I have heard about them some months ago and I got really curious about them. The truth is that I hadn't really thought about them for a while, but now that the time is coming (I will explain that in a following post, although the people who know me can understand what I mean), I am trying to find out if it is really worth it to have one of these whiteboards in your classroom.
So what is an interactive whiteboard exactly?
An interactive whiteboard is a large interactive display that connects to a computer and projector. A projector projects the computer’s desktop onto the board’s surface, where users control the computer using a pen, finger or other device. The board is typically mounted to a wall or on a floor stand. They are used in a variety of settings such as in classrooms at all levels of education, in corporate board rooms and work groups, in training rooms for professional sports coaching, broadcasting studios and more. (From Wikipedia)
From what I have heard, read and saw I can understand that an interactive whiteboard literally replaces :
- video/media systems (like DVD, TV, CD, Slides)
- It can connect to PC and Internet
- You can save students performance and projects in computer files
- Combining with other peripherals like digital video cameras or scanners, you can take your lessons to exciping places
The really interesting thing about these boards is that it doesn't only limit itself to presentations.
Students can actually stand up, perform drills on the board or even write on it. That's why it is called interactive.
Many publishers have already got materials for this kind of whiteboards which makes it even easier to use and with little preparation.
I am posting some very interesting videos which show what an IWB can do in practice
But... is it really worth it?
Statistics in schools in England "have shown no impact on pupil performance in their firts year of use" (From Wikipedia)
Furthermore they are very expensive, easy to get damaged and there is always the issue of technical support.
In addition, the majority of Foreign Language Teachers are not really familiar with computers and new technology - it could take a white before somebody can actually use correctly such an item, especially if they do not use a computer that often.
When it comes to Greece and its reality, parents don't aways appreciate new technology and what they demand is the "completion of the coursebook", according to my experience...
Real help in the classroom or just another gadget?