Corollary: The most effective tool for conceptual data modeling is a whiteboard.
The blackboard-centered classroom offers more than pedagogical efficiency; it also offers an effective set of teaching possibilities. In such a classroom students are focused on the teacher (on a good day), but most importantly, they are focused. The teacher is not the focus of the class but rather a lens through which the lesson is created and clarified. The teacher draws the class toward her, but she projects the lessons onto the blackboard behind her, a blank surface upon which smaller ideas may be gathered into larger ones. The blackboard is the surface of thought.
At Maddy’s middle school, Smart Boards are now front and center, and on these interactive whiteboards, she and her fellow scholars and their teachers can connect to the Internet and display bits and pieces of information, work out problems and ideas, annotate and edit their work, shuffle digital objects spatially in order to find new connections. The Smart Board is futuristic, yet it serves the same purpose as the blackboard of my childhood. It gives the student more than something to look at; it provides a necessary focus.