Whiteboards: not dead yet

Whiteboards: not dead yet

I heard an interesting snippet from Mike Cladingbowl, National Director at Ofsted, recently. He said that when interactive whiteboards were first introduced, Ofsted inspectors saw an increase in “chalk and talk”. Hardly surprising, because interactive whiteboards made chalk and talk, ie teaching from the front, easier.

Illustration by Dan Zen https://www.flickr.com/photos/danzen/

As a kind of cheap shot, in my recently-published guide to using whiteboards effectively (see below), I showed a picture of someone using a blackboard circa 1954 and someone using a whiteboard circa 2014 and invited readers to spot the difference. I have to say, though, I don’t have a problem with teaching from the front or chalk and talk as long as:

  • it is appropriate for the context, ie the work being done and those particular pupils at that particular time
  • it is done well, ie it is engaging, even exciting

The real problem of using an interactive whiteboard is where the class can see no discernible difference between the teacher’s use of an interactive one and a non-interactive one. Even if all the teacher does is go back over his or her pages to recapitulate an explanation, that is better than starting all over again with a felt tip marker.

What I tried to do in the guide I mentioned was to get across, in a few pages, just some of the things you can do with an interactive whiteboard that can make it a really great tool for use on the classroom. It has already been downloaded loads of times I’m pleased to say! And it’s free to subscribers of Digital Education. More details below.

Do you use an interactive whiteboard? If so, subscribe to Digital Education, the free ezine for people with a professional interest in education technology and related matters, and download a copy of Making the most of your interactive whiteboard.

cross-posted at www.ictineducation.org

Terry Freedman is an independent educational ICT consultant with over 35 years of experience in education. He publishes the ICT in Education website and the newsletter “Digital Education."