Quit Blaming Interactive Whiteboards for What’s Wrong with Teaching

In SmartBoard, Teaching Strategies by rafranzdavis2 Comments

If I had a single dollar for every time that I saw one of the below statements, I could quit education…literally!

1. IWB are horrible for kids.
2. IWB are an overrated and overpriced unnecessary expense.
3. SMARTboards are a waste of money!
4. Promethean boards are a waste of money!
5. (Insert board name here) are a waste of money!
6. I can just use my ipad and (insert app)

Last but NOT least and the one that inspired this post…

7. IWB deprive kids of agency…followed by a multitude of “I agree”

Let me be clear…I am NOT a fan of…

1. Sit and get instruction.
2. Teachers being the ONLY one touching the IWB or (IWB app projected)
3. Drag and Drop “interactivity”…It’s NOT interactivity…it’s ridiculous and LOW LEVEL (opinion)
4. One person being the “board writer” and everyone else on a worksheet.
5. Jeopardy games…or kooshball games…or games where only ONE kid interacts
6. IWB used as fancy overheads…writing on a worksheet only…YES, even for MATH!

The above items are, in my opinion, what teachers do WRONG! Does this mean that every use of an IWB is bad? No, it means that teaching methadologies are bad and that YOU need to train instead of sending all IWB into eternal damnation!

The Fix!

If you say, “buy (insert devices)”, fine, that is a choice and a valid one. Got money? Do it! But, bad teaching travels device to device. The IWB is a device. THAT IS IT! It’s a big old touch screen device that is connected to a computer. I watched a teacher “model good teaching” using his ipad. It was not good. It was the same “teacher driven instruction” but with an app…period.

The only fix is to train teachers, not to be device specific, but to be curriculum specific. Show them how to bring media into a lesson, how to design instruction so that all students are engaged. In math, that may mean that along with your “touch enabled device”, students have manipulatives or heck…their OWN device.

Pairs of students or groups of students can drive classroom conversations through the world that is enabled via the web tools through…wait for it…YOUR IWB! It happens people…IT DOES!!!

The IWB does nothing but add another dimension to instruction. If it is done incorrectly, start with the creator of the learning environment and FIX IT.

But by all means, stop blaming the devices.

PS…If you BOUGHT the devices but did not invest in training, look in the mirror and FIX IT.

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