Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Interactive Whteboards

An interactive whiteboard is "an interactive display that connects to a computer and projector" (Wikipedia, 2009). Interaction and control over functions is enabled through the use of a pen or finger.

I have never seen an interactive white board in action before as was curious to see what they would look like in a learning environment. Like Bob Moore, Executive Director of Information Technology- Blue Valley School District Kansas (from the
first YouTube clip on Moodle) I was a little worried that these whiteboards were simply an electronic form of the traditional whiteboard and that teachers regardless of the expertise and skill would fail to meet expectations of how this technology could be used in the classroom. He put forth the notion that there needs to be a change in teachers' paradigms as well as training in the use of this technology in order for it to transform our classrooms.

However after watching MIT Sketching my opinion of this delivery mode began to change. I could understand the comments of Doug Brown, Head of Learning Technology, Department of Education and Skills for the United Kingdom. He stated that "in terms of some of the uses of the whiteboards pace of lessons was improving, motivation was improving, engagement was improving and teacher preparation was improving (ESN TechWatch: Interactive Whiteboards, 2007)".

As could be seen in MIT sketching, the whiteboards would be a valuable problem solving tool in the classroom. I can also see that the whiteboards could provide a base for both teacher directed and student centred learning. By allowing students to use the whiteboard it gives them a sense of ownership of their learning. I also believe that because the interactive whiteboard is more than something that notes are copied from students will view this as a valuable learning source rather than a giant canvas to draw on in free time.

"You will find some appalling teaching using (interactive) whiteboards - this is not about the technology; its is actually about the teaching" Doug Brown

The ability to save work to the whiteboard as well as view movies and web links on the screen means that it becomes very close to a all in one learning resource for teachers and students as per Oliver's Learning Design Construct.

Interactive Whiteboards are an expensive piece of equipment with prices starting from around $4000.00 per board and projector. As such I imagine it will be a while before this delivery technology becomes a regular feature across all schooling organisations. I would love to have this resource available to me in my classroom as its ability to give live demonstrations of concepts for learning areas such as maths and science as well as provide a link to other electronic resources would be invaluable.


eBeam edge and eBeam scrapbook -- by eBeam

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