the third rail

moving things forward

The Secret is in the Sauce

January 2, 2010 by seanwilliams · 2 Comments · iwb, teaching

I have seen the light…sort of. As far as IWB’s are concerned I have learned much since the last post.

The software created by Promethean is amazing and can truly help create interactive lessons. Lessons can be created to self check and practice accurately. Also, lessons can created that are are very engaging and target specific skills. Creating these lessons does take a bit of time however, even when you get pretty good with the tools. That isn’t meant as a negative thing ~ good lessons always take some time; I’m just saying.

The secret is creating these types of lessons. IWB’s are (at their core) really cool whiteboards, not so much interactive though. It is still very teacher lead and only a handful of students are able to be active learners at any one time or in any new or revolutionary way. However (this is the good stuff) if there was a way to PUSH the lessons created using Promethean software out to the students THEN you would have some interactivity! This means tablets of some sort, and Promethean viewer software which is not around yet, but they do have a basic version.

Of course this limits the need for IWB’s but would be great for engagement and learning. What if a teacher created a lesson for the IWB and then EVERY student were able to practice and self check for understanding? Now THAT is interactive and revolutionary learning. I am looking into the latest version of software which allows students to self pace and respond entirely through the handhelds, more on that next time!

2 Comments so far ↓

  • Chris Bell

    Very cool-I would be interested in changing my perception of IWBs as well, but the proof has to come in the form of individualized instruction. I think you’re on the right track and look forward to seeing what you come up with. The bummer is that it will cost more money–but I would want to know if the students could use netbooks or laptops along with the Promethean software. Being tied into more expensive hardware is hardly the solution I would think.

  • Gary S. Stager, Ph.D.

    That sure is an awful lot of IFs in one short post.

    I remain convinced that IWBs represent many of the worst trends in education towards teacher deprofessionalization, standardized curriculum, top-down delivery, endless testing and disenfranchised children.

    Projecting worksheets on the screen and conflating multiple-choice with engagement or understanding are profoundly bad ideas that should be abandoned, not codified with expensive toys.

    Nothing good will come of the widespread investment in this pre-Gutenberg technology that makes teachers expendable at worst and at best turns them into Vanna White.

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