I used to wish my school would spring for an interactive whiteboard. This year, however, I got a projector in my room and recently added a wireless drawing pad. After using these, I don't see much need for an interactive whiteboard.

With google docs, sketchcast, and another tool I just found - Imagination Cubed, I can do most things I've seen iboards do. When I throw in the wireless sketchpad, I have even more freedom and the kids can "manipulate" things on screen themselves. ( I've written more about the tools I use on my blog).

All this comes for significantly less money than iboards. Does anyone else use a similar setup? Are there iboard users who think that a simple projector and sketchpad can't measure up?

Tags: iboards

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They are still a relatively new technology and to my knowledge there haven't been any longitudinal studies done on student achievement however one piece of research I have read stated that there was an increase in student achievement in literacy, science and maths that occurred in the first year of implementation that then evaporated in the following year. The thought being that the gain was probably due to increased preparation on the part of the teachers getting used to the new technology. (Balanskat, A., Blamire, R. and Kefala, S. (2006) The ICT Impact Report. A Review of studies of ICT impact on schools in Europe. European Schoolnet. Retrieved April 21, 2008 from http://insight.eun.org/shared/data/pdf/impact_study.pdf
)
Having a projector and fast internet connection has much more of an impact on learning than the IWB itself IMO
Jason,
Give a good teacher a computer, projector and Internet connection and they can teach the world. I agree it's the projector that really makes the difference.
Arlene
My district has interactive white boards in about 75% of our classrooms. Engaging our students and involving them in their learning is key with digital learners. I never an auditory (lecture) learning. Bringing learning to life on big screen is making a difference.
We have IWBs throughout our school, in every room. The IWB is a great tool. However, weighing the cost of one up alongside other innovations I am still unconvinced that it is "the best thing since sliced bread".
Linda,
I beg to ask, what difference - motivation?, involvement?, or do you have results of student achievement? Just playing the devil's advocate here.
I had one for a year (two years back before I moved on) and they didn't at all grow tired of the iboard's use, even if it lost its 'wow' factor.

The motivation factor is high! We know what that means for learning - even without a longitudinal study. Kids loved showing their friends what they can do, they did't mind making mistakes and they all wanted to be the one to answer a question.
I'm guessing this was with younger students?
There is actually quite a bit of evidence that 21st century jobs WILL use surfaces for direct manipulation of virtual objects not only in design but manufacturing, engineering, etc.

view - http://www.mechdyne.com/markets/designManufacturing/marketsDesignMa...

for a little bit of support information and data.

===
Rich,
I agree that manufacturing jobs will need 21st century skills, but these are CAD design and virtualization, not IWBs. No where in ISTE goals for 21st century skills are use of IWBs. Most of our students still need to accomplish basic typing skills first.
Most of what I've seen with IWBs is teacher driven not student driven.
Yes, manipulating things around an IWB can be very motivating for a student. But what about the other 30 students in the classroom?
Not all students are going to be playing ghostblasters at the front of the room. What about having teams of students using multiple Interwrite pads in a classroom to solve problems. At least for that more students are involved.
I think the problem is for many of these tools students are limited to one at a time. Don't we want all students to be learning? That's where the one to one initiative comes in. Now everyone has a tool to interact and learn with at the same time.
So, I ask Mike's question again, "Are White Boards really necessary?"
Funny how classrooms differ. Our K-3 are 20 students, 4-6 are mostly 30 students with some classes at 34 students. So you can see how my vision is a little different.
I think IWBs can be great in primary classrooms (K-2), but I've had students in second and third grade using the Interwrite pad with little or no difficulty. In fact I took an iPen (much more difficult to use) to a kindergarten classroom to use with Starfall.com and was surprised at their ability.
Sure it takes a little time to get used to. It did for me, but after that learning curve, I love the pad.
I have one teacher experimenting with a USB mouse to see how far away from the computer the mouse with a mouse pad on a clipboard will work. Now there's some inexpensive interactive idea. Just a projector and a mouse. Little hands do great with that.
I suppose very few classroom tools are really "necessary" (maybe the pencil and paper) ...... but certainly in the ideal classroom IWB's they would be present ... and as cheap as a wiimote whiteboard can be implemented very within reach for most classroom !

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