New Grant Proposal and the $2 Interactive Whiteboard

Just put the final touches on a close-to $15,000 grant for projectors and flat screens in our primary classrooms.  I’ve been positive about the proposal all along, but then I read this.  Frank Noschese makes a comparison between $2000 smart boards and $2 dry erase boards.  Which is truly interactive?

I love this argument.  I firmly believe that interactive whiteboards have a place in education today, but to claim that the interactivity is the key potential is like harkening back to round-robin reading from my own childhood.  To watch one child at a time “interact” with the whiteboard lesson is not interactive, in my humble, sixth-grade-centric opinion.  Small groups of students huddled around a large white board, dry erase pens in hand, conversation going, writing, drawing, erasing, discussing some more… this is interaction.

Smart boards aren’t smart.  What teachers do with them to enhance student understanding is the smart part.  White boards and dry erase markers aren’t smart either.  We come all the way back to the craft of teaching.  These are only tools.  Dumb tools at that.  But in the hands of skilled, risk-taking, forward-thinking educators, willing to turn learning over to students, the whole room becomes smarter.

My humble grant is for projectors.  I leave the interactivity to our curious students and our daring teachers.   An investment in people and a simple tool is smart.

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One thought on “New Grant Proposal and the $2 Interactive Whiteboard

  1. Looked the original post up after your mention this week in the staff room. Enjoyed both the original post and your comments above. Everything I’ve heard from our district principals who are describing their teachers use of eIWBs in their classrooms is the energy the teacher is generating from its use and the confidence to take the step into technology. It is interesting to me that a complex, expensive piece of hardware and software for demonstrating and instructing can propel a teacher to bring their own tech skills up to date while invigorating their teaching instruction techniques like no other professional development, instructional method, textbook adoption or student interaction can. Perhaps that’s the promise. $2000+ to renew your interest and commitment to the teaching profession.

    After watching students interact and reflect on both the learning and process for the Marshmallow Challenge in your room, I’m a believer in the $2 whiteboard!

    What I’d like to know is if the model works at the 1st grade level?

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