Archives for: October 2008


Permalink 10:51:13, by Eric Baber Email , 369 words, 5906 views   English (EU)
Categories: Announcements, News, Articles

Guardian article: Phil Beadle on the demise of the whiteboard

What an amazingly ill-informed article. Phil Beadle bemoans the loss of the old-style whiteboard to electronic interactive ones. Some choice quotes:

"But their place at the front of the class means every lesson must have a PowerPoint presentation"

Erm... no. Personally I don't think I've ever used a PowerPoint on an interactive whiteboard. PowerPoints are for presentations; in a classroom of 10 - 20 people I don't do presentations, I do teaching. Interactive whiteboards do not equal PowerPoint presentations.

"The Smart Board's central positioning destroys a teacher's ability to be spontaneous. You cannot come in any more with a couple of board markers and a handful of good ideas."

Erm... no. Turn on the whiteboard and it's blank. Write on it what you will. Go mad. The only thing that limits it is the user's creativity. If you can be creative on a blackboard, or a non-interactive whiteboard, and you can be creative on an interactive whiteboard.

"If I am modelling sentence construction or the semicolon, drawing a map illustrating colonialism in Africa, or scribing arrows outlining connections between ideas, I want to be able to do it quickly: as quick as I think"

You can do all of those things on an interactive whiteboard.

"They have their uses, Smart Boards, but they are a tool, not a teacher."

I completely agree, but precisely the same holds true of a non-interactive whiteboard.

"Their central position gives them primacy."

Again, just like the old-fashioned whiteboards.

"If you have a say, get yours put at the side of the room. Or ask for it to be given to someone more worthy; you'll make do and have your old whiteboard back."

Or ask for some training in how to use it more fully.

An electronic whiteboard is a tool, not a teacher - absolutely. But it does everything a non-interactive whiteboard can do and then a whole lot more. If a teacher feels they have to use a PowerPoint presentation in each lesson they shouldn't t blame that on the board but instead either themselves for imposing that view on themselves, or else on their management that has placed that upon them. That's not the fault of the whiteboard, but of the humans that surround it.

Eric Baber's blog

Thoughts and links to articles about a variety of ICT and education-related topics. Where an article or resource is referred to in the header of a blog post please click the header to read the article.

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