The Great White Hope

Year 7 maths teacher Matthew Tatkovic is using an interactive<br /> projection computer whiteboard system with his Firbank Grammar<br /> pupils.

Another big feature article in the Education Age on interactive whiteboards, their cost and a number of schools that have invested heavily in them and, not surprisingly perhaps, speak highly of them. Some quotes from the article:

Once teachers learn how to transform a conventional lesson into
an interactive one, the classroom comes alive with multimedia
content delivered at the snappy pace so familiar to these students
who are mini masters of technology well before their teens.

“When you have discussions in class, it’s always the same
half-dozen children who put their hands up who are willing to
participate, but you can guarantee if the whiteboard’s involved,
just about every hand is up if there’s an option for them to come
and do something,”

“We have a couple of autistic kids at our school who really
engage with the technology because it’s hands-on and they are able
to interact with it in a meaningful way,”

I’ve already expressed my lack of shock and awe about IWBs in previous posts so I wont go into all that again here. Do a search of this blog if you’re interested.

Read the AGE article HERE

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  1. Look, Warrick, I think you have every right to be skeptical of this tool and you’ve probably read my thoughts and mixed feelings on this technology before on my blog. I think if they weren’t so darn expensive and created such a dent in any school’s ICT budget that we could just have an IWB as just another technology option within the classroom on the same level of importance as ipods, usb drives, pda’s or any other device with limitations that you can think of. Because of their cost and dominant positioning (in most classrooms where I’ve seen them installed) their importance is elevated in people’s minds. “It’s expensive so I’d better justify its use by using it as much as I can,” or “If I use that then I’ve integrated technology into my classroom.” become the dominant thought processes. If an IWB was (relatively) cheap then the teacher could use them only when it adds to the learning, to connect concepts, to model explicit skills before handing off its use to students who had its use an option along with video cameras, laptops, tablets, whatever. It would be just another spanner in the set used to fit for the correct purpose instead of being the hi-tech adjustable wrench that is used to solve all the learning problems. Make sense?

  2. Hi Graham; good to hear from you! I think you’re probably right Graham, the price probably does elevate the importance of the decision. If they were $500 each, they’d be just another tool and probably have a place in every classroom. I don’t know if you had a chance to look at the AGE article, but it had some making some pretty big claims for them.

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