Aug
24
2008

by

Hurry up & Wait – My New Interactive Whiteboard: Part II

So, I had my online training.  I met the Whiteboard sales guy in my classroom to discuss where the board is to be mounted.  I talked with my principal to develop an interactive whiteboard presentation during our first staff development in an attempt to drum up excitement amongst the somewhat less-than-tech-enthused staff.  I spent time over my summer developing my own curriculum for the first quarter: pulling out my books, pacing my units, and choosing those individual static lessons that I will expand into Interactive board lessons.  

It wasn’t long, however, that I began to suspect I had wasted my time.  The odor of bullshit was in the air…

 

 

It all began when I eagerly met the sales guy in my classroom for the board’s fitting. My excitement was immediately given a reality check because that was when he first mentioned the possibility that we wouldn’t have our boards for the first two weeks of school, “or so.”  My happy anticipation for the opportunity to use 21st Century tools in my ELA classroom descended from Defcon 1 to 3.  He mentioned something about being booked, his kid starting Kindergarten, and other such reasons that he wouldn’t get the boards to us by our deadline.  

In fact, I have since heard a rumor that our actual date to receive the whiteboards will be more like 2 1/2 months from the start of school. Thus, the free time I have had to create lessons for the first quarter has been wasted and the lessons that I have created are null and void.  In addition, when I do receive the board I will have had no time (and, I bet you, no prior heads-up notice in advance) to prep lessons to use immediately.  What the delay will be between installment and actual use will be based on what I can develop in my free time.  Down my excitement goes to Defcon 4, combined with a whole lot of “harrumphing.”   

This all actually got me thinking about deadlines, timelines, and the question of private industry buy-in in support of the educational system.  We in education are never surprised as to the slow, almost Pangaea-pace that schools, districts, and the state moves in order to get anything done.  But I can’t help but wonder about whether private industries work the same.  

I mean, if I were the CEO of a corporation rather than of a classroom, would I have received my board within 24 hours?  Or, once again, did my enthusiasm and I get betrayed by our own profession?  Did the district not get the paperwork out on time?  Did a contract that needed to get signed sit on a desk through the summer?  Or, which is equally possible, when faced with a salesman with apologies and excuses, did we cave like the Florence Nightingales that many of us seem to be and say, “Oh, it’s alright.  Just get it to us when you can.”  

In business, it’s, “Can you get it to us by our deadline?  No?  Well, then, we’ll be talking to your competitor.” But in education, we seem so grateful to be working with private industries that we demean our own money by treating ourselves like we don’t deserve to be exact with our requirements.  One year I got new carpets installed because the ones I had were 30 years old and frayed like Miss Havershim’s hemline.  The workers left it unfinished, but the school didn’t pursue it because it was “good enough.”

So how can I blame the whiteboard company when there is evidence to prove that somewhere, in the district, the ball was dropped or not insisted upon?  There are times, after all, when a school ought to be run more like a business.  Our clients are in need.  Our employees are in need.

For the enthusiastic teacher, it’s like we’re living that sketch of Lucy and Charlie Brown and that damn football:

 ”Here, kick the football Charlie Brown!”=”Here’s new technology that will make teaching more engaging and easier!”

“Don’t worry, Charlie Brown.  I’ll hold it for you.”=”Don’t worry teachers.  Get excited.  Start working now and we’ll train you and support you.”

Needless to say, time and time again, whether it is for the newest technology, the textbook classroom set that should have arrived a month ago, or the broken window that should have been fixed at the first work order, the educational football is pulled away just when we begin to believe the promise.

Down to Defcon 5 we go.  And so the school will have lost its most prized possession: an enthusiastic teacher with buy-in for change.

Dear Interactive Whiteboard or District guy: All I ask at this point is that you call me in advance when I’m getting my board.  And, please, don’t arrive unexpectedly in the middle of my 3rd period class to do it.  I will have developed some engaging ELA lesson and we will be in the middle of some activity, laughing and learning the old-fashioned way.  

And this time I’ll make you wait. 

 

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post

11 Comments »

  • David Cohen says:

    Ouch! What a bummer of a way to start the year.

    In our district, the big push is for all teachers to use Blackboard/In-Class to provide information and grades online. The updated grades are sort of an addiction for certain students and parents, helping to shift the focus of concern to scores rather than learning. Many of my students and their parents are disappointed that I don’t use it – but the main obstacle is not my philosophical ambivalence, but rather, the clunky and limited interface that is wholly inadequate and inefficient. Sad part is, the company acknowledged they needed to upgrade it, gathered lots of information about what we wanted, and delivered a new version that exacerbates the problems. Some of us are encouraging a defection – we’ll see if we end up still doing business with these folks down the line. To be fair, other functions of In-Class are quite useful and do help students to be more responsible. I use those functions consistently, though the interface is still a bit cluttered, we’ve managed.

    I was also thinking about this in terms of business cards – yes, my district pays for business cards. We can upload the info and choose the design and number we want to order. The options will cost my school anywhere from $10-$20. I requested the $20 package – color ink on white card stock, 200 cards. It better be approved. I use my cards quite a bit, and I’m figuring all the administrators get the one they want!

    Keep fighting the good fight, Heather!

  • [...] Is that Sales Rep your best friend? A: Tweenteacheer, whose New Interactive Whiteboard will be delivered with a significant delay, warns us not to think [...]

  • Mathew says:

    I don’t which brand you went with but my SMARTBoard arrived the week before school started. (However, the district took three months to mount it.)

  • Mike Albert says:

    The worst part is definitely the wait. The actual school site is never a priority for the district or the supplier — they know who to take care of, and it isn’t anyone in a classroom.

    But when the board comes and is mounted, you’ll definitely enjoy it, and so will your students.

  • Rho says:

    Our district woouldn’t buy them; “budget restrictions” even though I asked for less than $100 in supplies for two years in a row and asked for the SmartBoard both years.
    Finally bought my own, front projection, 600i, and my husband and I and a helpful janitor installed it one afternoon before school started last year. It took about 1 month from ordering, but I kept on the rep to get it at the time promised. I even got her to come down from headquarters and give me a free run-through after I got in up and running.
    Now, after using it for a year and having this past summmer to work on lessons-was it worth all of our vacation momey for two years? Absolutely, yes! It is a time saver to have everything THERE, ready to go, usable and reusable, and I take care to back up my files on the laptop every month because so much of my lessons are in that laptop now.
    My kids are getting good at using it for presentations and class work. They know how expensive it was and help me keep it in good shape- not one mark or scratch on it at all.

  • heather says:

    love this story. Thanks for your comment and your encouraging words. I just updated my website with a new post, “Oh The Wells Fargo Wagon is a’coming…” in which I chronicle my embarrassment at listening to those nay-sayers who said my whiteboard would never come. Hope you like the new post. Anyway, I appreciate the encouraging words. I’m a little intimidated by the work necessary to create a whole library of curriculum for it, but after I’m done, I know it will be a great tool in the classroom. Thanks again for your post and I hope to hear from you again real soon.
    -Heather
    aka Tweenteacher

  • messeefly says:

    ??? ? ???????: ?????? ?????????? ?????? ??????? ?????? ipb ?????? ?????????? ?????? ??????? ????????? ?????? ?????? ????? ?????? ???????? canon ?????? ?????? ?????? canon
    http:\\gooa.ru

  • messeefly says:

    ??? ? ???????: ?????? ?????????? ?????? ??????? ?????? ipb ?????? ?????????? ?????? ??????? ????????? ?????? ?????? ????? ?????? ???????? canon ?????? ?????? ?????? canon
    http:\\gooa.ru

  • durllicle says:

    Hello. It is test.

  • JS says:

    Demand for whiteboards are through the roof these days and SMART boards are in back order, but that is BS on the dealers part. Has your school checked out Hitachi StarBoard they were pretty quick with shipping?

  • janiceenberg says:

    I feel I might introduce my self here. My name is Kate, I’m a newbie here, someone told me that i might find some good information here so… basically that’s why I’m here, and for any good advice i might get also… hope to have good time here

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL


Leave a Reply

 

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news on all models of education. Geek out at your convenience on the latest trends in curriculum design and policy.
Join the mailing list today!

* indicates required
  • Latest Books


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License

Creative Commons License
© 2013