If I have a data projector in my classroom, why do I need an interactive whiteboard?

Thursday, December 16th, 2010 | IWBs, technology

Many of the things you want to do in you classroom with technology can be done without an interactive whiteboard – in many instances a computer and a data projector would suffice.  Unfortunately many interactive whiteboards are used merely as a display surface – these boards have no value unless they are used for their intended purpose.

Once you start using technology to encourage learner participation, you will be able to judge whether you need an interactive whiteboard in addition to your computer and data projector.

An interactive whiteboard allows you to do exactly what you did before on your old board – you can write on it and erase what you don’t require any longer.  Herein lies perhaps the greatest strength of the interactive whiteboard – in its basic use it does not differ from the board that you’re used to.

But then, it offers much more:

With your computer and data projector you can display prepared material to the class – when you’re using an interactive whiteboard you can use your finger or stylus to annotate and highlight main points, while you are presenting the lesson.  These annotations can even be saved for later use.

A data projector is one-directional – that means it can only display information on a surface and learners can’t interact with it physically by means of a keyboard, mouse or touch screen.  Learners can interact with learning material on a computer, but if you have one computer in the class it is hardly possible for all the learners to participate.  An interactive whiteboard solves this problem.  It becomes a surface on which information is displayed for the entire class to see – but every learner can come up to the board and interact with it, selecting, dragging, dropping, cutting and pasting just as they would do on a computer.

The greatest value of an interactive whiteboard is that it transforms a classroom into an interactive one.  Learners are able to interact with learning material in different ways.

An interactive whiteboard will be a good investment only if you are determined to use it for its unique interactive features, and not only as a display surface.

Click here for more information about interactive whiteboards.

For more technology tips for teachers click here.

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4 Comments to If I have a data projector in my classroom, why do I need an interactive whiteboard?

Leighton
Thursday, 16 December, 2010

I’m a great supporter of IWB’s having worked with them for 5 years now. The fundamental problem with them though is that the default position when installed is up against a wall…out of reach for tiny hands and feat etc, ask my 4 yr old. Teachers then do use them as glorified projectors….There is a projector, duh!
If we had more designs which were table-top like IWB’s, cost effective and permanently connected to a pc (I’ve seen one already from a reputed company), and where learners got to stand around them and engage with each other in ‘pods’ in the classroom, interactivity with the tech would thus move ‘power’ relations while learning towards the student rather than rest solely with the teacher. Just my 2 cents..

David
Thursday, 16 December, 2010

I only have one question.

For whom are the interactive whiteboards interactive?

I’ve posted my response to IWBs here.
http://davidwees.com/content/whom-are-interactive-white-boards-interactive

Kobus van Wyk
Friday, 17 December, 2010

Interesting observation, Leighton. I’ve also seen the table version from a ‘reputable company’ – ideal for little ones, but unfortunately still too expensive for our poor schools.

David, thanks for linking us to your thought-provoking blog posting. Interactivity is indeed a concept that is misunderstood by many. Some think that if Johnny goes up to the board to click on something that this constitutes interactivity. Not so. The most important thing a teacher must achieve is the mental interaction of learners … which could be enhanced by means of many technologies. In the hands of a skilled teacher, an IWB can go a long way to engage the minds of learners! It has been said that it is not what happens on the IWB that is important, but what happens as a result of what happens on the IWB that counts.

Albie
Friday, 17 December, 2010

An interactive whiteboard is “almost” the same as the old green / blackboards – the only difference is the electronic component giving “life” to the board ! As you said in your blog Kobus … it offers much more !!

To me it is the multi-colour visual impact of the EIAWB together with it “touch” functions that makes it an “easier” learning LITNUM experience. Better than the ONE coloured white dusty chalk boards.

The EIAWB interactive activities between teacher and learners is the most valuable component – “three way” communication now possible vs the ONE way communication with the old fashioned talk and chalk boards !

Albie – 3 is a company !!

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