Since their introduction, interactive white boards have created different reactions from teachers, pupils and their parents. Most of them welcome this new technology even without knowing its true impact on education standards.
With the increased use of interactive whiteboards in schools it’s good to examine the impact of these technological features to the learning practices. There is a huge debate as to whether they increase students’ performance on standardized tests or not. Out of all studies carried out from 2003 in the UK and other areas whether the boards are commonly used it emerged that there was significant gains as students benefited from their teachers experience with the whiteboards.
To understand the full extents of the IWB different variables were considered including the age of the students, length of exposure to the whiteboards, gender, special needs and other socio-economic groupings. From the studies various conclusions have been drawn. First when the students are exposed to the interactive whiteboards for a long duration it becomes a mediating tool between the teacher-student interactions and among the students themselves. This type of mediation increases the productivity which is displayed by greater progress in national exam scores.
The studies also showed that this innovative technology leads to consistent gains across all subjects as well as every stage of the learning process. Studies conducted on individual subjects have showed different gains among different genders. For instance, in mathematics high attaining girls who were exposed to these boards were able to increase their performance to match with the boys. In science, performance improved for all girls and for boys in the average to high attaining levels.
In English all students irrespective of their gender showed improved performance. In all the studies there were no adverse effects from the use of the IWB. This shows that technology is capable of bringing life to the learning environment making it more enjoyable for the learner. The lessons not only become more enjoyable but also highly beneficial. Although there is a clear indication that interactive whiteboards have a positive impact to learning, this new technology has been faced by certain criticism. For instance people have claimed that although students welcomed the new technology fully, there was no impact on performance in the first years.
This was attributed to various factors such as teachers focusing more on the new technology rather than the learning needs of the students. There is also a high chance of over-valuing mundane activities due to the increased interactivity. Interactivity which is merely a technical process is particularly experienced more in lower-ability classes. Another source of criticism is that only seven percent of the teachers actually received professional training on how to use the new technology. This is bound to slow down the integration process of the new devices in schools.
There are also certain institutions that fail to purchase all the required accessories for the whiteboard. Although these accessories seem to be minor but they are very necessary. Such schools realize their mistake a month or two after the purchase of the main unit. Some of the commonly ignored accessories include wireless Bluetooth connection for easier transfer of data, USB powered speakers and wall mounting to clamp the unit in the most visible area of the room. Failure to include these accessories results in poor performance hence, becoming a source of criticism.
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