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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Precisely. It takes quite a bit of time for the board to become transformative... but the document camera is instant transformation.
I think it is a stretch. It can transform, but normally, it's just a digital chalkboard. The Document Camera on the other hand is amazing. While I do see SmartBoards left in halls or even removed from wall-mountings after the luster wears off, I have never seen any teacher in our district neglect their document cameras. So we don't recommend, nor promote interactive boards... for us, Document Cameras were the big push... and now, nearly every classroom in every elementary school has them in our district.
I recently reviewed some free interactive whiteboards (in this two part blog posting), which can be a great to get started with this at no cost, assuming you are in a classroom with multiple computers (you need a computer to interact). Just thought I'd mention this option!
Financially, whiteboards are $1000-$1400 (but coming down), and wireless tablets are $400-$600 (also coming down). The whiteboards are engaging and can be used by multiple persons up front as they take turns manipulating the screen. This is the only advantage I see with whiteboards. The wireless tablets, if RF (radio frequency), not IR (infra-red), work great, but take some practice getting the whole hand-eye coordination going. Working them like a mouse is quickly learned and as had been said below can be used throughout the classroom. Working them in writing or drawing and manipulating the various art type options needs to be practiced but once mastered really helps with presenting information. Based on costs alone, 2 or 3 wireless tablets vs 1 whiteboard gets similar technology in more classrooms.

John Hoffman
I have a SmartBoard in my classroom, several other teachers in my school do as well, and my dad's school has had one in every room for years - he is on his second one because the first was so old that they could not repair it. So, I feel like I have seen SmartBoard use over the years in many different settings, and I think that in MOST cases, it is the mounted projector that is really being utilized. I would be very happy with a mounted projector and a wireless keyboard and mouse. My thought is that you can get mounted projectors into more rooms, download the software so that people can start working with it and then see where the really transformative and interactive stuff might happen -- you can always add the board later.
Hey Dan Mass...

Clearly you have an interest in document cameras.... probably a financial interest. Are you a document camera vendor?

How about telling us WHY you think they are so transformative instead of just spruiking them at every opportunity...
Couple of new items to add to this forum.

Why I Hate Interactive Whiteboards By Bill Ferriter (Teacher magazine). A teacher talks about his own personal journey with IWBs and his current thoughts on their use in the classroom.

A "peer review" of Marzano's study of IWBs
by Jon Becker. Since the Marzano study was not peer reviewed, Dr. Becker wrote a 5 part analysis of the study and its methodology on his personal blog. In short, Becker found some serious issues in the validity of the study. Dr. Becker has the qualifications to make these assertions, he's an assistant professor at the Educational Leadership Department at Virginia Commonwealth University, teaching courses in school law and educational research methods.

Anyone using the Marzano research to support their purchase of IWBs owes it to themselves to review this work.
In our building we have opted out of the interactive white boards for a potential 1:1 laptop initiative. We aren't there yet, but want to put our time, energy, and money toward something that all students can use versus one student at a time. I also like the interactive response systems because it allows all students to be engaged at one time.

I have been looking for information on wireless tablets (cost, benefit...). I will look through the postings, but if anyone has resources or articles regarding this product I would love to see them.
When I was in high school we had the opportunity to have white boards in our science and math rooms. We did not have tablets, but we did have the central white board. I think it is worth every penny, it allows the teacher to write on it and save what was written. That way the teacher can compile them as notes or go back to it if a question was asked about a previous concept. It also allows for the teacher to show websites or videos and other stuff on the internet to pertain to that lesson. It worked well for me in high school and it also gets the kids excited because it is something more than chalk and board.

I think that interactive white boards are transformative. You can do so much more with them than a regular white board. You also aren't as confined to where you have to be such as over at your computer when you want to bring something up. Or even switching back and forth you don't have to go back and forth. You can do it all from one place, in front of the board.

In my opinion, white boards are worth the money because they provide students the opportunity to learn material in a visual and hands-on manner. They can be actively involved in the material they are studying by using the board's touch screen features.

"Interactive white boards" can play an important role in modern classrooms. They provide a new way for students to in fact be interactive. I think they allow for the students to potentially get out of their seat and take an active part in the lesson. This has been done with a typical white board, yes, but not quite with such depth and variety of these.



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