We recently got Interactive White Boards (IWB’s) in my district and they are pretty nifty. They came complete with student response systems (SRS or clickers), distributed sound system, and a document camera. All in all pretty great.
After using the board for a couple of months this is what I have noticed so far:
~ I’m still doing most of the talking. Just like having the LCD projector hooked up to my computer and going through presentations with them or looking at web pages.
~ The kids like to drag words to sort them and do activities of that nature but it takes FOREVER!! I think they will get better/faster in time but it is killing my plans now.
~ The kids love to write on the board. Of course my students have always had markers in their desk to come up and write on the board before so this is nothing new.
~ They love using the “clickers” and it is a good informal polling of the students, how many “get it” I really should save the results so I can find out which individuals answered what but I’m not there yet. The downside is only being able to use multiple choice questions at this point. Good for drills but not really higher level thinking. When my students are a little older or better at using the response pads that may change..we’ll see.
~ Students are already tuning out. It was shocking for me the first time a student asked “Do we have too (use the clickers)?” But I have been seeing it more often. As well as tuning out when we use the IWB. It is important to note that no matter what technology you have it will not replace classroom management and good, engaging teaching.
And that is my point. IWB’s are great in many ways and can be used in engaging ways. But then so can LCD projectors and hand held whiteboards. Or even construction paper.
My friend posted that she needed convincing that IWB’s were the panacea that they are being hyped as. I don’t think I can help that one as I still need to be convinced. What I am worried about is it is becoming increasingly difficult to engage students. Lighting up the whiteboard isn’t necessarily doing it. Nor clickers.
Tolerance -”a resistance to the effects of … after repeated exposure” Are the kids developing a tolerance to technology the way we are currently using it? Would it make more sense to back off spending money on technology purchases and spend it on developing teachers with solid skill sets THEN give them the tech tools? Or see what tools they want to use?