I’m probably risking my instructional technology geek license for writing this, but when it comes to interactive whiteboards, I just don’t get it.
These are devices that look like a standard whiteboard on which you would write with colored markers. Instead, a computer screen is projected on it and the board responds to the touch of a finger or plastic pen to control the software.
Yesterday I spent the whole day in a training session for the boards being purchased by most schools in our district.
I came away still not seeing the value of paying all that money (around $1000 plus the cost of the projector) for something with limited instructional purpose.
The hardware is definitely cool and the software comes with lots of neat little tools and tricks.
However, all the examples of classroom activities I’ve seen are nothing more than interactive drill and practice sheets. The only reason to use the board appears to be encouraging students to do the drills. And that’s my problem with the boards.
One of the primary selling points for this technology is centered around its ability to “motivate” students. The same argument is made for student response systems (“clickers”) and one-to-one laptop programs.
As my colleague Karen asks in a similar rant on her blog (which needs more regular posting :-), what happens when the cool toy of the year no longer provides the big incentives?
I still have an open mind when it comes to these interactive boards.
But I’m also still waiting for someone to show me an instructionally solid activity that could not be done any way other than using this device.
interactive whiteboards, teaching