I've been hosting a few visitors again and it's the interactive whiteboards that seem to be the main attraction. I had a team from a local educational publishing company sit in on one of my lessons to see one in action and gain some ideas about how to design content (books, digital resources, support materials) that fits with a classroom that is moving more into the digital world. Amazingly, one of the graphic designers was an ex-student of mine from my teaching days in Port Augusta (in my Year 3/4 class back in 1992) - feeling old at 41!
Then tonight, I took a group (of which I am a member) from my son's school's Governing Council around my school to get some ideas around the theme of Assets Improvement. This group are parents from other non-education areas of the workforce and they really wanted to see an IWB in action for the first time. I know that the "wow" factor is always more pronounced with adults but I did point out that nearly everything I produce now in the course of my work is digital. I do my programming on a wiki (easier to embed the web links I like to use), I create flipcharts to introduce concepts and take students through units of work, my school communication runs on email and the electronic daybook and I produce document after document in the course of my daily work. Then in the evening, I network with my global colleagues, hunt down and tag potential online resources and read widely varying big and small picture perspectives on technology, education and the space between the two.
One of the Assets group pointed out that all of this technology stuff seemed to be my passion and that is true. I have actively sought out all of this stuff and manouevred myself into leadership responsibilities in the eLearning area, and tried to be progressive in working out what new and emerging technologies can do in the classroom. The hardest part has always been how to lure the non-technology-passionate teacher over to the other side. And I still think that the Interactive Whiteboard is the one of the best ways to do that luring. It bridges that middle ground and gets otherwise skeptical non-digital teachers to at least start to become digital in their day to day work.
Lastly, I've been approached to offer a workshop for the mid year Australian Literacy Educators Association conference on how I use the IWB for literacy in my classroom. Looking through the program, there are shades of Web 2.0 in some of the sessions and the opening keynote will focus on the media fuelled "Literacy Wars". (Yep, we've got our own version, Doug.) But if some of these passionate literacy educators drop into my session and see that use of an IWB in their classroom can be a gateway to all of these new multi-literacies that modern education needs to address.... well, I'm hoping that I can do the invitation justice.