"And the color, movement, sound and participation all come without messy chalk, stinky dry erase markers and copies of transparencies" (par. 2).
Interactive whiteboards offer tremendous benefits not only for students, but also for teachers. They assist "people of many learning styles and save teachers time and space. Lessons can be saved into the system and can easily incorporate countless videos, maps, photos and websites. Teachers can pause videos and write notes on the screen, science classes can explore frogs through virtual dissection and geometry figures can be rotated, shrunk or expanded" (par. 18). In short, they make classroom instruction more efficient and learning more fun and interesting. The ability to harness the power, depth and breadth of the internet in this manner offers infinite new ways to try and reach out to students to grab their attention and improve their understanding of the material.
There are many examples of ways in which this new technology has been and can be applied within the classroom. "Teachers can put a pyramid on the board and turn it so the class can see all the angles and sides. Students can count vertices by touching them on the board and setting them off in another color. Teachers can bounce between editing a paper on the board to searching for something online to illustrating what 1/16th of an inch looks like on a ruler" (par. 4). Any subject from math to literature to art and music can greatly benefit from these cybertronic chalkboards.
This emerging hardware technology is significant because of its potential to revolutionize classrooms and teaching approaches. In the past, classroom instruction has tended to be one dimensional, very static, and non-interactive. Teachers would write on chalkboards or overhead slides, and would often be confined to the limited universe of often out-of-date instructional aids and materials to which they happened to have access. The ability of students to actively participate in a lesson, beyond raising their hand to answer the teacher's questions or make comments in a class discussion, was quite limited.
With interactive whiteboards, teachers have the ability to take their lessons "outside of the box." Virtually any material available on the internet that pertains to the subject matter being taught can be summoned right then and there during a classroom lesson. This enables a much more detailed, nuanced and up-to-date discussion of the material. Further, students have a much greater opportunity to participate in the lesson in a meaningful way in which they can really interact with and digest the material.
For example, at Centerville Elementary School in Minnesota, the technology prompted students to utilize their down time more productively, gathering around the board to review the material that had been taught earlier. "Using their fingers they dragged numbers on the screen into blank spots on a triangle as part of a math problem. When it's time for the class to leave for their next activity, one student pleads to the teacher, 'Can we check if it's right before we go'" (par. 11).
As part of a literature lesson at the same school, teacher Tony Valenti used the device to bring to life the book