That book…

Here’s a little piece of news about the book that I wrote with Mal Lee last year, The Interactive Whiteboard Revolution: teaching with IWBs.  We’ve just been informed by the publishers, ACER Press, that the original print run is now completely sold out and they are going into a second print run. Apparently there are even back orders, and the book has been one of the best selling books in their catalog this year. Who’da thunk it?

It’s true that Interactive Whiteboards can be a controversial topic. There are plenty of people who see them as a useful technology for teaching and learning, but there are also plenty of others that don’t (and are quite vocal about it!)

One of the things I think we tried really hard to do in the book was to consider this controversy and take a sensible and level-headed approach to what IWBs do and don’t do well.  I certainly don’t think I wrote it as an IWB fan-boy and I hope we managed to present a reasoned, common-sense, brand-agnostic argument for how IWB technology can succeed in making the teaching and learning process a little better, while continually reinforcing our belief that no teaching technology can make much of a difference unless it being used in ways that are based on sound, effective pedagogy.  IWBs on their own will not help your students learn – a truth that you would think seems so obvious –  but you only have to look at the advertising from most IWB makers to realise that this idea of it being a silver bullet is still being pushed quite heavily.

There’s no denying that there is still a lot of silly hype about IWBs, and I’ve seen plenty of cringeworthy examples of ways to use them. There have been moments where I’ve almost felt a little embarrassed that, of all the edtech topics I could have chosen to write a book about, it had to be about interactive whiteboards. The last thing I want is be thought of as “the IWB guy”.  In fact, I’ve been asked to give the keynote address at this years Interactive Teaching and Learning Conference, and I’ve called my presentation “Are IWBs carrying our classrooms into the 21st Century, or chaining us to the past?”  I believe we will only use IWBs well if we take a critical approach to their use and continue to ask ourselves the hard questions about how they fit into our teaching practice.  If we don’t do this, they can all too easily become gimmicky and pointless.

Having said all that, I’m pleased to say that the book has been getting some excellent reviews from people who see it as providing reasoned, sensible advice about a topic that is frequently hyped beyond reason and sense.  That’s been really quite affirming.  It’s also been affirming to get emails and twitter message from many of the people who’ve read it saying they found it useful and helpful.  My sincere appreciation for that!

Perhaps the best thing to come from the book has been the ongoing discussion about IWB technology that is happening over at  We originally set that site up as a way of providing a place for community to develop for people who read the book, who perhaps wanted to continue the conversation, ask questions, clarify things, or just generally tell us we were idiots and had it all wrong.  It’s actually grown FAR beyond our original expectations, and there are now over 1400 members from all over the world sharing ideas over there.  I’m actually far more proud of the ongoing intelligent discussion we’ve created there than the book itself.

If you have been one of those people who has read it, thank you!   And if you haven’t but would like to, you can get it here.

CC BY 4.0 That book… by Chris Betcher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

3 Replies to “That book…”

  1. Congratulations Chris! That’s a true reflection of what a great book it is! (One day I will get your autograph on my copy!!)
    I will certainly be referring to your book often in following months as I take on a new role outside the classroom – ES Technology Learning Coach, as we have SMARTboards in every classroom. They are being used well in some classrooms and my personal goal is to help teachers move beyond the projected picture on the board into a more interactive use. So thanks to you and Mal Lee for writing it!

  2. Woo Hoo! Congratulations Chris!
    I haven’t read the book yet, but also don’t have access to an IWB (yet). Shall definitely be getting a copy once I do though!!

  3. Congratulations Chris! The teacher I loaned my copy too has been totally converted and is spending her own money (and time) to go to more extensive IWB training this summer. You’ve inspired her via a book in ways that I couldn’t even do, face to face. From now on, I think I’ll just pass out copies of your book around school 😉

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