I’ve tried…I’ve really tried to avoid the interactive whiteboard conversation. But I can’t…because although it looks like a conversation about tools, it really has much deeper roots…at least for me. You see, I have this dream. A dream where school is about each individual child. About meeting them where they are and allowing them to soar. In my dream, students are in the driver’s seat; they have ownership over their learning. The learning is authentic and based on real world experiences. They are connected to people from all over the world. They work in flexible, fluent groups depending on their interests, passions and needs. They are consumers of information, yes; but they are also producers. They use a variety of tools to express themselves in a way that makes sense to them. (Sounds like PLP, eh?)

So, as someone who makes recommendations about district technology purchases, it is my responsibility to put those tools in the kids’ hands…so they can access information; create and share content with people all around the world and make a difference in the world. With budgets being squeezed dry, it becomes even more imperative to choose the tools wisely. Thus when we are called on to make those tough decisions, I think about the type of student we need to graduate from our high schools. Honestly, I can’t see how an interactive white board will turn out those self-directed, innovative, connected adults. In my heart of hearts, the use of those devices keep students tied to the front of the room where the teacher directs everything. Sure, the perfect situation might include laptops for all children and a shiny whiteboard to work with individual students or groups of students but one thing I know for sure is that our district will never have that kind of money.

I’ll leave you with a post written by Pete Reilly entitled, “New Paradigms Needed“. In this post, he says, “We need a new technology deployment paradigm that empowers students and teachers and serves as a catalyst for transforming classrooms into environments that model the key 21st Century Skills that are so desirable in the work-place.” Empowers students? Transforms classrooms? Hmmm.

I look forward to more conversations about this topic. I haven’t closed the door completely; sometimes, though, one just has to listen to the heart.

About charrod

I have been in education for 30 years. I spent the first nine years as a third and fourth grade teacher. The next 10 years were spent as a gifted specialist. From 2006-2016, I was the Instructional Technology Specialist for our district. Beginning in August 2016, I returned to the classroom where I plan learning experiences for my amazing students. Who's the lucky one here?
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