(Contributed by: Max O.)
Technology: SMARTBoard Interactive Whiteboard
When invented: 1987
Inventor: David Martin
How does it work: The original goal of this technology was to “combine the simplicity of a whiteboard with the power of a computer” and create an interactive experience in the school or workplace. SMARTBoard works through touch screen technology. The board comes with special pens which write in various colors and appear on the display like a regular whiteboard, and can be erased with a normal classroom eraser, or by clicking the “clear ink” option. Because SMARTBoards can be connected to your desktop, teachers can display images, videos, and websites by using the internet, as well as powerpoint presentations and other prepared material, and students are able to interact with the information through annotation. Notes can also be saved electronically and accessed later with this system. One can also write on a SMARTBoard with only a fingertip, and this allows the hands to remain free for sign language use.
Impact on the Deaf community: Though not originally created with Deaf people in mind, SMARTBoard is a technology which has allowed the opportunity to provide education for Deaf children in a visual medium that responds to their needs and supports sign language use in the classroom. Use of this technology for Deaf and hard of hearing students not only enforces the notion that alternative forms of learning and literacy are acceptable and worth implementing in their education, but also empowers these students to participate in their instruction in a visual medium. SMARTBoards are used in many Deaf schools across America, including Kendall Demonstration Elementary School, Model Secondary School for the Deaf,4 Central Institute for the Deaf,  The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind,3 Washington School for the Deaf, New Mexico School for the Deaf, and California School for the Deaf (Fremont and Riverside).