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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Interactive whiteboards

Interactive whiteboards, what an amazing resource. Every time I see one I’m reminded of the “Back to the Future” movies. To me IWBs represent the future in a very tangible way, but not everyone is in awe of this technology as I am. Critics of electronic whiteboards suggest they in fact encourage and facilitate the dreaded didactic teaching approach and reinforce and increase teacher control and ‘ownership’ of classroom interactions. (Rudd, 2007) On the other hand many researchers find IWBs significantly improve and extend teaching and learning practices (Kennewell & Beauchamp, 2007).

What is apparent is that the use of IWBs does not automatically improve student outcomes or teacher effectiveness. As has been discussed elsewhere in this blog, the single greatest determinant in student success is the quality of teaching received (Hattie, 2003) and quality pedagogy must guide the teaching practices, regardless of the tools used.

In my own experience I have not had the opportunity to use IWBs or to see them used in action, other than during staff training sessions. I have not been witness to the increased levels of engagement promised by whiteboard manufacturers, however I have to admit that the few opportunities I have had to see whiteboards being demonstrated I have been very impressed by the technology. Providing alternative methods of instruction and using alternative means of delivery such as these interactive electronic tools, is catering to the different learning styles that may be encountered in an average classroom.

Students in my prac classroom are studying Australian States and Territories. Using the inbuilt maps in the IWB would obviously be a great tool and would reduce the need for multiple paper resources for each student.

Almost every lesson I plan I can see how I could incorporate online learning into it, however due to a lack of resources this is not possible. If I had an IWB in my classroom I would use it at every opportunity, and I look forward to the possibility of having just such a resource as early as possible in my teaching career.

Hattie, J. (2003). Teachers make a difference: What is the research evidence? University of Auckland, ACER.

Kennewell, S and Beauchamp, G (2007). Features of interactive whiteboards. Learning, Media and Technology, Vol 32 No 3 pp227-241

Rudd, T. (2007). Interactive whiteboards in the classroom. [electronic resource]. Retrieved August 16, 2009 from http://www.futurelab.org.uk/resources/documents/other/whiteboards_report.pdf

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