I’m currently reviewing our educational technology we’ve used for the year. Here are two of the items we have in our inventory, and I just thought I’d share my comparison of them.

We bought 5 Flip cameras this year for our small senior school of 120 students. Almost immediately, the Flip cameras became a very popular item with our teachers and students. They have ended up being used almost every single day, and are either signed out as an individual item, or to be used in a class group project. I’ve only spent a couple of hours total for training students and staff how to use the Flip cameras, and another 10 or 12 hours training students and staff how to edit their resulting videos. Just a couple of weeks ago we bought 5 more for our junior school, and have so far seen a similar trend occurring, increased usage over time. 

Total cost: about $1500
Training time: about 15 hours

We also have 10 Smartboards, purchased over the last 4 years. Only two of our Smartboards see any regular usage as a Smartboard, the vast majority are currently white surfaces on which teachers project. I’ve spend about 8 or 10 hours training teachers how to use the Smartboards, and this summer we have some interested staff attending a workshop on how to use the Smartboards more effectively through UBC. We’ve also purchased two class sets of Smart Response clickers, which have also only been used by a couple of teachers. For these, I’ve spent 4 or 5 hours trouble-shooting the devices, and another 4 or 5 hours training staff how to use them. We have a plan to improve the use of the Smartboards by moving to mounted projectors instead of our current portable multimedia carts, and we intend to invest more time training staff.

Total cost: about $50000
Training time: about 40 hours

I know this is a bit of an apples to oranges comparison, but it seems pretty clear to me which of these two educational devices has had a greater impact on the education of our students, and for a much smaller cost.