At my current school we have interactive whiteboards (IWBs) in every classroom. These are a luxury, but I do think they have their drawbacks.
In ‘400 Ideas for Interactive Whiteboards’, Sharma et al (2011:10-11) list these benefits of using an IWB:
- Teachers and students can use a wide range of multimedia in the classroom
- They can make lesson lead-ins memorable (using videos, photos, etc)
- ‘Reviewing language has never been easier’, especially as you can save the flipcharts you create
- They help with creating personalised content
- It encourages ‘heads-up’ learning. Teachers can keep learners working at a similar pace, and focused by controlling what’s on the whiteboard. Feedback can be instant too.
- Audio transcripts can be displayed easily.
This is a fairly loose list of benefits – there are plenty more. However, they don’t mention many problems with using IWBs. They highlight that…
- technology is never 100% reliable
- there’s a temptation to use the IWB merely as a presentation tool (teacher-centred)
- there’s a tendency to overuse IWBs at first
Perhaps most importantly, they stress that IWBs are just another classroom tool – they should enrich the learning experience, but not take over.
Their book is a useful resource for IWB users, but it lacks discussion. Here are a few more pros and cons with IWBs that I’ve been thinking about recently. (more…)