Jan 20 2007
Has the IWB past it’s sell by date?
So as I currently write this I am installing the new SMARTBoard software and I have just reviewed the current state of the product that was displayed at BETT. The Interactive whiteboard has hardly changed since I dusted off a boxed one in a corridor way back when I was training.
I do remember setting that board up in the Year 3 class I was working in and thinking that it was truly the most impressive resource I had used – I have since been in 2 different schools and been charged with the implementation of many IWBs. So I bought into the idea. There are many schools in the UK and I am sure across the world that have not had IWBs installed. It seems to me to be a slow process of integrating a decent technology.
So what’s next? I think that sometimes schools wait too long to have technology delivered to them – to wait for the next bandwagon to come along. I don’t think that the IWB can be taken much further than it already has. Software has changed, yes. What devices we can attach has changed, yes. But what about the interactive technology we use. That is pretty static. No doubt that over time things have been manufactured to a greater standard, with more reliability etc. But when you watch Jeff Han demonstrate at TED Talks a new interactivity, perhaps we should be investing our efforts there.
Recently I wrote about my experiences with Philips here and then here, but it was early days with my blog and I assumed that it slipped under the radar of many of my readers. I hope that you might take the time to read it and comment.
So from my experiences with Philips and watching Jeff Han I believe that perhaps we are looking at the wrong model of car. Indulge me in this analogy for a moment.
So the IWB is an old 2002 model car, and every year there has been a growth in sales – way back then the model had all of the latest features and was “cutting edge”; now the same model has had a paint job, a few bolt on extras like a new exhaust and ways to plug in your mp3 player – but the car itself has not changed.
They are still selling but they haven’t really changed. As drivers our gaze has been fixed by these glorious new additions and the fact that so many other drivers were buying them. Governments even waded in to buy the cars in bulk and then distribute them to new drivers. Of course there are excellent drivers out there – no question, but has the actual car we are driving changed in 5 years? So whilst all this is going on in a factory in Holland or in the US somebody has questioned the design and created the next evolutionary step…
I suppose the question is: how long will it take us to wrench our gaze away from one technology and open our eyes to the possibilities that are emerging elsewhere?