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Friday, January 29, 2010

Hating Interactive Whiteboards

Here's a provocative post by a veteran teacher.

Here's a common comment on this piece:

"We tried hard to work with new IWB; streaming off proven math sites, walking students through basic algebra - and ended up frustrated. Administrators, though, demanded we incorporate IWBs into daily instruction. The district wanted in on the "cutting edge" hysteria, the systems were paid for and parents were wowed over the requisite dog and pony shows.
Math teachers quietly rebelled and returned to the grease pen and overhead projectors. The immediate effect was two-fold: Students became more engaged, and the math teachers suffered negative observations. To wit: We were not using our technology properly and thus clearly not team players. The experienced, long-tenured teachers told the administrators to go fish, and I was exiled the next year to a remediation class.
The abuse, cost and misuse of computers and its expensive off-spring (e.g. IWBs) has chased a lot of good teachers into the swamps."

One writer commented on a Hawthorne affect of these boards:

The High School I teach at has now furnished most of our classrooms with interactive whiteboards (Promethean boards). The that we need training for and are not provided. Sure some of my peers have self-taught themselves, but most of us have only just scratched the surface with it's functions and usefulness.

I will say this, they are expensive but for teachers that really enjoy this technology, it has increased their energy and morale. This of course benefits students.

And there's certainly a consensus that there is grossly inadequate training.
From another teacher:

I disagree that they are a waste of money, but ONLY IF teachers take the time to learn to use them effectively. I have been forcing myself to use mine every day for at least a few minutes in each class so that I can become familiar with it. The math teachers use them a lot for interactive teaching aids, although if they want the entire class to work at the same time, individual whiteboards at each desk (very low tech!) work just as well.

No training makes interactive whiteboards a $5K expense at a time when schools can't afford books.

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