Whiteboards are for learning

For many years educators have looked at computer technology as a valuable resource for enhancing students’ learning in the classroom. Omar López presents the latest evidence that links the interactive whiteboard to higher levels of learning

COMPUTER-BASED INSTRUCTION began more than 40 years ago in the form of drill-and-practice routines that students individually completed on the computer. Today’s technology-based teaching emphasizes students constructing meaning based on a high degree of interactivity among students, between students and curriculum, and between students and teachers. An emerging class of technology that offers enormous potential in generating these interactions is the interactive whiteboard (IWB). The device consists of a large electronic board display that is connected to a ceiling-mounted LCD projector and a standalone or network- connected laptop computer that can be further linked to a sound system. The LCD projector displays the image from the computer screen onto the board. The teacher and students control the laptop computer software by touching the electronic board display with a hand-held pen device that functions much like a PC mouse.

What we know
Teachers who are successful with IWB technology:
● Receive ongoing professional development designed to change teaching practices more relevant to the IWB;
● Display personal motivation enough to overcome their personal fears and embarrassment from making IWB technical mistakes with students.
● Promote an equitable two-way exchange of teaching and learning by sharing control of the IWB with students.

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October 2010