Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Why I Hate Interactive Whiteboards Too

Last week I had a lengthy conversation with a big wig at an IWB company who was trying to convince me that my idea that educators could Erase Unnecessary Costs by Getting Smart about Interactive Whiteboards was way off. He couldn't understand how I could think that it was unnecessary to spend money on a tool that will allow students to collaborate, promote interactivity, and connect the classroom to the world. Ugh! This is what these IWB companies spend millions trying to get you to believe. Purchase their board and you get all this. So, I shared, that while I do agree those things are valuable, I don't need an IWB for any of it and that they just trick people into thinking they need the device for these things to happen. He asked if I've ever used one. Yes! And, I hate them. There is not a single thing I can do on an IWB that I can't do without one more effectively. Then he went into the whole training bit. No, I don't want training on something that's really expensive that has no value over teaching without one.

It just irks me that these companies lead people to believe they need to spend thousands when they can do the same thing and better using free tools.

Well, I have a blog post brewing that really dives into why these devices make learning worse and why schools and districts should instead spend their dollars on resources for students, but I haven't had the chance to write it (someday, I hope). However, serendipitously I came across a piece that shares many of my sentiments. Mine has a slightly different spin, but until that post makes it's way to the top of my pile, I'll share this one written by educator, author, blogger Bill Ferriter. Like many educators after a year of trying to make the best of a bad tool, Bill began Getting Smart about Interactive Whiteboards

In his article "Why I Hate Interactive Whiteboards," Bill, who gave his IWB away, shares in my belief that...
most of the time, interactive whiteboard programs are, in fact, nothing more than vain attempts to buy change. Sharing that even with time and training, interactive whiteboards are an under-informed and irresponsible purchase. They do little more than reinforce a teacher-centric model of learning. Heck, even whiteboard companies market them as a bridging technology, designed to replicate traditional instructional practices (make presentations, give notes, deliver lectures) in an attempt to move digital teacher-dinosaurs into the light. I ask you: Do we really want to spend thousands of dollars on a tool that makes stand-and-deliver instruction easier?
To read more pearls of wisdom from Bill visit his article here Why I Hate Interactive Whiteboards.
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