I used to wish my school would spring for an interactive whiteboard. This year, however, I got a projector in my room and recently added a wireless drawing pad. After using these, I don't see much need for an interactive whiteboard.

With google docs, sketchcast, and another tool I just found - Imagination Cubed, I can do most things I've seen iboards do. When I throw in the wireless sketchpad, I have even more freedom and the kids can "manipulate" things on screen themselves. ( I've written more about the tools I use on my blog).

All this comes for significantly less money than iboards. Does anyone else use a similar setup? Are there iboard users who think that a simple projector and sketchpad can't measure up?

Tags: iboards

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If you take a look at this youtube webcast, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5s5EvhHy7eQ, Johnny Lee shows how you can create a low-cost multi-touch Whiteboard using the Wiimote using free software that he has developed. I know that a number of teachers in our school district are using this and love it.
This is a great project for students to build for themselves. Directions, videos, and software downloads are on this site.
Absolutely. It's an affordable alternative.
We have done this at our District. We found that we had to ceiling mount the WII controller since when you stand in front of it and the screen, it interrupts the signal.

The big problem is that it is not reliable. You constantly have to reset it and tweak it. It would only work in the hands of some very tech savvy teachers who can deal with those issue.

It is a lot of fun, and in the right hands, a good but high maintenance solution.
The big promise educational technology holds out is that we will be able, finally, to grasp truly individualized learning. IWBs, however, reinforce the 19th Century model of teaching and learning in large classes, with students forced to proceed in lockstep, whether or not they are successfully learning the material. I fear that they are seducing teachers away from the educational revolution that could, and should, be happening.
Hi Ian,

IWBs do not have to reinforce any model of teaching. How teachers integrate technology into the class is partly dependent on their understanding of the affordances of the technology. With any 'new' technology there is a time lapse before we get confident to explore and be creative/innovative in it's useage.

"A key concern is with pedagogy and the processes of learning and teaching, rather than with technology per se….and this is vital not least because as Carey Jewitt and Gemma Moss remind us:

The value and impact of particular attributes of a technology depends on how it fits with existing pedagogic purposes, approaches and priorities.."


The above is a quote from the following link. The post shares observations by Professor Karen Littleton that emerged during a research conference in the UK examining implications when using interactive technologies in the classroom
http://www.classroom20.com/forum/topics/interactive-whiteboards-uk
I find it interesting that this discussion is still so relevant a year after the original post. I use an IWB in my second grade classroom as both a traditional teaching tool and for students to use in centers. There are times during the day when I need to address the group as a whole, but one of my goals for the past school year was to get the "stuff" out of my hands and into theirs. For example, during whole class reading, I used many of the interactive tools included in the Smartboard Notebook software. This allowed students to sort, compare/contrast, develop vocabulary etc. In centers I created many different activities that students could do alone or in small groups. One thing that is nice for me is I have only 4 desktops in my classroom. Using an IWB I can get a larger number of students on a computer at once.
I've made up my mind about how I'm going to spend the money.

2 Acer Aspire Netbooks, for my team teacher and I to use with both classes. We have our own laptops; school provided.
1 LCD projector for my teammate; rolling, but likely mounted later not sooner.
10 Headsets for recording voice audio.

We're a Mac school. We have 1:1 in the 7th & 8th grades, a relic of a mobile laptop computer lab (15ish) in the Intermediate Wing (Grades 4-6). Scattered desktops are in the primary classrooms. Well functioning/maintained Computer Lab in the center of the school, behind glass; about 18 stations there.

Trying to get admin to consider the wisdom of moving from Mac to Netbooks. Also, trying to illuminate about Google Apps.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to this discussion for sharing your thinking, and informing my decision.
I found this today.

41 Interesting Ways and Tips to Use Your Interactive Whiteboard In the Classroom

http://clifmims.com/blog/archives/2605
That is exactly the way to go.
My District is opening a new school (I am the IT Director).
We are currently a Mac District.
Every computer will be a netbook (I hope to run Linux and touchscreen netbooks) and running most if not all Apps in the cloud, including Google Docs for all students and teachers.
Every class will have a doc cam and projector. But, get this. If we can find a good WIRELESS projector that works well with touchscreen netbooks,then, every computer is its own Smartboard for no additional costs.

Moving to Google Docs and netbooks will save us tons of money and actually increase the functionality of technology for the students.

A beautiful and sustainable future of education technology

Charles, I have a good business case for this direction if you want it to present to your District administration.

John
Hi there - I too am looking into a cheaper solution for interactive tablets/boards in the classroom. What is the name of the drawing pad you use, and do you have a class set for your students? Thanks!
Lisa
I think the wireless tablets is the way to go. Cheaper and they basically do the same thing without you having to be tied to the front of the classroom. I purchased a USB tablet, just to see if it would work and voila. Next step is to purchase an wireless one that I can use with the students. I have to purchase out of my own pocket.

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