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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I think so. I view the smartboards as a "look at me, the teacher. I'm up in front, you're in your seat listening" type of technology, while the projectors and laptops change the dynamic of the classroom in a more powerful way. Now what I really want is a wireless projector!

ps--yes, I know the kids can go up and interact with the board, but in the last century the kids could go up and do a problem on the board too.
I respectfully disagree, Sarah.

re: I'm up in front, you're in your seat listening

SmartBoards do just the opposite- they remove the teacher from the front of the room and turn that space over to the kids. With no SmartBoard classes are exactly as you described- teacher in front- center of attention- kids seated and listening. SmartBoards flip that environment on its head. Teacher off to the side- students become center of attention- kids jumping and clapping and shouting answers.
The whole point of a SmartBoard is to give the kids something to interact with, while at the same time grabbing the rest of the classes' attention. When I went to school in the 1980s, no one cared what another kid wrote on the board with chalk. No one got excited when I wrote a math problem on the board. No one jumped out of their seat screaming the answer. With SmartBoards, this behavior is the norm.

The big problem with SmartBoards to me, is that it makes classroom discipline more difficult. Often it is impossible to contain the excitement of the child and the class can be very noisy while a student is engaged with an interactive multiplication game.
Well said... this is my experience also. I used a wireless slate for some time before getting a IWB to use. The slate got in the way of the dynamics of the lesson. I found myself leaving it somewhere in the classroom or the thing turned itself off to conserve power leaving a pregnant pause when I wanted to interact.

The blackboard - whiteboard was an essential educational tool for a long time and it does work. The IWB extends this to a new level and far exceeds it in engagement. You can guided teach with it, you can share teach with it.

The key for me is whole school planning and professional development of staff to prevent it being a very expensive projector screen.
Any ideas about how to keep the rest of the class engaged while one student is at the board? I've been told this is the major reason teachers in my building don't use the smartboard.
I'm in agreement here ... but we also need to agree that there are a variety of technologies available. I have a Promethean ActivBoard and while I use it extensively, my students are increasingly taking center stage.
We use Airliners (made by) Smartboard. The software offers tons of applications (even as a stand alone), works for me. N.
The Airliner appears to just be a Wacom tablet and looks exactly like what I have. What do you do with it that can't be done with a projector and drawing pad projected on a whiteboard?

I saw one Airliner priced at $499 dollars. I got the wacom bluetooth tablet for $240.
If you want to use the Smart Software then you need to have a Smart product - this can be either an Airliner or a Smartboard (or others)

The airliner is basically the wacom bluetooth tablet - but the computer will recognise it as a smartboard product and so unlock some more features of Smart Notebook. I would guess that's why there's a premium added.

I think there's a lot to be said for a projector, wireless slate and wireless keyboard (plus wireless mouse) and you can do pretty much all you can do on an IWB. I do tend to find them a little fiddly, and some kids (especially the younger ones) will struggle to use them effectively since there's no image on the airliner for them... like all graphics tablets it takes time to get used to)
I agree, iboards are easier to manipulate for young kids than a drawing pad. But until they make one that will do the dishes for me or inspire every student to put forth his best effort on each assignment, I'm going to stick with the less expensive alternatives.
the other thing you are talking about is an EBeam I think
I agree with this statement. I have a mimio in my classroom and it is great for being able to save things that go on in class (examples, written questions, etc.) I am able to save items from class each day as pdf files and then post them on our online learning community for our school. This is WONDERFUL for students who are absent or for review by students who were in class each day.
I completely agree with you Brie. I too have a Mimio and it has literally transformed my classroom (2nd grade) into a collaborative learning environment. I am usually not at the board, I am walking around helping each student as needed and making sure we are all on task.... they are excited, but, I find they are more involved in the lesson/activity. We are able to jump online or interact at a moments notice. I save most everything too, and put it on our website or our Wiki. It just makes things easier.

Of course, the kids have their moments, but by using the Mimio, I am able to quickly get them involved in a lesson. I would not have it any other way.



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