The Interactive Whiteboard

Henri Picciotto

Teaching is a complex endeavor, even though shallow advocates of this or that silver bullet are always trying to reduce it to the single idea they are selling. Traditionalists believe that students learn by obediently listening to their teacher. (Neo-traditionalists believe that the best results are achieved by watching videos on the Web.) At the other end of the spectrum we have a 100% rejection of teacher talk.

All these views are wrong. There is no one way, and in fact, nothing works. I'm a strong advocate of student collaboration and student-centered pedagogy. I believe students should have access to wide range of learning tools, both manipulative and technological. But that does not mean that the teacher should remain silent and wait for miracles to happen.

Quite the opposite: teachers cannot and should not abdicate their leading role in the classroom. The interactive whiteboard is one tool to make that part of the job more effective. I wrote a blog post on this topic some years ago, which has become the most visited page on my blog. I was asked by the then-editor of The Mathematics Teacher to expand and illustrate it for publication in the journal. The result was this opinion piece:

Why I Use the Interactive Whiteboard
(From The Mathematics Teacher, November 2010. Copyright NCTM, all rights reserved.)

Here is a short video where I zero in on one small part of the argument:

Video recorded and edited by Howard Levin

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Related pages on this site:
For a Tool-Rich Pedagogy
Math: Visual and Interactive!