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Re: [LearningTechnologiesSIG] Re: The Great ICT Debate on Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs)

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  • Tom Walton
    Hi everyone: Interesting debate! I m not 100% convinced by IWBs, though I use one just about every class. Not sure that I d actually spend the cash on them
    Message 1 of 15 , Jan 22, 2013
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      Hi everyone:

      Interesting debate! I'm not 100% convinced by IWBs, though I use one just about every class.

      Not sure that I'd actually spend the cash on them (and I definitely wouldn't start to buy them until there was at least a pc and projector in every classroom in my school). Given the choice, I'd say video cameras, tablets etc, are probably a better investment.

      Think David there has one of the BIG advantages of the IWB: being able to save stuff and return to it (brilliant for vocab. revision, for example).

      Apart from that, I'd say that, if you do have them, you need to see them as (1) something the students use, not the teacherv -- I NEVER touch the pen or board surface myself; and (2) see it as something from which the learners can export stuff eg. to a blog, wiki, etc.

      Here's a rough example:
      http://blogs.ihes.com/tech-elt/?p=2912

      Some other examples:
      http://blogs.ihes.com/tech-elt/?cat=51

      Tom




      ________________________________
      From: David Read <dread1971@...>
      To: LearningTechnologiesSIG@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Monday, January 21, 2013 1:59 PM
      Subject: Re: [LearningTechnologiesSIG] Re: The Great ICT Debate on Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs)


       
      Sounded like a great debate, shame I couldn't make it, but just to add my
      own thoughts...

      Overall, I'd probably side with Pete on this, the IWB is a piece of
      equipment so it can't really be blamed for teacher-centred approaches, it's
      odd to talk about pedagogy in relation to such a device, it's a bit like
      talking about the pedagogy of the photocopier or the tape recorder or the
      (traditional) whiteboard. Good teachers will use them well, bad teachers
      won't.

      I think critics of the IWB tend to bring up their limited functionality,
      most of the 'interactive' stuff is just dragging things around on the
      board. I completely agree with this, there's very little on the software
      side that couldn't be done with a traditional whiteboard or a handout but I
      think that's the wrong perspective to take with IWBs, for me it's better to
      look at it from the perspective of how it can help teachers with their day
      to day lessons and planning:

      One of the most compelling features of a IWB for me and teachers at my
      school is the simple ability to open multiple whiteboards and to save them.
      It's impossible to underestimate just how useful this feature is in the day
      to day work of a teacher, they don't have to keep rubbing things out on the
      board, moving them around, waiting for students to write things down so
      they can erase them. And it means that they can be opened up the next day
      for revision or used for reference to create quizzes/tests at the end of
      term. It also means that you have the board ready if you ever teach that
      class again or if you have to cover a class and need a quick lesson to
      hand. It also means I can share lessons much more easily with other
      teachers. Anything that can reduce our planning time and give us more time
      to spend thinking about how to make our lessons more engaging is probably
      useful.

      Tablets are great tools but they are not appropriate for every teaching
      situation. Whenever I see examples of the use of tablets in class, it's
      almost always with young kids or with students involved in creative
      projects involving design/art. I imagine they are fantastic in those
      contexts. I teach at a university-affiliated Language centre preparing
      young adult students to write academic English on Masters and Phd
      programmes and I'm not sure that tablets are so appropriate for them. They
      need to write a lot and tablets are really not the most convenient tool for
      doing that, I love my ipad and my Android tablet but I get frustrated
      writing anything more than a short paragraph on them. I think we have to
      accept that different classes/age groups/subjects require different tools.

      I'm actually a huge proponent of mobile devices in the classroom - I've had
      a blog on that very subject for a few years now - but I also think that
      different technologies are appropriate in different teaching situations,
      what might be appropriate for a group of six year-old ESL students might
      not be appropriate for a group of adult academics. There's space for both
      technologies to exist to serve those different learners....

      Would be interested to hear what others think about this...

      David Read

      On 21 January 2013 11:58, Gavin gavin.dudeney@...> wrote:

      > **
      >
      >
      > Folks,
      >
      > It was fun to debate. As I said at the beginning, there's no reason why I
      > should necessarily believe everything I said...
      >
      > My main points were:
      >
      > 1) Expense
      > For the same amount of money as a decent IWB I can buy a class set of
      > Android tablets, a data projector and 3 years' 76MB fibre optic broadband
      > per class. Pete (below) asks what happens when students need to share on a
      > big board . Well, there are loads of apps that will allow you to wirelessly
      > share your tablet screen with a data projector, loads of apps that allow
      > the teacher to beam stuff to tablet screens and loads of 'IWB? apps for
      > tablets. Seriously, there's simply no point spending all that money on
      > something which is obsolete and ridiculously expensive when all you get is
      > PowerPoint with some smoke and mirrors.
      >
      > 2) Pedagogy
      > Of course you can't blame the IWB (as Pete correctly states), but the IWB
      > simply does encourage a heads up, lockstep, teacher-centred approach to
      > teaching. That's just the way it is. Most of the research out there clearly
      > shows that, and perhaps that's not what we want. Dragging stuff around does
      > not necessarily promote any learning. In fact, I'd go so far as to suggest
      > that old-style rubbing out and re-writing a word on a board is likely to
      > lead to deeper learning (at least some processing is involved there). And
      > of course they encourage learners to sit back and coast and simply take a
      > photo of the screen occasionally.
      >
      > 3) Interaction
      > Minimal - a British Council report a while back found about 3% interaction
      > between learners and materials. Looking through publications with teaching
      > ideas (sorry Pete!) I also found minimal interaction, perhaps only around
      > 30% of the activities had learners doing anything more complex than moving
      > things around. So that appears to be what an IWB is for - people can move
      > things around. Excuse me whilst I don't get excited!
      >
      > 4) Materials
      > Dreadful - lots of workbooks on interactive DVD. Yes, you can enlarge the
      > text, play the video.... But it's not exciting and it's not motivating -
      > and, more importantly, it's not transformational. There is nothing
      > interesting in an IWB, or in its use. There's a lot of talk of vocabulary
      > games, but somehow it all fails to move me when I compare it with the
      > creative work on tablets that I've seen in a few schools recently. Perhaps
      > the IWB has simply had its day - I'd just spend $20 on a standard
      > whiteboard...
      >
      > 5) Motivation
      > Most studies conclude that any motivational upswing provided by IWBs is
      > short-lived. And that's hardly surprising, really...
      >
      > 6) Results
      > No significant difference sums it up. And if they're not making any
      > significant difference to learning or results, then there's no need to
      > spend thousands on them.
      >
      > I rest my case...
      >
      > REFERENCES
      >
      > Futurelab:
      > http://www.futurelab.org.uk/resources/documents/other/whiteboards_report%5bno longer accessible]
      >
      > Moss, et al. 2007: The interactive whiteboards, pedagogy, pupil and
      > performance evaluation:
      > http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/research/data/uploadfiles/RR816.pdf
      >
      > Nightingale, J. 2006. Whiteboards under the microscope.
      > http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2006/jun/20/elearning.technology
      >
      > Salinitri et al. 2002. The aural enabler: creating a way of special needs
      > kids to participate in the classroom lesson.
      > http://www.smarterkids.org/research/paper12.asp
      >
      > Smith, H. 2001 SmartBoard evaluation: Final report.
      > http://www.kented.org.uk/ngfl/ict/IWB/whiteboards/report.html#11
      >
      >
      >

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      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • mackichan2006
      Hi All, Thanks for a great debate Nicky, Gavin and Pete. It seems to me a strange topic really; by and large, teachers have probably have relatively little
      Message 2 of 15 , Jan 22, 2013
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        Hi All,

        Thanks for a great debate Nicky, Gavin and Pete.

        It seems to me a strange topic really; by and large, teachers have probably have relatively little influence on decisions to purchase (or not) this or that technology. Being old, I can remember a time when many schools decided that video was the way forward (and to prove it I [think I] can remember a time when 'Video English' was distributed on U-Matic). Anyway, lots of schools splashed out on video players and video materials like "A Weekend in the Sea", a genre that is even worse than the latin american soaps of the 80s. Unsuprisingly, video didn't really lead us to the promised land, although it did give teachers the chance to play their favourite TV shows and dress it up as 'teaching'. I can even remember using 'The Clangers' in an adult FCE class (for sound pedagogic reasons). Anyway, the VCRs gathered dust and became, for their time, expensive door stops.

        I'm sure, in time, that IWBs, or rather DWBs (Digital Whiteboards) will go the same way. They are essentially a presentation system that has been adapted for education, and make a pretty poor fit in the classroom, since (I hope) we spend little time presenting stuff. But, as Paul Sweeney commented during the debate, one key reason that they are fairly widely used is marketing. In a blink of an eye, a school owner can drag their language school from the nineteenth century into a retro-futuristic version of where we should be. School owners love them and publishers love them too, because it gives them a chance to create yet another, even more expensive, version of their materials that school owners will have to buy because they need something to slap on their DWBs. They love them so much that some even give them away.

        However, how we got here isn't really the point; the question is whether DWBs are evil. I would argue that they are pretty much like coursebooks. In the hands of an underpaid, undertrained and underengaged teacher they can help contribute to the illusion that learning is going on; in better circumstances, the teacher can explore if, how and when to make best use of them. The key problem of both DWBs and coursebooks is that the affordances do not sit well with pedagogy - it is simply much, much easier to use them badly than well. In a different field of work, both would have been recycled, redesigned or reinvented.

        It is interesting that, as Gavin pointed out, the tools like wireless slates and voting pods are generally seen as (unneccessary) optional add ons. The DWB companies probably decided that they could make more money this way, but this short-sighted decision probably sealed their fate. Imagine how different things might have been if every DWB had come with the complete set of tools that are needed to put the DWB in the hands of the learners.

        Would anyone on this list spend their own money on a DWB? I doubt it, and I certainly wouldn't (though if my classroom has one, I'll use it). As I work mainly with students where writing is important, I would probably avoid tablets. I think a class set of linux laptops with a data projector and a good internet connection would be the way to go. Apart from the operating system, that's what I was using at a UK university twelve years ago; plus ça change....

        Cheers,

        Pete MacKichan

        By the way, I think the FutureLab IWB report is available at:
        http://archive.futurelab.org.uk/resources/documents/other/whiteboards_report.pdf
      • Tom Walton
        Hi everyone: Because I m old too, Pete, I think I d rather have lightweight laptops than tablets, which are terrible for writing stuff on (I mean proper
        Message 3 of 15 , Jan 22, 2013
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          Hi everyone:

          Because I'm old too, Pete, I think I'd rather have lightweight laptops than tablets, which are terrible for writing stuff on (I mean proper creative writing with classes), and far rather have either of those than an IWB, even though I use one regularly.

          But I think it's a mistake to see IWBs as being "essentially a presentation system". We - or rather our learners - can do far more with them than just watch us present. If you see an IWB as (also) being a tool on which learners can create stuff, then I think you get on to richer soil.

          As for video, maybe it wasn't really such a bad thing! Can any of us imagine not being able to use its modern day, far easy to use equivalent: YouTube ;-) ?

          Tom




          ________________________________
          From: mackichan2006 <pete2008@...>
          To: LearningTechnologiesSIG@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 1:21 PM
          Subject: [LearningTechnologiesSIG] Re: The Great ICT Debate on Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs)


           
          Hi All,

          Thanks for a great debate Nicky, Gavin and Pete.

          It seems to me a strange topic really; by and large, teachers have probably have relatively little influence on decisions to purchase (or not) this or that technology. Being old, I can remember a time when many schools decided that video was the way forward (and to prove it I [think I] can remember a time when 'Video English' was distributed on U-Matic). Anyway, lots of schools splashed out on video players and video materials like "A Weekend in the Sea", a genre that is even worse than the latin american soaps of the 80s. Unsuprisingly, video didn't really lead us to the promised land, although it did give teachers the chance to play their favourite TV shows and dress it up as 'teaching'. I can even remember using 'The Clangers' in an adult FCE class (for sound pedagogic reasons). Anyway, the VCRs gathered dust and became, for their time, expensive door stops.

          I'm sure, in time, that IWBs, or rather DWBs (Digital Whiteboards) will go the same way. They are essentially a presentation system that has been adapted for education, and make a pretty poor fit in the classroom, since (I hope) we spend little time presenting stuff. But, as Paul Sweeney commented during the debate, one key reason that they are fairly widely used is marketing. In a blink of an eye, a school owner can drag their language school from the nineteenth century into a retro-futuristic version of where we should be. School owners love them and publishers love them too, because it gives them a chance to create yet another, even more expensive, version of their materials that school owners will have to buy because they need something to slap on their DWBs. They love them so much that some even give them away.

          However, how we got here isn't really the point; the question is whether DWBs are evil. I would argue that they are pretty much like coursebooks. In the hands of an underpaid, undertrained and underengaged teacher they can help contribute to the illusion that learning is going on; in better circumstances, the teacher can explore if, how and when to make best use of them. The key problem of both DWBs and coursebooks is that the affordances do not sit well with pedagogy - it is simply much, much easier to use them badly than well. In a different field of work, both would have been recycled, redesigned or reinvented.

          It is interesting that, as Gavin pointed out, the tools like wireless slates and voting pods are generally seen as (unneccessary) optional add ons. The DWB companies probably decided that they could make more money this way, but this short-sighted decision probably sealed their fate. Imagine how different things might have been if every DWB had come with the complete set of tools that are needed to put the DWB in the hands of the learners.

          Would anyone on this list spend their own money on a DWB? I doubt it, and I certainly wouldn't (though if my classroom has one, I'll use it). As I work mainly with students where writing is important, I would probably avoid tablets. I think a class set of linux laptops with a data projector and a good internet connection would be the way to go. Apart from the operating system, that's what I was using at a UK university twelve years ago; plus ça change....

          Cheers,

          Pete MacKichan

          By the way, I think the FutureLab IWB report is available at:
          http://archive.futurelab.org.uk/resources/documents/other/whiteboards_report.pdf




          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Gavin Dudeney
          Tom, ... We re showing our age... Many people find phones and tablets perfectly suited to creative writing ... Gavin ... [Non-text portions of this message
          Message 4 of 15 , Jan 22, 2013
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            Tom,

            On 23 Jan 2013, at 00:37, Tom Walton <tomdoliveira@...> wrote:

            > Because I'm old too, Pete, I think I'd rather have lightweight laptops than tablets, which are terrible for writing stuff on (I mean proper creative writing with classes)
            >
            >
            We're showing our age... Many people find phones and tablets perfectly suited to 'creative writing'...

            Gavin
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Tom Walton
            Hi everyone: People find phones (?!) and tablets OK for creative writing, Gavin???? :-)! Yes, it must be my age (and the fact that until last year I d spent 10
            Message 5 of 15 , Jan 23, 2013
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              Hi everyone:

              People find phones (?!) and tablets OK for creative writing, Gavin???? :-)! Yes, it must be my age (and the fact that until last year I'd spent 10 years without a mobile phone...)

              Someone earlier said something (I think) about teachers not being asked about what equipment they'd want. I think that's vital... but it's also vital to ask the learners what they think is necessary and what's not. Some of the most insightful ideas I've got on technology have always come from going out of my way to ask learners for their opinions on how it should be used.

              With a clean slate and not so limited budget they'd be the first people I'd ask. And quite possibly they'd say tablets rather than laptops, which I'd be happy to go with. It would be interesting to know what learners had to say about IWBs...

              (It's several years old, and very small samples, but this is what I got:
              http://blogs.ihes.com/tech-elt/?p=435
              )

              On another tack, it would be really interesting for a teacher using an IWB with a class on a regular basis say over the course of a year (not my case), to put together an annotated collection of "what we did with the IWB". Does anyone know of such a thing? I suspect if "good", varied use had been made of the IWB, 45-60 slides would be illustrative.

              There ARE interesting things that can be done with an IWB... though are they worth the financial investment?

              Tom





              ________________________________
              From: Gavin Dudeney <gavin.dudeney@...>
              To: "LearningTechnologiesSIG@yahoogroups.com" <LearningTechnologiesSIG@yahoogroups.com>
              Sent: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 7:57 AM
              Subject: Re: [LearningTechnologiesSIG] Re: The Great ICT Debate on Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs)


               
              Tom,

              On 23 Jan 2013, at 00:37, Tom Walton tomdoliveira@...> wrote:

              > Because I'm old too, Pete, I think I'd rather have lightweight laptops than tablets, which are terrible for writing stuff on (I mean proper creative writing with classes)
              >
              >
              We're showing our age... Many people find phones and tablets perfectly suited to 'creative writing'...

              Gavin
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >

              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]




              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Marc Loewenthal
              I think the main issue here is whether IWBs are part of a strategic plan in an institution or whether they re seen as just something to get in because tech is
              Message 6 of 15 , Jan 23, 2013
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                I think the main issue here is whether IWBs are part of a strategic plan in an institution or whether they're seen as just something to get in because tech is moving forward and everyone has them now. When I first started to use them in earnest about six years ago, they were in all the classrooms in the college where I was teaching but we had one introductory session with a presenter before the summer holiday and that was it. We were then left to our own devices. i was one of the few teachers who asked "what if...?" after a lesson and experimented with it to see what else I could do. I built up a battery of resources and ideas which I tried to pass on to colleagues who were not as interested as I was.
                 
                On the basis of this experience, I got the post of e-learning coordinator at an adult education service in London. My main duties were to develop the use of Moodle and IWBs, and I set about creating resources for teachers to use and putting them up on Moodle. Although I don't do this job any more, one of the legacies is that all the ESOL SfL pdf materials are on Moodle, accessible from any centre, and I have built up a bank of IWB support resources for each unit which I can access at any time. Among other things, I use the IWB to copy pages from the resources and annotate and amend them. For example, after students have worked on an activity together, which I have monitored and helped on, I can then focus on feedback on the board, annotating and developing the same resource they have in front of them and saving the results for future use. As with any tool, it is only as useful to you as you deem it to be. Once you start exploring it in earnest, the
                possibilities are endless. However, I do agree that the costs are often prohibitive, and IWBs can be a waste of money if they are not exploited to the full. Good planning and a dedicated e-learning practitioner are crucial.

                There is no other dictionary other than The Other Dictionary


                ________________________________
                From: Gavin Dudeney <gavin.dudeney@...>
                To: "LearningTechnologiesSIG@yahoogroups.com" <LearningTechnologiesSIG@yahoogroups.com>
                Sent: Wednesday, 23 January 2013, 6:57
                Subject: Re: [LearningTechnologiesSIG] Re: The Great ICT Debate on Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs)

                 
                Tom,

                On 23 Jan 2013, at 00:37, Tom Walton mailto:tomdoliveira%40yahoo.com> wrote:

                > Because I'm old too, Pete, I think I'd rather have lightweight laptops than tablets, which are terrible for writing stuff on (I mean proper creative writing with classes)
                >
                >
                We're showing our age... Many people find phones and tablets perfectly suited to 'creative writing'...

                Gavin
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >

                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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