In an article earlier this week in her blog on tweenteacher.com, writer/teacher Heather Wolport Gawron addresses an issue I raised in my mind and in an earlier post of my own: Why would schools continue to spend money on a high priced interactive whiteboards (SMARTboard,Promethean or otherwise) in light of current trends and technology options?
Gowran’s hands-on user credibility is far superior to mine on the classroom technology front inasmuch as in a professional middle school setting she has been an avid Promethean board user for many years. I even invited her to review a Promethean board a couple of years back so readers could get a taste of how she was incorporating the technology into her lessons. For myself, studying classroom technology evolution and the general societal trends that spur technology developments, the notion that whiteboards are becoming superfluous in the classroom arose when Projector Central was given the opportunity to review the first Epson Brightlink interactive projector. I dare say even before that, I wrote that the pico projector could answer the technology needs of a classroom devoted to the concept of collaborative learning. Heather takes this a step further and cites new mobile technology (iPad,iPhone,iPod) as the “silver bullet” not only because it is cheaper but because it allows for individualization and the opportunity for students to differentiate themselves and thus form the foundation for the kind of student-centered learning schools seek to facilitate. It is ironic that the physical characteristics of an interactive whiteboard are line with the kind of pedagogy they inspire. As Heather puts it “The Interactive Whiteboard is still locked and loaded into the antiquated philosophy of “sage on the stage” rather than “guide on the side.”