Interactive Whiteboards (IWB): Post 1 of 2

I’m attending my first IWB workshop on Friday June 18 so I thought I’d compose before and after posts.  Presently I haven’t actually used an IWB in a classroom so all the information is from research I’ve compiled.  Early next week I’ll be able to offer additional information once I’ve completed the workshop.

I’m convinced that every classroom in Canada will have an interactive whiteboard (Smartboard) installed within the next 5 years.  It is the next evolution of the chalkboard, so you might as well embrace it now.  Is resistance is futile?

What exactly is an Interactive Whiteboard (IWB)?

  • A large display that connects to a computer and projector
  • The projector projects the computer’s desktop image onto the display
  • Your learners control the display with electronic pens, fingers, or other devices
  • The display is typically wall mounted and is movable

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjdNPMZJbLs]

As early as 2004, 26% of primary classrooms in the UK had IWB’s.  The BECTA, government agency promoting the use of technology integration in the classroom, completed a two-year study recent and as a result of that research, is working on an expansion plan for IWB in the classroom.

Pros:

  • Increases student engagement
  • Engaging with material in a different way 1
  • Objects are able to be manipulated in a hands-on way with an IWB i.e. measuring angles in geometry 1
  • Encourage a different, more collaborative kind of teaching 1

Cons:

  • Not enough training for teachers
  • First year of introduction leads to little/no significant impact on a learner’s academic performance
  • Teacher’s focus more on the technology than on learning outcomes
  • The interactive nature of the IWB can make some relative mundane task take longer than necessary particularly with low functioning students

It’s time to open up the dialogue surrounding the use of IWB in our classrooms.  What are your thoughts?

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