"It doesn't make bad teaching better" My reflections on IWB

"It doesn't make bad teaching better"  My reflections on IWB

When teaching pre-service teachers, some of my work involved teaching about how to use Interactive White Boards, also known as IWBs. Some of the common complaints include:

  • “We don’t have access to enough PD”
  • “We just want to know how to use them better”
  • “We think the cost of them isn’t worth it when we can’t use them effectively”
  • “Using them doesn’t make made teaching better”

I was stunned at the negativity so openly shared about the use of the lack there of of IWBs. I turned to my PLN and the same answers began to appear from teachers too.

I had a conversation with George Couros just this week about IWBs. I was telling him how I have been using them and teaching pre-service teachers about them in an ICT course I teach and how we use TPACK to guide our integration of them into the teaching and learning. Anyway…. I went on and on and on about how they help us teach when George asked me two profound questions:

George: “How many times did you just talk about teaching?”

Me: “Umm…. lots….”

George ” How many times did you menion learning?”

Me: *Gasp* “I never mentioned learning?!!?”

This was an absolute light bulb moment! IWBs indeed do not make bad teaching better but it should NEVER be about the teaching but about the learning! The interaction between students and the content!! OH MY GOODNESS!

I shared this thought with my pre-service teachers and we suddenly became aware of our langauge and thinking surrounding teaching and learning! Whenever I or another student mentioned the technology in terms of teaching and NOT learning – our thinking was highlighted by 25 others haha….. it made for a very interesting lesson where our thinking began to shift! There were many awkward giggles throughout this lesson as we realised how much we didn’t talk about student learning but rather our teacher! How profound yet scary!

You see, using technology should be about the learning. More and more we are hearing about schools tearing down IWBs or they have made a decision to not replace them in the future instead wanting to go in the direction of one-to-one laptops or more commonly Ipads. This is because the interaction is far greater with these devices because each student can interact as opposed to one or two interacting with the IWB.

We have access to some great resources and research about the use of IWBs. One example is an article written by Dr. Trudy-Ann Sweeney, an academic at Flinders University. Also Selena Woodward’s blog is a gold mine and the authors knowledge is incredible and advocates for an emphasis on learning rather than teaching….. BUT

I question how much of this knowledge is actually getting through(some of it obviously is but it still astounds me how much of our focus in on teaching not learning) and what factors are hindering teachers and pre-service teachers alike from using this tool, pedagogically, in the best way possible?

How do you use your IWB? Is your thinking focused on teaching or learning?