Interactive Whiteboards – rip them out!


Hear me out. Very clever invention and we have all had fun with them over the years. However there is one major drawback that I have become increasingly aware of.

Consider a classroom that has many visiting teachers or consider that poor teacher who roams from one room to the next. Although the ability to project a file is still a massive asset (don’t rip out the projectors), I would suggest there are many boards that are simply not used as interactive white boards. I know several that have the appearance of working but haven’t had a configured pen on them for quite some time. Sadly there are still some adults who think they are using an interactive board when in fact they are using a projector on what may as well be a white wall. Anyway here is the major drawback…

The room set up assumes the board will be used. If this is not possible for any number of practical reasons, the teacher is forced to use some small board to the side. They cannot present in a way they could have if there was a large non interactive board in the centre of the facing wall. This is extremely frustrating.

Schools will be reluctant to rip them out because a lot has been spent on them over the years. They are still incredibly expensive for what they do. If tablet touch screen technology and wireless/casting had been easily available years earlier, IWBs would not be with us.

When I visit a room, having logged on, the last thing I want to do is look for a pen, and worse, calibrate the board. I want the lesson to begin. If I request a practical solution such as a normal writing surface being fitted over, I know what will happen. The resident teacher may not want this. It will also be implied that I am some kind of luddite. I used to train people in using IWBs; I’ve been there and got the T-shirt.

I don’t know what the answer is (that will please everyone). But schools do need to address the main drawback. The picture I used at the start shows the children interacting. Yes there was a time when it was a real thrill for a child to come to the front and wonder at the magic of their finger even, but that novelty disappeared years ago.

I am sure what I have written will irritate some, but I imagine there will be others for whom this resonates. Either way, I look forward to comments on twitter.