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Interactive Whiteboards: The Laserdisc of Ed Tech

Heather Wolpert-Gawron of TweenTeacher has put together a compelling and poignant article strongly discouraging the purchase of interactive whiteboards in favor of mobile technology instead. Some of her most engaging points include: 

The big clunky forward facing, whole class method of lesson delivery via Interactive Whiteboard, I believe, is the Laserdisc of educational technology. The overpriced fad of Interactive Whiteboards (whether Smart or Promethean) is imperfect in their current incarnation…inherently these pieces of equipment do not illustrate the spirit of technology in information delivery: all-access, collaborative, open, interactive, etc

She goes on to cite a quote from Bill Ferriter of EdWeek

I’m willing to argue 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…make presentations, give notes, deliver lectures…I ask you: Do we really want to spend thousands of dollars on a tool that makes stand-and-deliver instruction easier?

Her alternative solution to the interactive whiteboard is mobile devices:

Mobile technology caters to individualization and differentiation, which is the present and future of student-centered learning. Mobile technology is cheaper and also represents the concept of “democratization of information,” the openness of high levels of information to the masses. The Interactive Whiteboard is still locked and loaded into the antiquated philosophy of “sage on the stage” rather than “guide on the side.”

Are whiteboards an irresponible purchase? Is mobile technology the best solution for the classroom?

I encourage you to read the entirety of the original post here.


Posted on October 25th, 2011
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