are so afraid of subs messing up the smartboard that we arent allowed to use them. I've only been allowed to use them a few times to project movies.

Judy Jacob said...

I have been following your blog for sometime... though this is my first comment here.

Thought would drop by and send you this site for your opinion before I start using it with my class.