Are "Interactive White Boards" transformative to your teaching and/or classroom?

Are "Interactive White Boards" transformative to your teaching and/or classroom? We are looking for feedback on whether they are worth the money. Do you really get your bang for your buck?

--- I am not looking for what company is better or what software is better...

Thanks for your feedback everyone!

Tags: board, interactive, iwb, promethean, smart, white

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I am 200% with you on that.
First, you get computers in the hands of each child, then you get the IWB with the network that allows each kid to have an output to IWB: this will create a real classroom for the future (no, we have to have had that already) without that we are still a classroom from the past and no IWB can change that, teacher centered class with new technology. Teachers are having all the fun showing their own Power Point Presentations and expecting the kids to enjoy by coming and touching the new thing :)
I agree with you that the IWB is more effective if students have their own computers and every student can be doing the lessons the same time as the teacher or the one student who is up at the board. There have been many times that I created an IWB activity but only one or two of the kids get to interact with it at a time. The rest just "sit and get" as if it were a lecture.
I know exactly what you are saying :)
Last time a PD person came to my school to show us how else we could use the IWB, I did ask them what is being planned for the students. They are now in a process of testing a pad-like lil computer in the hands of each student with an output onto the Smart Board. They are coming soon, we just have to remind them that we are waiting and eager to start.
This can be done as a center type of format, so all of the students get to use the board, just at different times.
I have to disagree with this. I am the tech coordinator at a 4/5 intermediate school and we got the IWB for the fourth grade and tablets for the fifth grade. I was extremely excited about the tablets and really thought the boards were just going to be a big mouse pad, but what I found was very different. The IWB worked and worked well on a consistent basis. We were able to secure high quality PD with those boards and there was a lot of excitement attached to them. The tablets, although we thought there was going to be engaging interactivity, did not work. The technology did not work and was always disconnecting. The big idea projects always failed and became victim to the technology set up itself. The classrooms I visit are filled with students interacting with the board, the classrooms with the tablets are being used as a word processing lab and the teacher teaches without the interactivity. Next year, our fifth grade is having the boards installed in their classrooms. Maybe when the technology is a little more sophisticated and the training is available, the tablet will be a better route, but at this point, it is not.

I think if you have an interactive white board and iPads you can actually do both.  I can't recall the name of the app, but I know teachers are using iPads that connect with the interactive white board to manipulate it from anywhere in the room.  Students can then get a visual on the screen. A agree with Maria as well--let's focus resources on getting computers or tablet into the hands of the students so it's less teacher-centered.

Yes, IWB has transformed my teaching. I teach German and before my SmartBoard I had a lesson that showed German food items and a few phrases such as "What's there to eat?" "What do you prefer (to eat)?" and "delicious." Pre-IWB I showed my PowerPoint of the foods and asked a gazillion questions about the foods using the phrases above and trying to interact with my students involving the food. Then I get my SmartBoard. I still showed the PowerPoint but instead of asking a gazillion question, I use the SmartBoards interactive feature to have my kids sort the food, match the food with the definition, categories the food items according to types of food, etc. I spent as much time on teaching the food items with my IWB as I did before. The quiz results were astounding. Pre-IBW the quiz average was around 84% with a few kids getting a D or F. After doing the lesson on the IWB the average score was around 94% and the lowest grade was 80%.

I don't know if the change was because my students were so much more focused since I was the only teacher who had a SmartBoard at the time and the technology was super cool to them.

A year after having my SmartBoard, I feel that my students look at the board more. If students seem to be waning in attention, I can quickly add a picture or graphic to my lesson and that helps. They almost always watch when I add something to the SmartBoard. If they are watching me, there is more of a chance that they are paying attention. I teach high school students, 9th through 12th graders and sometimes they are in their own world and not paying attention. The IWB helps keeps them focused on the lesson.

Having the SmartBoard helps me plan my lessons so that the kiddies will get up and move. Movement is so necessary for our students and I see so many classes where they students simply sit for 70 minutes at a time.

If teachers use them as they should be used then I think that they are worth the cost. However, if a teacher only treats it as a glorified whiteboard then it isn't worth the money. Students should touch the IWB more often than the teacher does for the IWB to be an effective tool.
I loved the comments. We have piloted rooms with only the mobile slate/projector and rooms with IWBs. The teachers who have only a slate when asked replied that they would love to have the board too. Also, I found that not all teachers who use the slate go beyond the mobile mouse stage. Is this something others have noticed? Did the style of the teacher change as much as a teacher with an IWB?

Here are a few other observations:
- Teachers noted that students do not use the tablet frequently enough to become proficient, therefore more time is needed to do an activity if students are to input with the tablet.
- Some students have problems focusing on the projected lesson/notes and not on the teacher who is moving around the classroom. Remember, if your teacher moved our eyes moved with the teacher.

I like the slate but love the board too!
I agree with your teachers who said they would love both. I currently use the slate, and my 3rd graders had a hard time at first using the pen, but the more they use it the better they do. Some like the pen and some like the mouse.

I also agree about the "mobile mouse stage" - I had the slate for quite some time before I learned how to use it well. I've gone to workshops to learn how to make better use of it, and that has helped me a lot, hence, training is extremely important.

The majority of my students are able to focus well, because they love the "action" taking place on the board.

We are unable to afford IWB for our classes, and only piloted three (4th, 5th, 6th). However, one of the techie teachers at our district brought Johnny Lee and his $40 IWB to my attention. My son (6th grade) made one of the pens for his science fair project, and I've used that in my classroom when I want to use, or have the kids use the actual WB in the front of the room....they LOVE it. I had my son make three pens, so that three kids can be up there at one time...

Finally, I really have the best of both worlds - the Wiimote Whiteboard (Johnny Lee), the Airliner Tablet, and my HP Tablet PC, where I also use the IWB software...

Thanks for your post!
May I ask you Julie, as well as the other educators here, about ideas or tips on developing group interaction with the board?

Thank you!

Training is the key. If you mount a board in a teacher's room without much training, chances are it will be used as a projector, not really getting into the interactive power the board allows. I've seen teachers who have absolutely transformed their teaching while using the board, while others continue to only scratch the surface.

Although I wish our district would make more of an investment in the boards, at the same time I think districts that go willy nilly installing them in all rooms isn't the answer either.

Teachers should be asked what tool they would like in their rooms. Some can teach better with just a projector, others would want a wireless slate and some would want an Interactive board.
I is the key. I have sen the new PolyVision eno board. An interactive whiteboard that allows you to use dry erase markers, magnets and it is an interactive board. This board really does give the teacher back their front of room....PolyVision also does a great job of making sure the teachers using their board use it in an interactive way. They do provide the necessary training.



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