A 2014 grant from the state of Texas has allowed the district to purchase a slew of new computers to replace all the desktops on campus, along with devices such as iPads for the students and teachers to use. But with the addition of a Smart Board in nearly every classroom around campus, many teachers have trouble using them in their English and fine art classrooms.
“The new computers are smaller, harder to use, and much slower than our old ones. Just trying to use the internet takes like 5 minutes,” junior Kristen Brunner said.
The new computers are just a small processor connected to a large NEISD database, allowing all the schools to be able to use the same portal to log in.
“Now the computers have access to all the computers, the teachers can see what you are doing, and all have the same programs. So if you can work on a project on one computer, you can work on it on any computer,” technology teacher Raymond Castillo said.
Even though they are are much more functional, these “portal” computers seem to perform slower.
“The reason why they seem so slow, is because they don’t have as much RAM as a regular desktop. This means you can’t run as many programs at once,” Castillo said.
Although the computers may not have be performing the the district’s intentions, the addition of the Smart Boards in many classes allow teachers to get more interactive in the class.
“My (Smart) board helps me stay in front of the class when I teach. I don’t have to run across the room to change the slide on a powerpoint,” Biology teacher Oscar Velasquez said.
However, not all teachers find the same ease of use in their boards.
“Every time I try to use it, it freezes or doesn’t do what I want it to. Sometimes the light just blinks red so I don’t even try anymore. I just use the Elmo instead,” math teacher Brenda Perez said.
Some teachers see the potential of their Smart Boards but find no use for them in their classrooms.
“I don’t really know what I could use my Smart Board for. In English we just put up an assignment or reading passage for the students. It would rather give it to a teacher who could actually use it for teaching,” English teacher Peggy Williams said.
In response to these issues, administrators have planned workshops for the teachers in hopes of allowing them to harness the full potential of their Smart Boards.
“Tuesday we had a Technology board meeting to discuss the possibility of workshops for the teachers. It’s not set in stone, but we have people who are interested in helping the teachers use their boards. It’s not that the teachers are against using them, they just aren’t sure how to use them,” administrator Steven Magadance said.