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 del.icio.us, the social bookmarking service on IWB research, resources and reflections.
del.icio.us links - iwb
del.icio.us links - interactive_whiteboards
del.icio.us links - activboards
del.icio.us 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?
2.
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?

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