At best, IWBs can provide visual support for the explanation of complex concepts and allow engaging multimedia resources to be shared by a whole class. They can provide a focus and a context for dialogic teaching and a way of sharing and modelling ICT skills. At worst, IWBs are expensive equivalents of chalkboards (with the same issues in relation to modelling handwriting and letter formation) and cumbersome throwbacks that are peripheral to the really exciting developments in educational technology, which centre on mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones. At a time when, at last, we can realise the personalised potential of one-computer-per-learner, has the IWB got a role to play?
Below are some links to resources and research about interactive whiteboards. One or two make the case for and against, so you can make up your own mind!
- Tony Poulter's Board with Teaching is a bit of a disaster area design-wise, but the content makes it an excellent starting point.
- Tim Rudd's research report for Futurelab (PDF file) provides a very valuable summary of findings and issues.
- Kate Wall, Steve Higgins and Heather Smith produced two significant articles in 2005. ‘The visual helps me understand the complicated things’ focused on pupil perceptions. 'Interactive whiteboards: boon or bandwagon?' looked critically at the literature and came to some interesting conclusions about interactivity at technical and pedagogic levels.
- Wood and Ashfield's article focuses on IWBs as tools for 'creative teaching'.
- Christian Greiffenhagen's article from 2000, 'Out of the office into the school', provides a useful historical perspective on the development of IWBs as educational tools.
- The Whiteboard Blog is written by an IWB enthusiast and provides links to a wealth of resources. The main IWB makers - Promethean and Smart - support websites which host ready-made resources for their products. Promethean Planet contains ActivInspire files and other resources, such as PowerPoint files, which can be used with any IWB. Smart Exchange allows teachers to share Smart Notebook files and content. TES iboard provides online activities for IWBs - many are free and there is a subscription service which gives access to more activities, planning and a newsletter.