Train up to use whiteboards

17th December 2004 at 00:00
I read the article, "A whiteboard smokescreen" (TES Cymru, December 3) with interest. The key point was that alternative technologies (to interactive whiteboards) could be more effective, not would be more effective, even though the article seems to lean towards the latter.

However, as a professional who has used the technology since its inception, I would argue that effective use of whiteboards requires good preparation and effective pedagogy - in common with all good teaching, whatever the delivery medium.

The fact that the whiteboards were put into schools without adequately preparing staff for their use is surely the main reason for problems in adopting the technology in a number of schools.

Furthermore, while I agree with the concept of choosing the technology you want, professionals can only make that choice if they are informed enough of the capabilities and applications of new technologies to make a reasoned comparison.

Some of the costs trotted out in the article are ludicrous (pound;8,000 for a whiteboard set-up), and to make the point that teachers had nothing to write on when the technology failed seems to miss the point that most makes of interactive whiteboard can be written on without harming the surface. We have seven such boards in our school and have no problems using pens.

Laptops and tablets are well and good (we use both) but the former are notoriously unreliable and lack durability, while the latter are disliked by pupils and staff because of the difficulties inputting on the screen.

I fail to understand why the article draws a comparison between interactive whiteboards and such devices, as they are radically different in their use and application in classrooms.

Chris Britten Headteacher Penybont primary school Bridgend more letters 16

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