Black? White? Interactive?

A word of warning, I was unable to attend the class, so this will be from other experiences of using interactive whiteboards. They’re… kinda fun! And, if it seems fun then I like to have a bit of a play. My earliest experiences with Interactive WhiteBoards (IWBs) turned out to be damp squibs. The university I worked at had them in most of the teaching rooms. They were resplendent with signage, increasing both in size and forcefulness, indicating that under no circumstances should you use a marker (the non-interactive whiteboards already concerned themselves with the use of permanent markers, although that lesson was only partly learnt).

Unfortunately, but not unsurprisingly, these notices had been roundly ignored and/or blatantly defied and, at times, knowingly. Nevertheless, the crux of this is that the clutch of IWBs effectively existed as NonReciprocal White Boards… or, projector screens.

Yet, during this I began support work in an FE college, and there I found the wonderful world of IWB open up before me. Now I could draw a straight line and a circle, like real ones that satisfied their definitions. Moreover, the ability to link and animate,  to examine resources from different angles, to embed and interact with content without having to exit the presentation (I’m looking at you, Roehampton lecturers), was both amazing and great! Yup, I like ’em.

There are downsides, however. I’ve worked as cover supervisor around a number of secondary schools, often delivering non-existent content and ensuring that nothing gets broken and nobody gets hurt, where a web ripped IWB presentation has been left as my task to plough through. These are often very detailed and beyond the scope of the lesson plan; they can have far too many animations per page, making navigating a slow and laborious process by exposing answers at the wrong moment, or taking forever to move on as it lazily fades in; or, where repeating a single lagging touch unexpectedly takes you onto the next page, but returning means wading back through the previous 16 animations to show the final piece of working. All in all, it can be a soul destroying process, but one that is less the problem of an IWB than the uncritical use of another’s resources. There remains an issue around the use of another screen, another digital medium that is corrupting the moral fibre of our youth, unable as they are to differentiate between fiction and reality, but that’s another story…

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