As the ICT Facilitator in our school, I tend to extensively test technologies we are intending to implement within the school. Over the last year we have been putting in interactive whiteboards and now have two SmartBoards and four Promethean ActivBoards. I was also fortunate recently to win a competition for some ActivVotes so we have interactive voting technology now.
Feedback on the brands: Our Learning Support team felt that with their pupils that the hands on touch was a key factor for them so they chose SmartBoard technology. We have decided to put Promethean ActivBoards in all the other classes. The deciding factors were: sophistication of the ActivBoard software, resources available, and on ground educational support from Promethean consultants.
Having said that, I reckon in the future that the interesting thing will be the ability to incorporate multi- gesture technology in the boards, and wonder who will lead the race in this.
Implementation: We have a portable board that is loaned to teachers on the condition that:
- They use it as much as possible for a term
- That they join our on-site team of those with boards and attend a couple of training sessions
- That they will then get their own board in their room if they show good use and integration (i.e. not just as a fancy whiteboard!)
- That they share some of their ideas with the staff to motivate and inspire others.
- Comments: Important to get collaboration going. I have developed a web bookmarking system based on Delicious and other technologies to capture our best sites for IWB use. We also are working on a collaborative collection of all created flipcharts through using a common sharepoint.
- What Next: Looking into senior pupils authoring for junior classes following the concept of interviewing their client (the teacher), ascertaining learning needs, presenting an outline/plan of what they think they will design, designing presenting and evaluating how it went through interviewing the teacher again or observing a session where it is used.