Wikipedia (2009) defines an Interactive Whiteboard as "a large interactive display that connects to a computer and projector. A projector projects the computer's desktop onto the board's surface, where users control the computer using a pen, finger or other device."
In a classroom, interactive whiteboards are used as a replacement for traditional whiteboards and media systems such as a TV and DVD player combination. "Some interactive whiteboards allow teachers to record their instruction as digital video files and post the material for review by students at a later time. This can be a very effective instructional strategy for students who benefit from repetition, who need to see the material presented again, for students who are absent from school, for struggling learners, and for review for examinations. Brief instructional blocks can be recorded for review by students — they will see the exact presentation that occurred in the classroom with the teacher's audio input. This can help transform learning and instruction." (Wikipedia, 2009)
With all the good aspects of using an interactive whiteboard, there are a few points of concern that have been raised by individuals.
- Sometimes teachers focused more on the new technology than on what pupils should be learning.
- The focus on interactivity as a technical process can lead to some relatively mundane activities being over-valued. Such an emphasis on interactivity was particularly prevalent in classes with lower-ability students.
- In lower-ability groups it could actually slow the pace of whole class learning as individual pupils took turns at the board
In reading this though, particularly points two and three, I think that if the use of interactive whiteboards were not too heavily relied on in the classroom and other strategies were put in place and used to cater for these students, using an interactive whiteboard in the classroom could become a catalyst to engage and inspire further learning for these students.
There are a range of activities available for use with an interactive whiteboard, not only in primary and secondary classrooms but also in early childhood settings. A good range of activities can be found at the EDNA website.
Using interactive whiteboards in the classroom promotes what Kearsley and Shneiderman suggest in their Engagement Theory as well as aligning with Oliver's Learning Design Framework.
Wikipedia (2009) Interactive Whiteboard. Accessed 1 August 2009 on the World Wide Web: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interactive_whiteboard