Friday, August 31, 2007

IWB Discussion - White Elephant or Teacher's Pet?

I have just published a new post at blog-efl about the discussion this summer that took place on the Dogme list.

Read more about it here.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

I/O Brush for the IWB

The video that shows the I/O brush in use is stunning. I don't think it would be much use in language teaching, but I'd love to have a play with it nonetheless.

There is more information here about this innovative tool.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The IWB vs the computer in the classroom

I'm at the beginning of what promises to be a highly interesting week-long seminar, 'ICT in ELT', organised by the British Council. Those of us who are only virtually attending are participating in the seminar Moodle, posting to forums, chatting together, and watching the streamed videos of the conference presentations, etc.

One of the threads that has appeared in the Moodle forums has been the role of the Interactive White Board.

I suppose I could be considered a fan now, and so I had to respond to one of the particpant's comments that perhaps having a 'computer in the corner' of the classroom was better than an IWB. I thought I should post it here too:

"Let's not forget, however, that the IWB needs the computer in the corner in order to work, so there's no competition in my mind. You turn the data projector (DP) off, and you have that computer in the corner that the learners can use . Turn it on, and you have a very powerful way of displaying and presenting to a group of students.

At the risk of starting a new thread, I've noticed the start of a wave of IWB-bashing, which I find curious, especially as I think the arguments are missing the point.

Given the option, would you rather have a board or no board in your classroom? And what would you prefer? A blackboard? A whiteboard? A DP display system? Or an IWB?

Having used all of the above, I can say unreservedly that the IWB is better than any other classroom display system, and I would dearly love to have access to one in all of my classrooms, to use with all of my learners. It will come. I'm sure of it.

At the risk of stating the obvious, but for the benefit of those who haven't come across one, the IWB is much better than the blackboard/whiteboard option for dozens of different reasons. Just a few: displaying scanned images, instant access to the Internet and CD-ROMs, a school's intranet, the ability to display large format video, etc.

OK, so what about a DP equipped classroom vs an IWB-equipped one? For the same reasons that Andy mentions above, the IWB room wins. A DP only classroom can only really be used as a presentation tool. Fine for a conference, and some other educational settings, but too teacher-centred for a language classroom.

I think the problem is that some educators have only observed the IWB being used as a presentation tool, and not been present in a truly dynamic classroom setting, with students taking control of the pen, in similar ways to how language teachers have been using a normal board for years. And then you can do fabulous activities (such as word ordering activites) that are simply impossible to do without one.

I do agree that there are hidden costs attached to switching to the IWB. One of those is technical support. If you have a school full of IWBs, and all your teachers relying upon them for their teaching, then you need to be able to react quickly if a DP bulb goes, or a cable comes loose, etc.

But pedagogically? There's no argument..."

Monday, October 17, 2005

IWB articles

Different opinions about IWBs recently expressed in the Guardian:

1. Chalk one up to the whiteboard: "The drive to get interactive whiteboards into British classrooms could be missing the bigger picture."

2. Interactive whiteboards let them see the light is about the use of the IWB in EFL. This passage in particular caught my eye:

"The advantages for students may be even more compelling. The board encourages an "eyes-up", rather than "eyes-down" culture. It helps me to see that my students are with me and not lost somewhere in their own world. This has proved particularly effective with discussion activities."

3. In this school, the classroom revolution is now a reality - all 360 degrees of it

"Teachers circle the room in an experiment that could change the shape of education. And the pupils love it."

Two positive and one negative view.

Monday, August 29, 2005

1-2 minute video clips

Turner classics. Hundreds of 1 -2 min clips of classic movies:,,,00.html

Includes an interactive game called one liners which has audio clips from movies - you have to match them to a still photograph:,,,00.html

Power Point resources

This site on Elementary Presentations is aimed at US classes, but there are some resources of interest to EFL classes.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

New IWB blog spotted

Interactive Whiteboards is a new blog that hopes to collect "evidence of the use of interactive whiteboards in classroom or school in K-12" - not 100% related, but the blog has a nice collection of links that are worth taking a look at.