Interactive WhiteBoards are a fabulous e-learning tool. I was fortunate enough to have access to one last year, in my first year of university prac, and in the first term of my second year of university prac, this year. To my disappointment, this term I don't have access to an Interactive WhiteBoard. I have discovered that the class I am currently in will be receiving this tool once I have finished my prac at their school. In the prior pracs though, I found that the technology was amazing. There are so many different ways that Interactive WhiteBoards can be incorporated into learning experiences, and the learners themselves truly love them. Learners become so engaged with the technology, there are so many chances for learners to interact with the features, and they are always keen and willing to become involved and have a turn.
The Engagement Theory Framework is met through the use of the Interactive WhiteBoard. Kearsley and Shneiderman (1999) explain that; "by engaged learning, we mean that all student activities involve active cognitive processes such as creating, problem-solving, reasoning, decision-making, and evaluation. In addition, students are intrinsically motivated to learn due to the meaningful nature of the learning environment and activities." These needs are easily met when using the Interactive WhiteBoard effectively in learning design. Learners are able to complete meaningful and authentic tasks through learning objects which they can interact with. Learners are placed at the centre of their learning. The cognitive processes include high-order thinking skills
Individual learner needs and creativity can be effectively utilised when using an Interactive WhiteBoard in learning experiences. Visual learners are catered for through the use of images, maps and graphic organisers. Kinaesthetic learners are catered for through the use of interactive learning objects. Auditory learners are catered for through the use of sounds and teaching instruction. Creativity is apparent within every aspect of Interactive WhiteBoards. Learners have opportunities to showcase their creativity. For example, the learning manager could begin a picture by drawing a circle for a face. Learners would then be able to add their own ideas to the picture, resulting in the creation of a new innovative character.
The debate about the use of Interactive WhiteBoards is very interesting as I would have nothing bad to say against them. The point about spending money when it could be a waste, and the belief that a great teacher finds a way to be engaging without the use of new technologies (Futurelab, 2007-2009). Perhaps in answer to this problem, there could be a test or application form created for teachers who want the technology and feel they would use it. That way, teachers who didn't want to have the technology wouldn't be forced to have it. Alternatively, teachers could be educated about Interactive WhiteBoards to develop new skills, knowledge and abilities to use the technology. After all, teachers need to be lifelong learners in order to keep up with the fast-paced technological world. Also, wouldn't the great engaging teachers become even greater with access to the Interactive WhiteBoards?
Futurelab. (2007-2009). Do whiteboards have a future in the UK classroom? Retrieved August 12, 2009, from http://www.futurelab.org.uk/events/listing/whiteboards/outcomes
Kearsley, G. & Shneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Retrieved August 12, 2009, from http://home.sprynet.com/%7Egkearsley/engage.htm