So I was at a meeting where were asked to vote on this question. Would you rather have a tablet (with a wireless connection to the data projector) or an Interactive White Board (with a computer connected to it)? Just a clarification: We are talking one tablet for the whole class or one IWB for the class. Explain your pick.

Tags: IWB, tablet, vote

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I would love to have a tablet -- hands down! I have a SmartBoard in the classroom and it is a glorified whiteboard. With the SB I am still stuck to the front of the room unless I plug in the wireless mouse and run the PowerPoints as I wander the room. Additionally, if I want to have students write on the board they must do it one at a time (so much for review games) unless the school comes up with some extra money to buy the bells and whistles to with the SB. We know this is not going to happen given the economy...

Most importantly, to make the SB interactive given the base model students must get in and out of their desks. At middle school this makes classroom management (already tough) a bear. I would prefer to be able to bring the tablet to the student so I can remain in control.

Now if you want to do both... You might really have a winning combination!
Hi David,

I agree with Peter. I have a Smartboard and yes, it has definitely beaten an overhead projector hands down. I was playing games on the board, demoing lessons and having kids come up to write on it and complete work. I am finding a few issues with it. First, with the WB I find that the students loose focus on the lesson, because they obsess with being "next" to go up and use it. Some get up to the board and then don't know what to do, they just want up. Other loose interest quickly because they have no interest in going up. Its like having a friend with a Playstation Wii, when they play and you watch, the fun goes pretty quickly.

Second, I am still stuck at the front or at the computer station using the WB as a screen. I can't float around the class.

Thirdly, I watched our district Math Mentor come to my class and quietly wander the room with a tablet. She quietly asked students to demonstrate their work and write examples of their good thinking on it. More students got a chance to write, the intimidated students had a chance to be successful even if their idea was a simple one. As she wandered the room all eyes were on her because they never knew who was going to be chosen next to write on the TB.

Finally, with OneNote on her tablet, she could save the work that the students did as is. It was not just a snapshot of the screen. She pulled up other students work from other schools to demonstrate their thinking too.

All in all, the Smartboard is a good tool. I find a projector alone to be more valuable that the SB in this situation. A wireless tablet would allow more freedom.

Hope this helps,
Brian
I've noticed the "when's it my turn" obsession and created a job Whiteboard Helpers for the K-6 elementary students that I see once a week. 3 or 4 students will be on the IWB that day, and then a different 3 or 4 students will be on the next week.

I've taught 8th grade US history and I wouldn't call it Whiteboard Helpers, but I would structure something similar on a weekly or daily basis.

I also have a rule that if your bothering me and others about your turn you will lose your turn.
I currently have a mimio, but find that with a tablet and wireless mouse, I don't really need the mimio. I agree with the others who posted before me: the tablet helps make it more STUDENT interactive.
I think the answer to this question lies in the subject and the age of the students you teach. I teach high school German and I love my SmartBoard. I like having kids get up out of their seats to come to the board and manipulate the language, move pictures to the appropriate vocabulary categories, and work with some of the flash activities to help them learn and use the language better. One of our math teachers has a tablet. He prefers the tablet over the Smartboard. It allows him more flexibility with his students. No one is standing in front of the screen obstructing how to solve an math equation. For me, a little obstruction is not a big deal as long as students can see the end result.

In my classroom I have not noticed that students are not as focused with the SmartBoard if it is not their turn at the board. I think my students watch the board more to see what action is happening at the board. I use a lot of pictures and shrink them down so they are not recognizable. Students seem to be mesmerized when another student comes up to the board and enlarges the picture. The students then categorize these pictures, talk about them, describe them, etc. I don't need to be at the front of the board for this activity.

I agree that my SmartBoard would be more effective if I had student computers with the student software on them. That way the students who don't want to get up can still manipulate the items in the lesson.

I don't see my SmartBoard as a glorified whiteboard. It might be because those of us with SmartBoards in our school spend time learning how to use the tools to make sure we are using the board as an interactive board that goes far beyond writing on the board with markers.

As a foreign language teacher I would use a tablet if that were the only technology my school had, but I would definitely want a SmartBoard.
Tablet and wireless connection to data projector so I can move around the room. If you combine this with LAN School or other student monitoring software you can keep your students focused and on task
I would take the Tablet. I have had to move classrooms the last two years, and the expense of keeping me supplied with an SB (I am the district trainer as well) has been outrageous. All of the district rooms now have projectors and laptops, so a tablet would allow me to change rooms seemlessly.
I agree with the Tablet and wireless projector folks. For those who like students to get out of their seats, they can get out of their seat and come over to the Tablet...or the Tablet can go to them. I find the SB makes instruction too teacher focused. A Tablet and WP allow me to face my audience at all times and interact with them more directly. You also then don't have to worry about recalibrating which some teachers find burdensome. I really haven't met anyone who could sell me on a SB over a Tablet and wireless projector.
Isn't a iwb roughly $2,000- $3,000? How much is graphics tablet?
Hands down I would choose the IWB. I see my tablet as a convenience and my IWB as a necessity. I use my tablet as a lesson builder BEFORE class. My students use the IWB during class. Certainly I facilitate the lesson, but I would say that my students are up at the IWB more than I am. Frankly I don't want my students to touch my tablet. I would rather them model what they are doing in front of the rest of the class at the IWB.
Here is a typical way in which I use the IWB. I have made a problem before class with my IWB software. I pose the problem for the students to work on with their partner. For example, the steps to solving an equation are written in a mixed up order. The students are to try to make the order correct. Once some discussion has occurred, I pick students at random to go up to the white board and move one step in to what they believe is the right place. They must justify why they moved it. They are also allowed to move any previous steps as long as they justify why they think that. After many students have gone to the board to show and justify their work, we get to the correct order and we move to a different activity.
I understand that the activity I just described could be done with a tablet. Pass the tablet from student to student. However, all the other students are looking at the screen while the student is talking to the class. You don't get that personal connection with the student teaching the rest of the class. It is kind of second hand. Whereas the IWB has the student directly working with the material and the other students.
Let me put it this way. If a tablet can do it, then the IWB can do it, but not always the reverse.
Lastly, I think both is the best.
Dave Sladkey
Naperville Central High School

I'm a college student who hasn't had much experience with either pieces of technology in a classroom setting, but I would choose the IWB. I have had more contact and experience with an IWB than a tablet and can see it being more useful. While the tablets have their many benefits, it is not a necessity. Some arguments presented against the IWBs deals with distractions of "being next" these are going to occur with the tablet as well, especially when teaching younger students. There are methods that have been mentioned earlier to deal with this distraction and they seem very beneficial. The IWBs also provide movement for the students. Being able to go up to the board and work out a problem is a small, but needed activity. While some argue that is make classroom management more difficult, having students idle in their seats for over 6 hours can also negatively affect classroom management. Many IWBs also allow for multiple students to work at one time, these may cost more, but the technology is out there. I see far more conventional uses from an IWB than a tablet, but that is merely my opinion. Many other commenters offered great points for the uses of tablets though!

I would want the IWB. I believe that IWB’s are one of the best resources for learning in a class. Having students working with the IWB allows for more collaboration and participation from the whole class. I also appreciate the size of an IWB compared to a tablet. While a tablet has students working on a small screen an IWB allows for a student to interact on a larger surface. When considering younger students I believe this is especially important because it allows for a different part of the brain to be used. IWBs have countless ways that they can be used and they do not have many of the limitations of tablets.  I think the scaling of the board really makes a difference in the quality of interaction compared to a tablet, even if the tablet is being projected.

 

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