It's clear that for some time now many classroom teachers have still not moved into the interactive age of learning. Many teachers are anxious to embrace new technology based on the latest trend, and not necessarily technology that will help to improve student achievement. Before I begin here I want to stress that a good teacher is a good teacher even if all they have is a paper and pencil. But take those good teachers and train them in the integration of technology and their students will soar.
Many of our teachers are very excited about interactive white boards thinking that they are the latest and greatest and will solve all problems. Often Parent Groups are willing to fund this new technology without longterm considerations.There are so many considerations to make when deciding if this is something that will work in a classroom. I've seen them in primary classrooms where the students can't reach the top of the interactive board, and therefore, can't interact with them. I've also seen classrooms where teachers are the only ones interacting with the board. And unless the projector is mounted on the ceiling the shadowing can completely conceal the board when a student approaches.
Here's my 'Step Away From the Board " mantra. We have been doing stand and deliver for so long that it's very difficult for many teachers to leave the security of that location. In this day and age teachers must step away and let students take a more active part in their learning. When the students are interacting they are learning more and embed that learning for future use. It becomes impractical for a classroom with 30-40 students to get out of their seats to interact with a board, but in a primary class this could work just fine. Just consider how high the board is placed.
So now what do we do with the upper grade classes. As long as you have possession of a projector and computer you can use an interactive pen ($100 for an iPen) The teacher can stand anywhere in the room, except for at the board, and the pen and mouse pad can be handed to a student to complete a problem or show an example. For a little more, something like the Interwrite or Airliner ($500+) come along with some great software.
So think about stepping away from the board and let your students show what they can do.