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Old 26.09.2011, 18:48
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Why are interactive whiteboards all the rage in schools now?

From what I've read on the Internet, there is no statistically valid research indicating that these devices help kids learn. Why do schools insist on pouring so much money into this unproven technology? Are they just a selling point for I-Phone infatuated parents?
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Old 26.09.2011, 18:59
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Re: Why are interactive whiteboards all the rage in schools now?

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From what I've read on the Internet, there is no statistically valid research indicating that these devices help kids learn. Why do schools insist on pouring so much money into this unproven technology? Are they just a selling point for I-Phone infatuated parents?
I thought those were merely a high-tech replacement for the quaint transparency sheets and the overhead projectors that they used to roll around on carts.
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Old 26.09.2011, 19:08
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Re: Why are interactive whiteboards all the rage in schools now?

Its bad enough trying to make the kids pay attention. Maybe something that looks cool will help.

We have some at work and honestly it provided hours of entertainment!
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Old 26.09.2011, 19:11
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Re: Why are interactive whiteboards all the rage in schools now?

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From what I've read on the Internet, there is no statistically valid research indicating that these devices help kids learn. Why do schools insist on pouring so much money into this unproven technology? Are they just a selling point for I-Phone infatuated parents?
As an IT person and somewhat self-proclaimed luddite, I think such things are possibly helpful, but mostly a distraction. I avoided a preschool back in the states that had a computer in the classroom as I figure nobody needs a head start on the lobotomy that is the internet and google.

I don't understand the infatuation with technology in the classroom, especially when it hasn't proven to be helpful. I grew up with plenty of media (TV), no doubt, but as an adult, I know that the internet I helped to create is a tool to both educate and isolate and overwhelm. I have media fatigue. I don't think children should be so inundated with information until at least 10 or later.

Teach thinking skills FIRST before teaching kids how to surf the net.

Just saying'...
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Old 26.09.2011, 19:12
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Re: Why are interactive whiteboards all the rage in schools now?

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Why do schools insist on pouring so much money into this unproven technology?
And what schools (in Switzerland) are you refering to..?
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Old 26.09.2011, 19:23
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Re: Why are interactive whiteboards all the rage in schools now?

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Are they just a selling point for I-Phone infatuated parents?
Yes. ..............
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Old 26.09.2011, 19:28
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Re: Why are interactive whiteboards all the rage in schools now?

I said no. I asked for a ceiling beamer with a proper audio-dvd thingie. It is really wonderful to beam up all kinds of things from my computer. I am happy with it, thus without interactive whiteboard.
Frankly, one can not make games out of everything at Gymnasium level. The opportunities for using the IWB to its real potential (other than just beam documents, photos and films up) is equal zero.
The math teachers would however refuse to go back to no-IWB schools. I guess they have their reasons. All schools in Hamburg are now being equiped. Huge investment. In CH, I never asked around, I just know about the rooms in my corridor.
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Old 26.09.2011, 19:32
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Re: Why are interactive whiteboards all the rage in schools now?

I have used an interactive whiteboard as a teacher and must admit that once I got the hang of it proved useful. You can use it as a regular board, writing with a special pen, highlight the important bits, etc.
It is also handy for displaying photos and other visual materials. It saves the teacher a lot of time and effort: he/she does not have to cut the pictures out of old magazines any more or use the photocopier excessively. But I agree with the previous poster that a projector would be enough for that purpose.
On the other hand, I agree that it shouldn’t be used all the time because traditional teaching techniques still have a lot of advantages and can actually stimulate children’s imagination.
The key factor for successful learning will always be the teacher.
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Old 26.09.2011, 19:38
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Re: Why are interactive whiteboards all the rage in schools now?

I actually prefer the PC hooked projector, too. Though for lectures I gave, with pretty set course of action, the interactive white board was more attractive, the outcome more standard, better light, contrast, etc. But for regular classroom time projector is just fine..
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Old 26.09.2011, 20:06
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Re: Why are interactive whiteboards all the rage in schools now?

At university I still use transparency sheets with my students, and keep the projector for big occasions... And we have only one interactive whiteboeard in the building, in the big auditorium...

OK, I work in Arts, we're a bit retarded there
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Old 26.09.2011, 20:28
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Re: Why are interactive whiteboards all the rage in schools now?

Ok, as a network administrator at a school here in the UK, which has an interactive whiteboard in every classroom, I would like to add my thoughts to this.

Out of 60 plus teaching staff we have, I doubt that any more than five of them are either capable, or prepared to use these boards to their full potential.

Those that do, are able to create excellent lesson plans, with very engaging exercises for the students to become involved in. However, I also feel that these same teachers would be able to provide equally engaging lessons without the board. Perhaps I should not view this opinion, but I often feel that the rest of them simply do not put 100% into their teaching, and even if they had an all singing, all dancing, state of the art immersive suite at their disposal, they would fail to deliver a lesson which would engross their class.

You would not believe the number of occasions myself or one of my colleagues is called out to fix a problem, which turns out to be as simple as a student turning the power off to the board. The big red light in the corner being off is usually a big give away for this, but hey, why should I expect an IT teacher to be able to work that one out, even though we have had the boards over five years and the same teacher has probably called us out forty times for the same "fault"

In my opinion, the boards simply end up as the white background for a projected display from the computer the teacher has access to. I really do not see that they have any great return for their investment, and we would have been better off spending the money elsewhere.

Oh, and with regards the immersive suite I mentioned, we have one of those too. A full HD cinema quality projector, 40 foot special reflective screen, multiple inputs, full surround sound etc. etc. Fully 50% of our staff are unable to turn it on, despite repeated training sessions on its use. As far as I am concerned, that was Ł60,000.00 which was criminally wasted.

However, it makes the parents happy, and sadly that seems to be what drives a lot of decisions.
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Old 26.09.2011, 20:37
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Re: Why are interactive whiteboards all the rage in schools now?

I loved my interactive whiteboard (teaching Year 1 and then Reception). I didn't use it every lesson, but I did use it a lot. Sometimes resources online or from Expresso, for starters, introductions or plenaries. Often resources I created specifically to fit in with what I was teaching, especially in the phonics programme - it meant I could create books that contained sight words or letter combinations I was working on that also related to the topic. But most often I used it for very 'general' stuff - I had a self registration set up, each child came in, moved their name to the 'packed lunch' or 'dinner' section and while they did that I was free to talk to parents, deal with any issues etc. I had a large timer that played the countdown theme while they got changed for PE. Or I just used it as I would have done a whiteboard, i.e. for shared writing, with the difference that I could save it and return to it another day or print it out to remind me what we'd done.

Of course there was also the year I taught my 5 and 6 year olds how tennis scoring worked and we spent several afternoons doing art or DT with the live scores from Wimbledon on the whiteboard and we followed Tim Henman and Andy Murray avidly...
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Old 26.09.2011, 20:46
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Re: Why are interactive whiteboards all the rage in schools now?

I hate the things! We used to have one in my German class at uni and the writing doesn't come up where you place the pen. We all ended up looking like 5-year-olds the way the writing came out.

What's wrong with a projector on a normal whiteboard?

Last edited by Kamarate; 26.09.2011 at 21:06.
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Old 26.09.2011, 20:53
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Re: Why are interactive whiteboards all the rage in schools now?

yeah - back to the slate and chalk - much cheaper and better- lol.
When I did my teaching practice, using a tape recorder and a banda (alcohol) machine with a stencil with SEVERAL colours on was all the rage. OHT's and the projector we wheeled around everywhere were the bee's knees.
Good teaching is ... good teaching. Technology and gimmicks can help, but kids soon get bored with the newest thing. Must say my evening class italian teacher was brilliant at using it- and we ended up with printed sheets of any new vocab used in the lesson before we went home. Grazie Matteo.
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Old 26.09.2011, 21:08
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Re: Why are interactive whiteboards all the rage in schools now?

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I really do not see that they have any great return for their investment, and we would have been better off spending the money elsewhere.
What are the odds that teachers would have told you exactly that if they had been asked?
Or did they cheer for it at that time? Genuine question, just asking...
We made it very clear what would be a waste of money on us so the school administration was fully informed. It may be different elsewhere.
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Old 26.09.2011, 21:22
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Re: Why are interactive whiteboards all the rage in schools now?

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What are the odds that teachers would have told you exactly that if they had been asked?
Aha, the perils of SLT getting a bee in their bonnet.

In truth, I cannot answer as the main procurement was before my start at the school.

However, I can tell you that since I have been there, we have had a department who were without the boards cause all sorts of issues and arguments until they were finally purchased and fitted. At which point they were simply used as backdrops for the projectors. To the best of my knowledge, neither of their boards have ever been used interactively.

I do sometimes wonder if staff actually realise the difference between an interactive board and a simple projector and display area. We could have fitted projectors for considerably less cost than the boards.

That may have been a case of jealousy by the department, but equally I have learnt to fully question the reasons why someone wants a particular piece of equipment, and not just assume they know why they are asking for it. However, refer back to my first comment, and of course, it is never possible to question the reasonings of SLT

Edit, just realised not everyone will know what SLT means. SLT = Senior Leadership Team, usually the head, the deputy heads and the chair of the board of governors.

Last edited by Tony W; 26.09.2011 at 21:25. Reason: to clarify info
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Old 26.09.2011, 21:36
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Re: Why are interactive whiteboards all the rage in schools now?

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We could have fitted projectors for considerably less cost than the boards.
You would have been proud of me, it is exactly what I requested. To be honnest, I just described my needs, I let the technical people tell me what piece of equipment corresponds to that. I don't care how those things are called or how expensive they are, but I care very much that people get the right info before making decisions about my working conditions.

On a serious note: as long as it is not part of the recruiting policy to only get teachers using IWB for real, there are only two possibilities: either taking the lost or staying as close as possible to staf real practice.

My stand on it: getting a IWB does not create the need for one. The need must be there before the thing. Math people at my place were crying for it, they now explode in happiness whereas litterature, humanities and art people just laughed at the director. Fact is the school saved a lot of money by asking teachers and following their lead. And our Matura results are excellent, thank you for your concerns.
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Old 26.09.2011, 21:40
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Re: Why are interactive whiteboards all the rage in schools now?

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From what I've read on the Internet, there is no statistically valid research indicating that these devices help kids learn. Why do schools insist on pouring so much money into this unproven technology? Are they just a selling point for I-Phone infatuated parents?
Spell checker does not work on my IWB
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Old 26.09.2011, 21:47
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Re: Why are interactive whiteboards all the rage in schools now?

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You would have been proud of me, it is exactly what I requested.
I wish there were more teachers like yourself. Sadly, here in the UK, IT services have got a pretty bad rep with the rest of the staff, and as such, we are often the last to be informed of things and it then tends to be an instruction to get on with it.
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Old 26.09.2011, 21:50
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Re: Why are interactive whiteboards all the rage in schools now?

Problem with the UK is also all the fancy brochures which the schools have to put together to advertise their schools to the community - even the most modest of state schools. Teckie stuff like IWB look good and give the impression the school is ahead of the rest- impressive to parents and kids.
And don't get me started on League tables
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