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Marco Koene

Interactive whiteboards

Are interactive whiteboards a good replacement of the old blackboard?  

17 members have voted

  1. 1. Are interactive whiteboards a good replacement of the old blackboard?

    • Yes
      11
    • No
      1


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I will try anything that will be of benefit the learning of the kids in my class. If teachers want to totally ignore the preferred learning styles of the majority of the kids in their classes and stay with chalk and talk they will make themselves unemployable in a very short time from now. Some people just are not going to change because it threatens their power base in the school to do so - its not about technology, its not about pedagogy, its not about time or inset - its about power politics in the school.

Hi Tony. I had the pleasure of your company when you were teaching in Toulouse a few years ago. I found that a stimulating experience. I am sure I will find your postings having the same impact on my thinking.

I have been involved in training teachers to use technology since the early 1980s. I would agree that the real issue is not about technology, pedagogy, time or inset. However, I would not go as far to say it is about “power politics in the school”. It is about power, but the power of the individual and not the school.

Teaching is a profession that creates a great deal of stress (and fear). The individual teacher develops strategies to deal with this stress. Once developed, teachers are not very keen to adapt these strategies. They fear they will not be able to cope using new strategies. Therefore, any inset that involves changes of these survival strategies, needs to take account of these fears. Most of all, teachers have to be convinced these changes will lead to them obtaining more power, rather than less, over the control of their situation. This is why the provision of technical support is so vital in persuading teachers to use new technology.

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I have also been involved in delivering ICT training to teachers since the 1980s. Buying new equipment without backing it up with appropriate funding and time for training is the commonest mistake made by school managers. This is one of the reasons why the language lab failed. But important questions should be asked before the equipment is purchased, e.g. Do we really need it? What are we going to do with it? Unfortunately, I see many schools buying interactive whiteboards simply because the senior managers think that it is a "good idea".

If ICT is the answer, what is the question?

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Guest Adrian Dingle

Graham hits the nail on the head when he says;

But important questions should be asked before the equipment is purchased, e.g. Do we really need it? What are we going to do with it? Unfortunately, I see many schools buying interactive whiteboards simply because the senior managers think that it is a "good idea".

Exactly the same is true of teachers producing web sites for their classes. Too often it is a web site for the sake of a web site with no purpose, and consequently what they produce is a complete waste of time and effort. There are quite literally millions of abandoned web sites mainly of the type, "Pictures of my family", cluttering cyberspace.

In relation to web sites and their creation, try these questions before embarking;

Should I bother to create a web page?

YES - If you have a good reason, which really means,

You have content that you want to share that the web would facilitate

You have an audience

It’s original

You have the time and patience to maintain it

NO – If you have no good reason, which should be your answer if,

You have nothing to say or the web is not the correct forum

Nobody cares about what you have to say - there is no audience

Somebody has already done it

Your pages may be neglected by you

My reasons for me creating my own website can be read at

http://www.westminster.net/faculty/dingle/about.html

and are stated simply as;

PURPOSE AND GOALS. Simple. To facilitate the learning experience of the students in my classes. Never technology for technology's sake.

Edited by Adrian Dingle

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Adrian is quite right about finding a good reason for creating a website. There are an awful lot of completely pointless websites around.

I state the following reasons on my Web page entitled "The Internet: write your own Web pages":

http://www.camsoftpartners.co.uk/webcreat.htm

- To advertise yourself or your institution.

- To provide information and resources for staff.

- To provide learning materials for students.

Teachers who create websites don't realise that they require constant maintenance. I have found dozens of sites that contain lists of (mainly unannotated) links to resources. I maintain the ICT4LT website at http://www.ict4lt.org

Around 30-50 of the 1000-plus links listed at the site disappear, go down temporarily or move each month. I use Xenu Link Sleuth to check the links, but this only tells me if a link is alive or dead; it doesn't tell me what lurks beneath each link, so a regular manual check is also necessary. Xenu Link Sleuth can be found at:

http://home.snafu.de/tilman/xenulink.html

I have found many sites maintained by teachers who are completely unaware of copyright. I have sent several warnings to schools that have clearly been in breach of copyright; it's better that I warn them before they get caught by the copyright owners. See the guidelines that I have drawn up:

http://www.ict4lt.org/en/en_copyright.htm

One also has to watch out for cybersquatters who grab existing domain names when their owners forget to renew them and turn them into something sinister. See:

http://www.camsoftpartners.co.uk/DodgyLinks.htm

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