I posted this piece back in May, and I’m posting it again here because I presented the idea to the salespeople who were in yesterday to present to us the latest and greatest. They kind of just stared at me. You may do the same, but there may be someone out there that might be able to run with it!
So here’s a way that I think the use of Interactive Whiteboards could transform the dynamic of your classroom. It’s not really about the new technology; instead, it’s about the technology that your new IWB is replacing.
You walk in on Monday morning to discover that the tech department in your district has finally made it to your school to install the new IWB that was ordered sometime last year. They arrive after you have left for the day on Friday, so it’s a surprise to return after the weekend to find that something new has been added to the landscape of your classroom. Lots of questions are probably circulating in your mind, including, “How do I turn this thing on?” and “What happened to the science lesson that I written out before I left on Friday?
But here’s the question that I would be asking. “What did they do with the old technology?” Yup. The old technology. What did the installers do with the old dry erase whiteboard that has graced the front of your classroom for the past five years? My best guess would be that it’s sitting in the maintenance room, or out by the school dumpster. And chances are there are a couple of others hanging out there as well.
So here’s the idea. Instead of throwing out the dry erase boards that the new technology is replacing, why not convert them to student work tables. Turn them over, add some braces, a few legs and, lo and behold, you have a multi-touch, multi-user, interactive white space all ready for student use!
Imagine having a large table space around which 4-6 students could gather to solve math problems, create individual and group thinking maps, take notes, or just doodle.
Imagine installing a hinge on the legs so that it’s possible to flip the tables to create a mini-presentation space. Imagine putting wheels on the tables so that they are easily moved to different combinations.
Flexible. Convertible. Interactive.
And if you act now, you could probably gather enough of these devices to re-create your entire classroom space, and your entire classroom dynamic.
So, bring on the Interactive White Board revolution. And then let me create one of my own!