Our generation of whiteboards at school… The interactive type no less… Are slowly coming to the end of their useful life. The projectors are becoming more and more problematic, bulbs replacing with increased frequency and the hardware looking increasingly like it’s not going to last the year.

Fact is some problems: constant calibration, bulb changes, lost remote controls can all be sorted out, but, they are becoming more and more time consuming and less out of our expertise. Replacements are needed.

Where to start?

Some key questions need to be answered :

  • Do they really need to be interactive?
  • Do we want to continue using a laptop alongside a projector?
  • What size screen do we need?
  • And – controversially – do we even need a screen?

 

Observing

I’ve been thinking very carefully about this over the last few weeks, and spoken to many of those who will be directly affected. Fact is our whiteboards, particularly lower down the school are used interactively. Children manipulate images, draw, create and play games. Higher up the school, not so much, but they are still used with an element of demonstration from the teacher.

We also have visualisers attached, and these need still to work as they are popular with staff.

It’s also worth considering that we a GAfE school – and google infrastructure is used very well by most of the key stage 2 pupils!

I’ve got an idea of where we need to go next – but I would be incredibly interested to find out what works for others in schools… Thanks!

8 Responses »

  1. I think your hint that interactive screens are not always required is spot on. I’ve also noticed them being used as expensive projection screens more and more the older the children get.

    Unfortunately we now have a generation of teachers (myself included) who would expect a classroom to have an interactive whiteboard on the wall, regardless of whether they used it to its full potential. The challenge to move to other options will always be to take staff with us on the journey.

    The conversation has to start with how we want the best learning to happen, and then work back to how technology should best support it, and finally what the technology should be. That way, perhaps we stand more chance of focusing on the right things and therefore take staff along with us?

    Pete

    • RS says:

      Yes, I’m leaning towards having different types of boards in different rooms. However the number of things that can go wrong with ‘traditional’IWB/projector set up… What would you have in an ideal set up?

    • jeeb says:

      With our interactive boards beyond their support life (and restricting Win10 upgrades due to lack of device support) we’re also left with a dilemma. Touchscreens are great in concept but when you have dozens dotted around the school, we have to consider whether throwing £2000+ into a replacement touchscreen TV for each of them is money well spent. Perhaps I need to remove all the USB cables and measure how long each teacher takes to complain the interactivity piece isn’t working when many are simply using them as expensive projection screens? 😉 It’s great to see them in use in Foundation and infant years but the usage does seem to drop off as the children get older…

      I’d love to get away from the ethos of ‘It’s broken can I have a new one’ and just blindly replacing like with like without justification. Challenging the interactive whiteboard mindset is a tricky one. As you say, teachers are used to them now, and they are also used much more now in teacher training, so again there is the expectation that’s just an integral part of any classroom.

      Second the comments on the Hue HD cameras by Mark (basically a USB webcam on a bendy stick, but does everything that our teachers use visualisers for but at a fraction of the cost -£30), so they’re pretty affordable to get one for each classroom if necessary.

      • RS says:

        Thanks for the comment! I’m still looking – I think the interactivity will be missed – it’s just waiting to see if the touchscreens could provide anything else. As we are a google apps environment I think that there is something to be said for the android powered screens that can link seamlessly with what the teachers are doing in google classroom… However it’s not a light decision, as you say they are expensive!

  2. I’ve replied via Twitter too … I’d replace with Touchscreen TVs if touchscreens are even needed. You can then consider whether to replace laptops with things like Compute Sticks from Intel (£100) or even things like Chromecast or Apple TV. Visualisers are a massive waste of money and cumbersome – try HueHD cameras for £30.

  3. Gavin Morris says:

    Hi,

    Interestingly we use the Hue HD as visualisers and we have no complaints, you can also use them for stop frame animation. Great hardware!

    In terms of whiteboards my class room us the guinea pig room and we’re trying out a large LED screen as the old interactive whiteboard is gone! Only had it up and running for a week but I love it. The children can still interact by using a touch screen device connected to it but they don’t block the screen with their bodies so everyone can still see! Which was used to irritate me! Also when our new ipads arrive we will cast them directly to it using airserver. Then the iPad can be passed around if using one on the carpet, full interactivity, no blocking the screen, using new technology and at a fraction of the price! Oh, did I mention no more bulb replacements!!

    Gavin

    • RS says:

      Thanks for this! It is always interesting to read what works for others! I am definitely going to look into the Hue as well.

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