Cost of Prometheans Not Worth Insubstantial BenefitMonday, October 06, 2008 By Maia Dicey
According to their website, the Promethean Activboards which have infested the school are a “revolutionary learning environment that focuses on embracing and celebrating each individual’s unique needs and capabilities, engaging learners of all kinds by connecting with them, one by one.” What a joke. We currently have 40 boards in the school building, all bought for us by Montgomery County. Couldn’t the county have done better with the thousands of dollars that went into the purchase of the boards? Maybe the money could have gone into new textbooks, replacements for some of the more rickety desks, tissues for classrooms, or even new equipment for the science department, seeing as some of the beakers are older than the students who use them. Even math teacher Mike Egan, who is an overall fan of theses boards, admits to drawbacks. “Right now, the amount of effort that goes into creating my lessons [is a drawback],” he said. A lot of teachers have problems with having to transfer lesson plans to the computer. “The program doesn’t lend itself to math,” said Egan. “I have to type the equations on [Microsoft] Word and save it as a picture.” The portables, which don’t have the boards, must operate only with overhead projectors and computers, but they do just fine. Why spend this enormous amount of money on something not absolutely necessary? Principal Christopher Garran believes that they make the classroom more exciting and engaging, but honestly, it seems that they just cut into lesson time with all the set up they require, as the teachers have to log in, open the software, adjust settings and so on before they can get started with their lesson. And the bulbs that light up the boards? They cost around $300 each, compared to the little bulbs used in overhead projectors, whose price tag is more along the lines of $20. Whether or not the boards actually benefit the school in one way or another, no one can argue that they are absolutely necessary.