This week the edc3100 cohort has develop some “Topics of Interest” which we are to explore and blog about in more detail through research and online collaboration. Using the Interatcive White Board” was one of the topics that I wanted to explore in more detail, especially when the IWB is the only form of technology available in the classroom and how to truly integrate its use to support learning.
Peter Kent, Deputy Principal of Richardson Primary School, has written a response which highlights my case and point, regarding how IWBs are different from using an overhead projector with a computer. He asserts that teachers who embrace this form of technology are capable of finding ways to integrate IWBs to support learning. He provides several reasons why IWBs will be more effective than overhead projectors connected to computers, and describes the main advantage of IWBs as technology for the masses.
#1 IWBs allow access to ICTs for those students that up until now have alienated by ICTs, ie the early childhood children and the special education children. These children have not the fine motor skills, or they have found the ‘complexity’ of using ICTs overwhelming, which brings us back to the relevance of the Universal Design philosophy discussed in an earlier post.
#2 IWBs are a very effective and comfortable way for teachers to integrate ICTs into classroom practice. Teachers often use and can think of an IWB as a whiteboard with the possibilities of a computer. They know how to incorporate whiteboards into the classroom and so they feel comfortable with IWBs. As time progresses they evolve their teaching to take into consideration the potential of the ‘computer aspect’. A computer and projector can be thought of as a computer with a very large screen, but it is still fundamentally a computer, not a whiteboard. While this might seem a difference in semantics it makes a big difference in practice
#3 IWBs are more interactive. Computers and projectors are more didactic in approach. Computers and projectors are good with presentation (ie PowerPoint). Information can be presented in sequential formats. Admittedly, computers and projectors can take advantage of digital convergence (CD ROMs, DVDs, the Internet) to add a rich environment to the presentation. However once the presentation is prepared only the person at the computer can operate it, change it, or annotate it. Often doing any of these tasks is quite difficult if you are not technical. Pre-set PowerPoint presentations are not good at catering for multiple intelligences in the class. In these cases either the divergent thoughts are glossed over, or the presentation is stopped so the new direction can be explored, usually in the form of a traditional discussion, maybe supported by access to information on the Internet, or another piece of software. In this context however, it is to annotate the new information, and take notes of the discussion. With an IWB teachers can still prepare pre-set lessons, yet they can also comfortably allow digressive thoughts and ideas to be catered for seamlessly in the lesson. This allows for a much richer ‘interactive’ teaching and learning environment.
#4 The use of IWBs allows for collaboration and multiple users to contribute and annotate the displayed information, objects or programs. A group can gather around the IWB taking turns in a quick fire manner to interact with the content displayed (e.g. reading eggs). With a computer and a projector all the aspects of control are located at the computer (often away from the display of information) this creates serious barriers to collaborative interactions, assuming that the children have the skills to interact via a computer in the first place .
#5 The IWB can be thought of as providing the link between technology and teaching. As the resources for the IWB are constantly and consistently evolving, it is expected that the range and scope of pedagogy is likely to develop. The projector and computer do not off the same advantages and potential
#6 There is evidence that the use of IWBs improve the learning outcomes of most students, however the same cannot be said of the computer and projector.
Essentially the meaningful integration of the whiteboard relies on how the teacher is using its potential. Many teachers openly admit to using more traditional forms of delivering content. I attended a prac not so long ago where the black board alone was being utilised despite the addition of an IWB in the classroom. The blog by Deepti Sawhney has sparked an online debate about IWBs being glorified whiteboards or truly interactive. I’m sure she would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.
It seems appropriate here to acknowledge the research of fellow bloggers from edc3100, including Mrs Poulter who has provided a number of online links to IWB resources, and Mrs Twidale who has reported on the benefits of the new and improved Promethean board. In addition I would like to add the link I found to a professional development site that explores ICTs and the curriculum, there is even a link to a professional development course to enhance your use of the IWB. Click on the screenshot below to be taken to the PDST site
Kent, P. (n.d.). How IWBs are different to using the projector with a computer? Retrieved from http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=cache:pMUtvz8HidEJ:http://www1.prometheanplanet.com/forum/attachment.php%3Fattachmentid%3D1120%26d%3D1162806322%2Bintegrating+ICTs+when+you+only+have+a+IWB&oe=UTF-8&redir_esc=&hl=en&ct=clnk