Are "Interactive White Boards" transformative to your teaching and/or classroom?

Are "Interactive White Boards" transformative to your teaching and/or classroom? We are looking for feedback on whether they are worth the money. Do you really get your bang for your buck?

--- I am not looking for what company is better or what software is better...

Thanks for your feedback everyone!

Tags: board, interactive, iwb, promethean, smart, white

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When I got the board, part of my excitement was the ability to post the notes -- we have an attendance problem! -- however, when I wrote the notes and drew diagrams and then either converted it to pdf or word, it was nearly impossible for the kids to read. I have ended up typing the notes as we take them and then posting them in I have ended up basically using the projector portion of it for that anyway!
That was a GREAT tutorial! Thank you!
So, I'm not sure I follow your argument here...

You say on the one hand that there are better ways to spend money that to buy IWBs. Into that, I interpret that you think IWBs are not really very helpful to the average teacher.

Then you say that they should try a Wiimote Whiteboard? So you think that it's OK for an IWB to be a semi-effective tool, so long as you don't have to pay to much for it? You're suggesting that an IWB CAN be effective if it's really cheap to buy? Or are you suggesting that IWBs are not effective regardless of how much you pay for one?

So which is it? Are IWBs effective and worth having, or not effective and not worth having?

Because you're right, about one thing... the average teacher is average at using technology and so will almost certainly struggle using a Wiimote IWB. I can't see how you can justify a less-than-complete IWB solution (regardless of the price) as a better option.

BTW, I'm always amused when I hear people talk about the Wii Whiteboard as the "$60 IWB"... forgetting that it also requires a $1500 projector, wall mounted speakers, power and cabling, computer to drive it, etc. If these things are not included, it's not really a fair comparison is it?
Chris, I think the $60.00 is for the IWB only, as in compared to the amount of money that you would spend on a smartboard or any other IWB. All of them require the same components and cabling (actually you save some money on cabling too). We also get our video projectors for $700, while we spend about $5,000.00 for our IWB's, we could get almost the same results for right around $1,000.00. This could leave a lot of money for training, resources, etc.. Maybe a teacher could choose between the commercial one or the Wiimote one, and if they choose the Wiimote one, they could use the other $4,000 for any technology related items they needed. You are right about "non techie" people having a hard time using it, and that is my one problem with it. But if a person is even a little techie, and wants it bad enough, it can work. In high schools it could even be incorporated into a project for the students. Thus allowing them to appreciate the IWB even more! I think cost is always a factor and should be. I think Dales example video, is an excellent case in point, for the difference in costs between most traditional IWB's. The savings achieved by using the Wiimote whiteboard, they can easily afford to have two setups in every classroom (or one in two classrooms). It always comes down to what is affordable, but even more, is to what is sustainable. One thing that I have not seen anything on, is what is the refresh rate for these units? How much money will be spent on projector bulbs during a five year period? When will they need to be replaced, due to obsolescence or failure? When they are years old, with the software still be available for free, or will the proprietary software have to be purchased again? So what is the real total cost of these units going to be? I have no idea, does anyone else?
We are using the Mimio in our school and my teachers love it. Doesn't take up the space of the the big interactive boards and works just as well. I just put together a video for our next fundraiser of teachers using the device and finished off with some quotes of why they want these in their classrooms. Lots of great responses. We are hoping to add some tablets next year. I have a feeling some of our teachers will like the tablets more and others with want to stay with the Mimios. I am just happy to see so much technology being used in our classrooms. We are a K-6 school with 60+ teachers and over 1,300 students.
I would suggest everyone interested in this thread to listen to Scott and Dave @ ... They have an interesting take and it is a great listen to get practical ideas about using an IWB.

I do think IWB's are transformative if an instructor is prepared to use it transformatively.
Wow what a great question. This one is very dear to my heart.
Students teaching students is my motto. I want to have the students justify their work in front of the rest of the class. I try to design my activities with the idea that the students can come to the IWB and shift things around and then they would explain what they did and why they did it. Here is my top 10 list of why I thing they are transformational
10. Students like it
9. Novelty.
8. Seamless. My whole lesson can be driven with the IWB.
7. Carry Over from previous day's work. We can continue a visual the next day without losing momentum.
6. Storage and viewing for future use. (like an absent student)
5. Students are constantly moving and sorting things on the IWB.
4. Sound. Now we can touch the board and a sound will come out. For instance sort these VERBAL sentences.
3. The teacher can become the facilitator of the activity instead of the sage on the stage. I'm most often found in the back of my classroom intervening when necessary.
2. Student Collaboration is high. I have students go to the IWB with a partner to ease the fear.
1. Students are empowered by teaching other students.
Before reading all these wonderful entries I would have answered this question with an emphatic "Yes!" But after reading I think I'll change my answer to "Yes kind of"

You see up till this year I taught all vocal music in grades k-8 in our district. I was in 4 buildings each week and often visited 3 buildings in a day. I just didn't have the time to make all the cool manipulatives that I needed and to make them all 4 times.....This just wasn't happening. Large staves with moveable notes would have been cool but I didn't have the time to make them. Pictures of the instruments that were in color (so the kids could have a clue about families early on) were neat but I didn't have the money to get them printed out! There were many interesting sites on the net that I could have used to augment my classes but seeing them on my tiny TV screen was a waste of everyone's time.

But now I have an IWB. It takes me mere minutes to make these really cool and useable manipulatives digitally. Since it's so easy now I find myself thinking about new lessons I can create that take my kids beyond what we would normally do. Instead of making one class composition in first grade, now I can let each student make their own composition on the board. We play it together then I hit "save as" and the next kid hops up and we start over with a blank staff. By the end of the week I have 60 student written compositions that look nice and I can use for later lessons! Could I have done this lesson with posterboard and markers? Yep I could have but I didn't because it took too long. So that's what makes it transformative for me. My IWB has transformed my teaching by making these lessons possible in a shorter amount of time.
David and Brenda, it's great to hear such great stories from you both. To me the best part about teachers are how passionate they are about what they do and you both truly share that passion for teaching. It's great that products (like IWB's) can have such a positive impact on your learning environments :)

All the best,
Some emerging research and insights on IWBs & Clickers/Instructional Feedback in this interview with Dr Robert Marzano and Dr Debra Pickering
I have a permanent Promethean board in my room and have been using it for 3years. I cannot imagine teaching without one anymore. I from the generation where coloured chalk was a exciting for students. I have actively pursued my training with my board and am completing my Level Three training in a couple of months.

The secret to using an IWB is the amount of time you spend actually getting to know your board and what it is capable of doing. For the students in my room this is their second year with an IWB so they take it for granted.

I agree that tablets would be nice but you work within the system you are given and my school is being the IWB technology. The support from the Promethean Planet website plus their PD is incredible.

I admit that I don't always use the IWB to the best advantage and sometimes it is taking the place of a traditional whiteboard or a DVD player but even when using it for the mundane it raises the level of my teaching and the interaction of my students to a much higher level.
Heather, I agree with your statement: "The secret to using an IWB is the amount of time you spend actually getting to know your board and what it is capable of doing." Without the training, people use them as glorified whiteboards. Fortunately training can be done online through the Promethean and SmartBoard websites as well as numerous blogs, podcasts and videocasts.



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