I was interested in this post:
Your question has been raised a lot in my district as well. I received a Promethean ActivBoard this school year and now I can't imagine teaching without it. I find myself trying to justify the technology to others in the district (generally those who are without IWBs themselves). These folks seem to see them as either an expensive substitute for a wireless mouse or just another way to keep teachers locked into teacher-led whole-class instruction.
I agree with you that the best way to get insight into this question is to see an IWB used by an effective teacher with real students.
I must admit that before I had an IWB I too was concerned that IWBS might lead to too much teacher-led whole-class instruction. We have only had our boards since October of 2008. In the beginning, they were an extension of the teacher's toolkit (i.e., another way to do what they would have done with a chalkboard, overhead projector, etc.) Yet in less than one year, the IWB have been increasingly used by students to increase their role during whole-class instruction; but more importantly, this has gradually led to the teachers adding new technology integration approaches to their repertoire. Our teachers are now comfortable with a variety of technology integration strategies (at the board, with the board as a center, with activities in the computer lab, and with laptops on wheels). IWBs provided the bridge to technology integration adoption and more student-centered instructional strategies.
This change did not happen overnight or without effort. It requires patience, respect for teachers unique abilities, plenty of professional development, responsive technical support, and administrative vision. Could we have made these advances without IWBs? Who knows, but I’m glad we didn’t have to!
What do you think?