I'm on my quest to properly portray the potential of interactive whiteboards in classrooms and I have the first link of hopefully many for others to peruse and feedback on. It's titled IWBs vs DATA PROJECTORS and comes from the IWBNet website here down under. Now even their points would be up for debate - remember this latest train of thought came from reaction to Will Richardson's description of his Tablet PC program and his comment on my blog:
But it seems like everything you can do on a IWB can be done on a tablet WITH the increased mobility in the classroom.
A Tablet PC would have the heads up on a regular laptop, and can be used for annotation like an IWB. What Will decribed was also student-centric so that feature is shared as well. I would argue that interacting directly with the board is better than the "remote control"ishness of writing on a Tablet and seeing it appear on the wall. Group work where students can take in turns to interact at the board is really important especially in primary school settings where staying desk bound is not the norm. I'm not sure how well a Tablet PC program handles that. Finally, here in Australia a Tablet PC sells for about $4000, while the IWB is around $2500. At my school we got our laptops for around $1200 so it's not about economics. I think Will would concede his pilot program would not be as good with regular laptops - it needs the interactivity of the Tablet. I did say that I loved the sound of his program but I'll continue to dig for more reasons to showcase why IWB's deserve special consideration. More later - I have a presentation to give to my staff tomorrow afternoon to build interest for our next purchase.