Interactive whiteboards (IWBs) are also sometimes called interactive displays or even digital whiteboards. As a catch-all term, an IWB is any display that also responds real-time to actions on its surface, allowing it to act as a whiteboard. This includes both projector-based interactive displays (like these) or interactive flat-panel displays (like ViewBoard).
Technology in the Classroom – Interactive Whiteboards
Due to their versatility, there is a global shift towards IWBs that is picking up momentum, especially interactive touch screen displays. The technology blends the best of multimedia and touch technologies with the familiar functions of a regular whiteboard. Therefore a teacher can show a video or search the Internet live, annotate the content, and then even share with students via their devices.
But despite the ever-growing list of features available for IWBs, there are still a few challenges ahead. They are certainly more expensive than an analog whiteboard, and it still requires extra effort to produce content for them. These tend to be the challenges for any new technology, however, and as interactive whiteboards become more accessible they will continue to grow in popularity.
5 Advantages of Technology in the Classroom
Though there are many benefits to technology in the classroom, here is a short list of reasons why you might want to add more digital tech to your classes.
Improves engagement and retention. Digital technology in the classroom opens up new media types not available on its analog versions. And there is potential for far more interactivity being built into digital education content.
Accommodates multiple learning styles. EdTech is a great way to accommodate various learning styles and pace content for individual students. What’s more, effective classroom tech doubles as assistive technology for students with a range of special needs.
Promotes collaboration. Technology has a unique ability to collaborate live on a task or project and to share information with peers faster than ever before. From huddle spaces to remote work, technology is able to break down barriers.
Instant feedback for teachers. The same tools that allow students to share with their peers also allow students to share feedback with their teachers. This feedback could come in the form of answers, questions, or even suggestions for teaching improvements.
Prepares students for the future. Technology – especially digital technology and its connectivity – is becoming increasingly entwined in daily life. Being able to deal with not only familiar tech but strange and new devices will be an important part of students’ future success.
Classroom design is a major factor when deciding on technological solutions. For example, most classrooms make in the last century or so assume a display of some sort at the front of the room. Until recently, it’s been a chalkboard or whiteboard, which also makes the room a good candidate for an interactive whiteboard of some kind.
In the case of large lecture halls, however, flat-panel interactive whiteboards like the ViewBoard are probably not the best option to reach the entire class. A projector might not be as efficient – or provide as many features – but it does feature a more scalable display size.
Here are some things to consider about your classroom when deciding on the best tech solution.
How big is the room? What display will work best to reach the entire class?
Who will be delivering the learning materials? Is it a teacher at the front of the room with a single large display? Students in huddle spaces with smaller group displays?
Should the tech be focused on a resource station in the classroom? Should it be spread evenly throughout?
Does the hardware need to be fixed in the classroom at all times? Or is a portable setup that can be shared among classrooms more practical?
And you can find another nice summary of implementing the latest tech in your classroom here: Your Educational Digital DNA – Get Ready for Edtech Innovation
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