Thursday, January 7, 2010

Wasting Money of Whiteboards? Maybe a bit.

Donna just linked a post by Bill Ferriter (a principal) titled Wasting Money on Whiteboards.  In it Bill talks about how interactive white boards (IWB's) don't really change student learning.  They just allow teachers to do a better job of teaching they way they always have.  An IWB usually does not lead to a pedagogical change en education.  He is probably right (and his rant takes a familiar tone.)  One of my favorite comments talk about how the IWB is a great PR tool that a teacher can use without every really having to move their teaching out of traditional methods.

Here is the comment I posted there (I just felt like sharing it.)

I have used both a DIY interactive whiteboard and a genuine SMARTboard. While I love using both of them I would hesitate to call to use the word interactive for either of them. My students really don't use them any differently than they would a traditional chalkboard. The hardest lesson I had to learn was to hand off the pen to the students.

That being said was the IWB a waste of money for my classroom? No I don't think so. It has not fundamentally changed the way that I teach. It HAS changed how students can access what I have taught. I now record and publish (to the internet) much of what I teach. Take a look at my section of our school website at . The IWB allows me to capture the lessons and make them available to our chronically absent students. The IWB allows me to create content that I could not easily do otherwise. It allows me to do a better job of a traditional method of teaching. (Yes I know traditional methods are not always the best).

That being said, I moved classrooms this year and my SMARTboard took over a month to follow me. Really, my teaching style never changed with or without it. I just was unable to record more content.