Sunday, August 16, 2009

How would you like your board? Black, White or Interactive?

I went to school in the blackboard era. During my working and life experiences I have been exposed to overhead projectors and whiteboards being used in various presentations. In coming back to university and participating in portal tasks, I have become aware of a new "beast" - that being the interactive whiteboard (IWB). I know that at my current school there is an IWB in a year 6 classroom - I have yet to see one in action.

I have heard mixed responses from teachers - digital immigrants that have embraced the technology or those that remain fearful. The main "fear factors" appear to be time in learning how to use it and set them up, and the technology itself. However, once the IWB has been embraced, it appears that it is seen as an invaluable tool for engaging students in the learning process. It should be used as an adjunct to learning, and not the be-all and end-all. The use of manipulatives (particularly in an early childhood environment) are invaluable - especially when students are trying to make meaning of abstract concepts, they still need concrete tools. A tutorial example was that of 3D figures. While an IWB can display images for students to move around and observe, it was by handling 3D objects (cans, cardboard boxes, party hats) that meaning was made.

For someone who has limited knowledge and exposure to IWBs, I found this brochure by JISC to be informative as to what they are, what they are capable of, as well as advantages and disadvantages.

I also found a good link to a site that provides tips and videos on how to use IWBs. This is information that I will be able to refer to so that I will use an IWB effectively for learning experiences.

Simon Botton - ICT Focus. Interactive Whiteboard Tips.

Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC). Interactive Whiteboards in Education (2009) Downloaded August 2009 from

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