My epic failure at not whingeing

So, I’ve apparently had a catastrophic failure on the trying not to kick and scream front, mentioned in my first post on this topic.  Apologies to all the IWB fanboy/girls, not to mention all the people just sick of hearing me whinge (LOL, poor Meg); part of my disdain is connected to the cost, the rest is largely due to how I’ve seen them used so far in the classroom (damn you, ClickView).  They’re just a tool after all, and surely I can find some good uses.   What I really want to know is: how can I use an IWB effectively in my role as a facilitator of learning and not in the teacher-centric transmission style of teaching?

There has been a lot of work done on investigating the different types of pedagogies that IWBs can promote.  Kearney and Schuck (2008) performed a study investigating some of these in Australia.  They found that IWBs were often used to promote “whole-class interactions” (p. 10).  They acknowledged, however, that these were often teacher-centric and a “traditional authoritarian interaction” (p. 10).  Not exactly what I’m after, in terms of promoting interactive engagement.  On a more interesting note, they mention that IWBs could be used to reinforce the relevance of topics being taught, as real world applications were readily available through the IWBs interface with the web.  That’s all well and good, but how does this differ from a standard projector, besides saving the teacher two steps to their computer to use the mouse?

A study by Hennessy, Deaney, Ruthven and Winterbottom (2007) investigated strategies for using IWBs to promote participation among students in secondary school science.  They studied the use of IWBs by two experienced teachers who designed lesson plans carefully to integrate the use of IWBs into their teaching style.  Note the order: good pedagogy then integrated technology where it makes sense.  Both teachers attempted to focus on getting students to interact with the IWB in a hands-on manner.  In practice, the researchers noted that actual student interaction with the IWB was extremely limited, with a maximum of two students physically interacting with the whiteboard during any lesson they observed, for brief periods.  Time constraints were identified as the predominant hindrance to student participation.

I’m willing to admit that I can see using an IWB to get students playing with a physics simulation, for instance, or for demonstrating how a piece of software works while students play along on computers in groups.  It seems it may be possible to make IWBs “interactive” after all, it might just take some creativity to get there.  I hope that in my classroom, this will be when the pedagogy requires it rather than the other way around.

References

Epic Fail [Online image] Retrieved from  http://www.sav3rio.com/2010/02/epic-fail/

Hennessy, S , Deaney, R , Ruthven, K and Winterbottom, M (2007) ‘Pedagogical strategies for using the interactive whiteboard to foster learner participation in school science’, Learning, Media and Technology, 32: 3, 283 — 301

Kearney, M, and Schuck, S (2008) “Exploring pedagogy with interactive whiteboards in Australian schools,” Australian Educational Computing, 23(1): 8-14

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