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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While I agree with your assessment on the students - why is this a question of what the other students are doing while someone is at the IWB? What are they doing today when your at the board (insert type here) and the other students are watching? Wouldn't that be the same situation?

Just wondering
I was wondering that too.

I'll admit it would be wonderful if my students had computers at their desks and could manipulate the items on the SmartBoard at the same time that the person at the Smartboard was, but this isn't a reality in our school. I don't make the decisions on what technology we get.

There are still many students in my classroom who need to watch how others do the problems before they can do it themselves. I don't think having students observe is hurting their abilities to learn. Some students actually like to watch before they start working with the content.
You all might like this article - Classroom Vice, By Gary Stager.

I agree with some of the previous comments. There are some teachers who can do amazing things with IWBs, no matter which brand you buy. And I do find it strange that IWBs are being purchased for entire districts without anything that even resembles solid evidence of student achievement.

But as I travel around the country and work with lots of teachers and tech coordinators, the thing I hear most often is that they are "looking for something to do" with the IWBs. (Actually, they are looking for something to justify the huge amount of money they spent on them.)

PS Wade - there are teachers in Calif. wishing they could have only 30 kids in a classroom. 45 is not unheard of, sad to say.
I have been working with IWBs for about 8 years. I have been in many classrooms with one of three different kinds of boards. I am a huge proponent of research based purchasing, but I have seen them in action and seem the difference they make on site. Also, as far as something to do with them Smart Ideas are free to those with Smart Boards. The ideas and resources are amazing. Promethean Planet is free for anyone and the ideas and many teacher made lessons are great.
Again, I have to ask the question - What difference? Student motivation, student involvement? No argument there. But what about student achievement? There is not hard data about interactive whiteboards helping to improve student achievement. Even the data put out by the UK stated that there were various tools, including IWBs that lead to student improvement. With no direct link to just the IWBs.
Students love having the boards. They are more engaged. Many of our students don't have large experience bases and seeing a rainforest or another student's approach to a math problem does motivate them. They seek ways to learn digitally.
I'll tell you when we will see the difference - when the kids have their own output onto the IWB. I believe the companies started to develope the pads for the students which can affect what's going on on the IWB. The moment we make them active we will see the difference. Right now they are bored watching how the teacher shows them "something", doesn't matter how interesting this "something" is for the teacher.
At the last PD I was laughing because the presenter shows how the teacher can make a power point presentation to show it to the kids. HA! They want to make their own power point presentations. I made about 10 PPP and nobody ever saw them but myself :( The kids were too busy making their own :):):)
My dream as a teacher is to have a classroom with 25-30 computers and each of them has a chance to show what's going on there to the rest of the class on the IWB. I had that once, but the school was closed.
If each student in the classroom has a computer, all they really need to show their work to the class is a projector. That really cuts the costs. ASUS is putting out some small laptops for $299 (Amazon.com). How about 5 of those instead of an IWB. They work great with a projector. Sturdy with no moving parts.
No more "sage at the stage", teachers need to step away from the board, interactive or otherwise.
Oh, no. We show our projects to the parents during open school night. We need to share and show each other different tricks, buttons, info, and pictures we found. And the teacher needs to show common mistakes or misunderstandings as well as the best achievments and examples. We are talking about the process and growth not the result.
You can observe how fast they learn from each other and how much easier it is to show one slide instead of the whole show which is too late to change any way.
I completely agree that the teacher should step away and this is why each student has to have an output on the "projector" or "IWB" whatever else is there.
On the other hand, if it is too expensive we manage fine without IWB, a computer in the hands of each student is much more important.
My two cents. Like any tool IWB can be used effectively in certain contexts. My district is still working on getting projectors into the classrooms, which in the economic times we are in, is a challenge in itself. Tossing in a IWB is not a reality. We are looking at alternate solutions like giving each class a wireless mouse and keyboard that the teacher and students can use. I like the idea of using the WiiMote, but this would not be practical for most of our teaching staff who would not be able to hack the system together.

In the demonstrations I have seen with IWB, I have come away as seeing it as another thing that will promote the sage on the stage teaching approach. One teacher demonstrating it said that they felt they had to use it all day to justify the cost of it. While there is some great interactivity and reaches kinesthetic and visual learners in ways that a chalk board could not, I still have a hard time justifying the expense when we could create some more affordable solutions for the classrooms that have projectors.
How about $100 for an iPen. It's a step up from the wireless mouse.
They are actually $50 now on Amazon. Thanks for the suggestion.



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