Catching up (and some slides)

It’s been a while since I blogged here, basically since I got back from ISTE about 2 months ago.  Not sure why, just been super busy. I’ve got a heap of things happening at work, exciting things that I’ll be writing about here soon, but it’s just been hard finding the time lately to sit and write.  I need to change that. I miss doing it.

I presented the keynote at the IWBNet conference in Sydney this morning, which was fun. The topic I was asked to present on was “Why Interactive Whiteboards”, and a few people asked for a copy of the slides so I’ve included them below.

Gotta fly, I need to be at the airport in an hour or so to catch a plane to Japan where I’m spending the weekend with Kim Cofino running a workshop for EARCOS called The Networked Educator.  I guess I’ll have more to write about that later!

CC BY 4.0 Catching up (and some slides) by Chris Betcher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

8 Replies to “Catching up (and some slides)”

  1. Hi Chris,

    You do bring up some good points about the IWB as a useful tool, but there are a couple of questions I have.

    Your cost of the IWB does not include training to use it effectively. How many hours of training would you say that it takes to learn how to use it as more than a white surface to project a PowerPoint presentation on? How do we factor this into the cost of the IWB?

    Marzano’s research on the effectiveness of IWBs has been criticized by more than a few people. See for a sample rebuttal. Can you provide more information on the other research that you’ve cited? I’m unfortunately not able to access it directly myself.


    1. Hi Dave,

      Good point about training costs. You’re right, that would need to be factored in, but if not training on the interactive technology then wouldn’t teachers need training on something else anyway? Isn’t PD supposed to be an ongoing thing?   I could probably argue that a teacher who uses PowerPoint, even without any form of interactive surface being involved, is still going to produce some god-awful PowerPointlessness without training too.

      IWB training should be about the pedagogy, not the software. Because really, the software just isn’t that hard. So training on matters pedagogical is never going to be wasted, IWB or not.

      As for the Marzano research, yes I know it’s controversial, and in my presentation I was very clear to say that and explain why many sought to discredit it.  Personally, I’ve looked at it and think it’s valid enough to be useful.  I’m sure that people can dissect anything to pieces if they try hard enough, and clearly many who dislike IWB technology have done so. But whether Marzano’s numbers are correct or not, as I said in the presentation, even if the improvement is not 29%… even if it’s 20%… even 10%… hell, even a solid ongoing 5% improvement would still be welcomed wouldn’t it?  So the actual number are not nearly as important (to me) as the general finding that kids seemed to do better. Whether that’s through increased interest or engagement, or just that lessons were able to hold their attention better, or whether concepts were able to be explained more clearly… I don’t know WHY the results seemed to improve but I probably don’t care. I’m prepared to accept that they did.

      As for the other research, there is plenty. When I wrote the book I read lots and lots of research into IWBs and at worst some findings said the improvement was minimal and at best it was quite positive and significant.  Again, it depends on them being used well, and I will gladly concede that in the hands of a lousy teacher they result will be neutral or negative. So maybe we need less lousy teachers?

      The book has a 4 page bibliography of research and studies, but you can find plenty of reading by searching for “interactive whiteboards” in Google Scholar.  

      1. Hi, As an authorised SMART trainer for education and non education clients, I  reccomend teachers spend a full day or 2 half days training on using Notebook, with a focus on finding or creating content to support their teaching plans. Costs range from £300 – £500 per delegate for official courses and SMART have FOC online courses (though timings suit North America). SMART are also investing in FOC video content on Notebook, which is available at 
        Unfortunatley time and funds are a constant challenge  in education though there are a lot of FOC resources on the web and via PLN’s on Twitter. 

        I find the greatest challenge to adoption and utilisation of IWB’s to fully support education is a lack of knowledge of the resources available and free time to develop/research appropriate content.  

        1. Wow. I think that was bordering on comment spam. 

          Actually I’m just being polite… that was *totally* comment spam.  I was tempted to just delete the comment completely, but I hate the idea of censorship.  However, please don’t use these comment threads to push your own commercial agenda. It’s not a good look.

  2. Chris,  

    On Slide 46 you talk about the sweet spot of interactive technology.  I was wondering where you found that information?  I’d like to take a look at it.  Sounds interesting.


    Dan Mourlam

  3. Hi Chris

    Imagine my warm glow as I ticked off some of the items on your New things New ways slide!

    By the way – new set of challenges for 2012 as I move to teaching Year 1 after 5 years with Year 2. It will be like starting over.


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