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Dazzled by Technology

While I’m still not sold on the value of interactive whiteboards in the classroom, my skepticism is exclusively based on their instructional value.

However, there are some in Great Britain who are now warning against using the devices for other reasons.

Interactive whiteboards that are used in schools and colleges across the UK could potentially cause eyesight damage due to a lack of basic government guidelines.

According to an investigation carried out by the BBC, many of the devices used by teachers and school children do not carry adequate warnings about the “dazzle effect” of the light projected.

Although the dazzle effect projected from the equipment’s beam will be too strong for most people to stare into for very long, the Health and Safety Eexcutive (HSE), which offers guidelines here, warns that a user’s peripheral retina could still be overexposed even when not looking directly into the beam.

So, how do we train teachers and students to avoid the “dazzle” when it’s not predictable where it’s going to going to hit?

And I wonder if the reflection from the board is any worse than walking in front of the beam from a data projector and looking directly into the light. I’ve done that a few hundred times.

Ain’t technology wonderful?

interactive white board, hazard, england

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2 Comments

  1. I think interactive whiteboards are spreading more quickly than necessary. Many teachers who have them probably use them just as they would use a projector. However, there are many classrooms doing very innovative things with them. I know that having one has drastically changed the way my students and I do shared writings and shared readings. Now, if I just had a tablet I’d be all set!

  2. I have been reading about interactive whiteboards but have never seen one in action. It’s good that someone is checking into the safety issue. This reminds me of the laser pointers that were so popular a few years ago.

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