When I first started working, we did not work in the classroom of the future; it was the classroom of the past. There were no computers. There were no smartboards. The only thing we needed to turn on was the lightswitch to light our rooms and our biggest challenge was making sure we didn’t get an allergic reaction from all of the dust on our chalk trays. Our biggest technology were the big and awkward televisions, paired with the hopefully working VCR (a videocassette recorder-grandfather of your streaming movies!) and mounted on the cumbersome TV carts, which were great fun to push through the hallways, as you hoped the wheels would turn and the big tv wouldn’t fall off!
I had a really great video, yes I showed videos to my class. The narrative was compelling, the students were totally engaged, but there was that one unfortunate and inappropriate image. What did I do? I, the resourceful problem-solving teacher, held up a piece of construction paper across the television screen and there was my low-tech, manual picture mute! Not too glamorous, but effective.
Fast forward to the classroom of the future. Now we had smartboards and projectors and we could picture mute the unfortunate image by merely hitting the picture mute button on the smartboard. But there was always that possibility–what if I wasn’t diligent enough? What if I wasn’t fast enough? What if it took too long to run up to the controls and hit the picture mute? Unlike a television, I couldn’t block the scene with my body, it would merely make the unfortunate image project onto a desperate teacher!
Then I was introduced to Extron, the incredible app that uses your iPad to control your smartboard. Now I had the world at my fingertips! I could control my smartboard from any quadrant in my room. I could decrease the volume when the tv news was too loud, I could toggle my input to show a quick dvd, without having to walk over to the board, and most importantly, I could picture mute that unfortunate image instantly!
I love the freedom and control that Extron gives me. I love not having to walk over to my board every time I want to change the controls. And I especially love the peace of mind I have during that rare moment when I need to use picture mute. Phew!
*Note: The New updated version of this app costs $2.99 and can be found HERE. *