I have been told on a couple of occasions by Principals that Interactive Whiteboards and Touch Screens are outdated and now we get the interactivity on the iPads. That can be true. But the continued use of Interactive Whiteboards and Muti touch screens with your iPads, allows a different dimension to our classrooms that students shouldn’t be missing out on. And why not. In most cases, the technology you already have is still working fine. It just might need a couple of tweeks (updated software, new lamp)
IPAD’s provide the opportunity for one, maybe up to three students to collaborate around a particular app or search. Usually one team member takes control and the others watch. If you think about it, iPads are really an individual interactive tool designed for one on one work. Like with everything we do in the classroom, there needs to be sound pedagogical rationale for using the iPad and a good selection of apps that will allow the students to reach the desired outcomes. This puts the pressure back onto teachers which need design quality lessons that incorporate the relevant use the iPad.
Incorporating the use of iPads with a multi touch screen or interactive whiteboard heightens learning for everyone. These are whole class learning tools which allow for instant collaboration for the entire class. Or setting up an activity in which 7-8 students can collaborate together more easily in say, a literacy or numeracy rotation.
From a ‘presentation” or teaching point of view, the interactivity on a touch screen or IWB means the students focus on the screen and not the teacher wandering back to the computer (or sitting at the computer, driving from there). With the teacher at the “board”, the students look at the teacher with the multimedia, which is an extension of the lesson, to highlight what the teacher is talking about. It is not the entire lesson or let’s sit in front of the screen and watch this. The interactivity drives collaboration and discussion seamlessly and improves the engagement and attentiveness of the entire class by inviting students to come and add their piece. There is a strong focus on teamwork and participation- awesome life skills! Using the interactivity effectively means that the is an extension of the lesson and not the lesson itself.
So before you take out your interactive whiteboards or grab a cheap TV, stop and think about what the students could be missing out on