Don’t replace face-to-face instruction

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Obstructed views spark idea that takes instructors out of classrooms.

From a chalkboard to an interactive whiteboard to a lightboard — classroom technology keeps on advancing.

Advancement is crucial in keeping up with ever-evolving students.

But might these new innovations be going too far?

When a writing board is keeping instructors from being in the same room as students — while on the same campus at the same exact time? Possibly.

While the exact implementation for the new lightboard on campus remains in development, it seems the end goal is to have a two-way communication system installed in both the classroom and the lightboard’s studio, where the instructor would be during class.

Students would be watching their instructor on the classroom’s projector screen while the instructor is in the studio standing behind the 8-by-4 foot Starphire glass board. The instructor uses a fluorescent marker to write out the lesson on the back of the lightboard without obstructing the view of the instructor or the written content.

It seems extreme to have the instructor and students in separate rooms for the objective of an unobstructed view.

In most situations, an instructor is typically in front of the board for seconds at any time. Are those seconds reason enough to install cameras and microphones in classrooms so that communication can occur in real-time?

The concept seems compelling, but it’s not worth losing the opportunity of face-to-face, student-instructor interaction.

Why drive to campus for something you can experience online?

It seems like the lightboard would have more of an impact for distance education in Canvas and Mediasite, where students would be able to revisit prerecorded lessons on-demand — with no obstruction.

Shift the focus to integrating the lightboard into online and hybrid classes.

Let us keep our instructors in the classroom — with us.

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