When looking across the years, there has certainly been a noticeable shift in the way technology is being used in classrooms. It is important to note that technology is forever evolving and changing. Our role, as teachers, is to enhance our students’ learning by utilising these technologies in a functional and effective way. Furthermore, it is imperative that the technology is integrated with the curriculum effectively.
When used in the right way, the Interactive White Board (IWB) has the ability to encourage ambiguity (Kent, 2012) and gives the opportunity for interactivity amongst the class. Through class discussion and further investigation it seems obvious to me that an IWB and other similar technologies help move away from the traditional constructivist approach to teaching, whereby teachers would transmit information to students, to a more socio-constructivist teaching method. When teachers use this tool (and I emphasise the word TOOL) it can be aimed at students in a way that allows them to take control of their learning and collaborate amongst their classmates. Kent (2012) notes the fundamental idea that a ‘GREAT LESSON’ using an IWB is only possible with a teacher who makes an effort to intertwine the technology successfully.
“… allowing students to think beyond memorising the content of the board to engage more deeply with the underlying concept being taught” (Kent, 2012, p. 19)
Digregorio & Sobel-Lokeski (2009-2010) discuss training as being an ongoing and important consideration when thinking about how teachers can include IWBs into their lessons. One of the reasons that IWBs are not effective in practice is due to misuse that may be a result of teachers not being trained to use them appropriately and effectively. I think there is a clear danger where we see schools who simply install this technology and don’t follow up initial training. Ongoing training helps to make sure that teachers remain up to date in terms of how to effectively utilise this tool to promote better learning. If the students are to benefit from the provision of this technology, an investment needs to be made in training.
Digregorio, P., Sobel-Lojeski, K. (2009-2010). The effects of interactive whiteboards (IWBs) on student performance and learning : A literature review. Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 38 (3), pp 255-312. DOI: 10.2190/ET.38.3.b
Kent, P. (2012). Interactive Whiteboards: A practical guide for primary teachers. South Yarra, Victoria: Macmillan Education Australia