Saturday, June 24, 2006

The World Of Interactive Whiteboards

Earlier this month I contributed a section of a course titled the E-Learning Sampler as part of E-Learning Week here in South Australia. The course was only meant to run for a week but the time was extended. There was limited traffic through and that seems to dying off so I thought I'd rescue the section I contributed on Interactive Whiteboards before the Moodle site is shut down and make it available to a global audience. There isn't a lot here that breaks new ground but it is a nice starting point for schools or teachers wanting to have a one stop starting point to gain some insight. It was titled: The World Of Interactive Whiteboards.
Many schools are investigating or considering the introduction of Interactive Whiteboards into their school. However, there are a lot of questions about what they are, what they can do and what the benefits for learning are. Here are a collection of web based starting points that will help educators to become better informed when heading down the IWB trail.
Two major brands, Promethean, the maker of the ACTIVboard and Smart Technologies, the maker of the SmartBoard dominate the world IWB market in a similar manner that PC and Macs compete as the major computing platforms. Both companies have a strong educational focus and have their hardcore supporters of each respective hardware and software package. To provide a balanced picture here, links that highlight the use of both formats will be provide here.
Lockleys North Primary School are using ACTIVboards in their IWB program. Read about their journey, explore useful resources and insightful reflections in their blog, Activboarding.
John Pearce is a Victorian teacher who maintains a number of educational websites. He is also a high level Smartboard user and maintains a blog, Mr.P's SMARTboard about his IWB prowess.
SEGATech is a blog run by a group of district technology teachers in Georgia, USA. There are numerous posts on interactive whiteboards detailing programs with schools, cool tools to use and useful resources.
There are many useful links to be found in, the social bookmarking service on IWB research, resources and reflections. links - iwb links - interactive_whiteboards links - activboards links - smartboards

I also set up a couple of forum discussion starters that had a few responses. I can't publish them here without permission but my questions were:
1.Do Interactive Whiteboards Reinforce An Outdated Form Of Teaching?
by Graham Wegner - Monday, 5 June 2006, 03:57 PM
Marc Prensky's article "Adopt and Adapt" sets out a four step process for the successful integration of technology into classrooms today. The steps 1. Dabbling, 2. Old Things In Old Ways, 3. Old Things In New Ways and 4. New Things In New Ways are a great metaphor for the use of Interactive Whiteboards in schools today. I would suggest that IWB's could be misused to reinforce "traditional" expert at the front of the room teaching instead of evolving into something more collaborative and learner centred. What needs to be done to prevent this from happening so that an IWB doesn't just become an expensive fancy presentation tool to churn out teacher produced content?
IWB vs. Data Projectors Only
by Graham Wegner - Monday, 5 June 2006, 03:50 PM
What are the advantages of having an Interactive Whiteboard over just having a data projector hooked up to a computer in the classroom? This seems to be one of the first questions raised by yet-to-be-convinced critics of IWB's. I can think of several but I'll only weigh into this discussion if no-one else wants to raise them. One point first - how many classrooms do you see (TSOF not included) where a datashow is part of the set up anyway?
Does anyone want to respond via comments to either of these starters here?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Dry Run Middle Schooling Presentation

Tonight, we had a runthrough with our staff of our planned presentation for the Third International Middle Years of Schooling Conference which highlights the use of IWB's with our Middle Years Learning Unit (common acronym = MYLU) at our school. Being really busy with reports meant that we weren't really ready for the full deal so we tentatively called it a dry run and walked the staff through our plans. I had pulled together the majority of our presentation into a flipchart and we showed it off on the ACTIVboard in the Science Room. We went through our planned sequence as outlined on our presentation wiki. The use of a wiki has been a great way to showcase everything that we've used along the way - profiles of the teachers, what was covered during the presentation and links to all of the research and resources used. I know the MYLU teachers have been getting up close and personal with wikis throughout this term so it was good to fill our other staff members in on what a wiki is and how it can be used. We ran through a history of how the MYLU came to be.

We ran through the theory behind our move to an IWB program - explaining the now familiar "digital native" and "digital immigrant" metaphor that has been so useful in explaining the differences in how today's students engage and learn. We explained Marc Prensky's four stages of Technology Implementation and showed some examples of these stages in action. The presentation prompted lots of discussion about how teachers were starting to effectively use the IWB as a tool and I think it opened the eyes of the teachers about to get their new boards next term and hopefully get them looking beyond just how to operate the technology. And we have some valuable feedback about how the whole presentation hangs together and how some areas could be tightened up. All bodes well for the real thing in August at the Adelaide Convention Centre.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Technorati Roundup

A few links of interest during my infrequent check of Technorati using the key words "interactive whiteboard."
Rowan classrooms go high-tech A newspaper article about Promethean donating ACTIVboard systems to a school rebuilding after Hurrican Katrina.
the teacher, the task and the talk = interactivity - an interesting quote querying the use of the interactive in IWB.
Ma, mama, we’ve all got IWBs now - post looking at the state of play in the UK IWB scene.
Finally, Interactive boards spur students' studies - the headline says it all.