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To have an IWB or to not have an IWB - that is my question...

Discussion in 'Primary' started by ukprimaryteacher, Mar 10, 2008.

  1. Hi,

    I'm a dedicated interactive whiteboard (IWB) user. However, in my "new" school, there are precious few of them. In fact, there's only 1, and it doesn't work properly. I'm in a working party which has been charged with determining the IT needs for our Primary school. I think most of the members of the working party would agree when I say that IWBs are a must have. The challenge is, the person leading the team needs convincing that IWB are worthwhile in Primary schools. He apparently is convinced IWBs are of use only in Secondary schools.
    So, here is my challenge to you:
    Can you please let me know what is so wonderful about your IWB, how has it improved teaching and learning in your classroom, how are the costs offset(increased maths results, etc.), any success stories and which manufacturer *you* prefer and why.
    Our first meeting is fast approaching, so any help from anyone would be appreciated!!
  2. I'm an NQT, so I've never not had an Interactive Whiteboard and, to be honest, I couldn't imagine working without one. I have used both SMART boards and Promethean Activ boards and much prefer the Activ boards, which are more suitable for primary-aged children.

    I use the IWB in a variety of ways every single day. At its most basic (in KS2), it makes a great display for board work / questions that can be prepared in advance. On a more 'interactive' level, The interactive teaching programmes are a really useful tool to help explain complex mathematical concepts.

    Today I used my IWB in three different ways in one literacy lesson:
    1: Write the word/sentence level task in ActivPrimary (To trace around hand and write imperative verbs). Model using IWB.

    2: Display a video (downloaded from the internet) as a shared text.

    3: Model how to use planning frame to write a text inspired by shared text.

    And I will likely use it to display their work when their drafts are written and use ActivPrimary to annotate / suggest improvements.

    This is one way in which it can be used at KS2 (I'm in year 5 at the moment), but I used the board as much, if not more, when I was teaching in KS1, so anybody who says they're just for secondary schools has no idea what they're talking about.

    In KS1 (year 1) I used the board to help explain concepts, to play educational games and display videos. The children in my class hadn't had an IWB in reception, so they were really excited by it. It helped to promote independence and visually demonstrate concepts that otherwise might be difficult to explain.

    Sorry it's a ramble, but I really couldn't teach (very well) without one!
  3. myrtle

    myrtle Occasional commenter

    the resources you can bring to learning....the added visual impact.....the music, the videos...the things that enhance your teaching....scanning in childrens work to help you drive points home/praise work......everyday ICT you can teach as you teach other things.........visual learning that stimulates through the use of colour, pictures......webcasts....
  4. trinity0097

    trinity0097 New commenter

    Just speaking from a Maths viewpoint, it has really increased the enjoyment of pupils in our school, they love using things like the primary games suites on the IWB for starters and plenaries.

    I wouldn't have a Smartboard (we have both Smartboard and Promethean in school), purely based on calibration issues, smartboards need calibrating about every 5 minutes, and even then it's not 'right', whereas my promethean was last done in early 2007 and is perfect!

    Only downside with promethean is only one user at a time, but I'm going to try borrowing another pen tomorrow and see if 2 pens could be used at once, which would solve that problem.
  5. we have smartboards and know staff wouldnt want to be without them and that has included staff who wouldnt say they were computer literate and have taught for many years.
    The resources at hand are amazing and there is still a time committment re resources but the quality is so much higher than those hand made ones
    Hard to evidence results impact but does engage hard to reach kids and id suggest you find a school where they are embedded and get an enthusiast to show this person around a school especially how Nursery children indpendently access them.
    We do not have to calibrate our boards all the time so dont know why others have that issue.
    One tip if you can find others looking to buy boards there is economy of scale the more you buy the lower you can get the price
  6. I can't do without it. it sves time becuase you can copy and paste things from network and internet instead of writing things out on the old fashioned board. the children love using it too. plus you can watch dvds on it. if you are wanting things like visulsers and voing systems you will need one. most new schemes rely on one to.
    good luck convincing heidi
  7. RJR_38

    RJR_38 New commenter

    re: post 4

    We seem to have the opposite problems - our prometheans in KS2 are awful - always need recalibrating, not such good picture quality, pens always breaking.

    Got smartboards in KS1 and FS and they are fantastic. I especially like ours as hey are adjustable height which is great for the little ones :)

    Regarding OP - I use mine for interactive games, fir bringing up and previous days work and editing it/recapping, showing video clips, doing class research - the list is almost endelss!
  8. Hi,
    I am very fortunate as I work in a school in which every classroom has an IWB and I find it an invaluable resource. I know many of our staff feel the same.

    Benefits I have found....
    (1) We have some very good intereactive programs which keep the children enthused and interested. The children can come to the board and be invovled. Children respond really well to these programs - also with it being linked to the internet, BBC programs etc are a superb support to the existant curriculum.
    (2) Saves on photocopying! As having 38 in my Top Set Numeracy class I can display questions problems on the board that all can see are work from (saves time for writing them on the board)These can also be easily altered and adapted during a lesson.
    (3) Can display information in a range of different ways, through powerpoints etc....much more interesing for the children and me! It is very versatile peice of equipment.
    (4) Easy access to a variety of mediums in order to cater for various learning styles - as you can access music, video etc quite easily

  9. Wouldn't be without mine.
    Literacy- you can see and annotate texts with the children sitting at their seats. There are so many texts that you can use as a result. Word level becomes interactive. Video clips and film clips can be shown. I take stills from the film and then annotate it before they write. I also scan books in , even their own work so we can see and ammend their work.
    Maths- the pace of lessons is so much faster as a result. Games are so motivating and progress is fantastic as a result. Maths websites are in abundance. Tell your Y5 teacher that they can have all my smart board files for the year ! That is one teacher convinced I would think.
    At very least you need a projector in every room. I could manage with that and would wait a year for the smart board if I had to - not much longer though. I never though I would use it so much and would be happy to lose my other board completely now.
    Everyone shares their resources between schools as well.
    Half a term with an IWB and you never want to go back to the dark ages.
  10. Rachste

    Rachste New commenter

    Trinity - Promethian have brough out a pen that can be used in collaboration with another - only saw it advertised recently, haven't tried it myself. Might be of use. Sorry to move away from the thread.
  11. I miss my SMart board - the expanded page thing especially, and the short cuts, and the copy, cut and pasting that it so much more awkward than in promethian.

    I would recommend that you get your head on board by finding a colleague in a nearby school that has had an outstanding ofstead with them, maybe your head would then like to visit that school and you could have a staff mtg to see which type of boards you like. Promethan is easier to understand for KS1 IMHO, but i liked the smart board was just like a windows enviroment and shortcuts could be easily made. Although promethian have a few recent advantages
    1)activvote - if your school can afford it (mine can't)
    2) the new orange slide up and down hieght adjustable boards - no more ikea stools needed (this was such a great idea my colleague used it too)
    3) they offer (for extra) a long stick/wand esp suitable for KS1 and a tablet that allows remote access writing (like a pc tablet) - great for SEN and teachers!
    Hope these ideas help
  12. drat - you can't edit your posts - i forgot!

    What i meant was that i miss my smart board program features soooo much - but a board is a board....

    I also miss that my smart board had the sound etc box - which you used as your cd player, and the screen as your tv as you could plug audio equipment into it easily.
    Might be possible to have this for promethean but- i've only seen in a range of smart board schools.
  13. headflower

    headflower New commenter

    I had IWB's at my training school, but they weren't well-used because staff weren't trained! I found out a lot of things through trial and error and by speaking to the one trained IWB user in our department.
    In my current school we just have pc projectors and although it was an adjustment, it still means I can prep my lesson plans at home and pop them on a memory stick. I also embed links to video clips in my documents so I just have to click them to show them.
    I would be disappointed to not have a pc projector, but you can live without IWB's, although I agree they can greatly enhance a lesson when used well.

  14. From another perspective as a supply teacher can I please state:
    The number of times I go in to cover absence only to find the class teacher's got the laptop that powers the IWB at home with them, there's no "normal" whiteboard and have to spend the day blu-tacking bits of A3 paper to the wall so I have somewhere to write on is ridiculous.

  15. tafkam

    tafkam Occasional commenter

    I would echo this! Indeed, if you can, have both, in a suitable position at the front of your room. I am fortunate to have a large whiteboard alongside my IWB, and so my IWB only gets turned on and used when it adds to learning. That might mean not at all some days, but all day on others.
    I wouldn't want to be without either now.

  16. I love my smartboard - wouldn't be without it. I set up lessons beforehand, share with my year group 'twin', links provide easy access to resouces on the web - NASA, BBC, the possibitities are endless. In some cases I am re-using lessons I set up last year!

    I would echo the need for keeping a whiteboard. I often use both, especially in Literacy & Numeracy. Another reason for keeping a whiteboard is if the technology lets you down (once so far this academic year) you can carry on.

    Go for it!
  17. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    I to as supply would ask that teachers think before they set work.amazing the number who set it for IWB then take the laptop..and you have to go hunting if your lucky and have time.
    also please can you have an accessible login.......often im early and want to set up .only to fiind the ta with the login dont arrive till the kids coming in..or the kids have to tell me how to!
    Supplys dont get taught to use them, but im confident to teach without one......done so for 25 years!..but they are useful as a tool and that only....yes can do all sorts on them.......but amazing how i ,untrained, seem to still know more than my full time proffesionals!
    Remembering when all we had was ablackboard...not even a whiteboard...which in their day where a 'marvel' lol

  18. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I use my IWB everyday but wouldn't be heartbroken if I didn't have it.
    I have both in our unit and we've just had a second Smartboard installed ...

  19. YOY


    Someone commented about the picture being better on one than the other - just to clarify that's to do with the projector, not the IWB. When I last bought a couple, Promethean seemed to install with Sanyo projectors as standard - they aren't great and the lamps are extortionate. But promethean only sell through approved resellers apparently now - so this may have changed. Sanyo=expensive and not great, benQ=cheap and cheerful and rather decent, sony=good image quality and cheap lamps, HP=Thank God they got out of the market they were dreadful at making projectors, in my experience. Quite like NEC too. Check if the projectors have filters that need cleaning and think about who would do this - ifit isn't done it reduces the lamp life a lot. If nobody's going to do it, seriously look for projectors that don't need cleaning even if they cost a few quid more.

    I loved teaching with an IWB, but in my experience a very small number of teachers use them to their full potential. Training and confidence are really important if they're not going to either gather dust or used to little effect.

    Consider total cost of ownership as well as initial purchase cost. Look at the expected lamp life, and the cost of lamp replacement. Be prepared for the cabling/amp/speakers to fail and need replacement - it won't happen to them all, but it's happened to at least one board in every one of my schools. You'll need to pay for replacements... Budget for replacement pens - they do get lost and broken, and promethean ones in particular are very pricey! When making your choice look at the warranty carefully. You should
    easily be able to get 3 year lamp warrantys on the projectors.


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