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IWB debate

Nicky Hockly 21 January

Dear list members,

The Great ICT Debate webinar on Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs) took place
yesterday with an excellent turnout of over 60 people present. A recording of
the debate will shortly be available in the Members' Area of the LT SIG website
– an excellent reason to join the SIG if you are not already a member :-)

In the debate, Pete Sharma argued the case for IWBs, and Gavin Dudeney argued
against. We then had many excellent contributions from the audience, reflecting
your own experiences and opinions of IWBs. At the end, we took a vote on whether
the majority of the audience was for or against IWBs... The vote was very evenly
split – with just over 50% for IWBs, and just under 50% against.

Given how close the vote was, we thought it would be interesting to continue the
debate here. Many participants expressed cogent and persuasive arguments (both
for and against), so please feel free to restate them here in our discussion

Even if you weren't able to attend the debate, what do YOU think of IWBs? Do you
think they are a fantastic teaching tool, or on the contrary, are they a
non-interactive white elephant (as the original debate title states)?

We could even set up another vote in a week or two, to see which side wins the
debate this time!

Thanks, and we look forward to continuing the IWB discussion here.

Nicky Hockly
IATEFL LT SIG Online Events Coordinator

#3149 From: "pete53338" pete.sharma@...

Date: Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:31 am
Subject: Re: The Great ICT Debate on Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs)
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It was a great debate. Just to summarise the position of the 'Yes' camp:

The IWB is a 'tool' like any other. In itself, it cannot be blamed for (say)
teacher-centred approaches.

Teachers do need time to go through the basics (not that much actually),  and
it's what happens later that is exciting ('Flying')

Lots of the skills you build up are skills using digital materials (text, audio
etc) and can equally be applied to, say, using tablets
IWBs are a fact of life for many, just as VLEs are for others, tablets are for
others. Why take away that technology?

Training is a huge issue - but doesn't that apply to all technologies, surely,
and not just the IWB

You can give good and bad lessons with an IWB; you can give good and bad lessons
with a tablet

Using the IWB is not just 'moving bits of text around and hoping learning takes
place'. Surely there's teaching skill (aka pedagogy) in knowing what cognitive
challenges you are setting? That's teaching skill. If the board helps - great -
why not?

Not convinced that research can help as (a) there are so many different
situations and (b) there are so many factors to take into account

I could go on (and on and on.....) but over to you guys! I'm sure Gavin is
posting a similar summary of the many arguments against using IWBs as part of a
kick-off for the continuance of the debate

BTW - I love the idea of each student with a tablet, and would love to learn
more how that works. I mean, wouldn't one student sometimes want to demo stuff
to the class - on a big display board? (aka an IWB). So why not have both? It's
a shame we often polarise into either-or whereas 'convergence' of technologies
(as we've seen in the phone) and co-existence of technologies (old and new) is
maybe more representative of what's happening.

Look forward to reading posts here over the coming days

Pete (Sharma)

#3150 Gavin Dudeney gavin.dudeney@...

Date: Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:57 pm
Subject: Re: Re: The Great ICT Debate on Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs)
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It was fun to debate. As I said at the beginning, there's no reason why
I should necessarily believe everything I said...

My main points were:

1) Expense
For the same amount of money as a decent IWB I can buy a class set of
Android tablets, a data projector and 3 years' 76MB fibre optic
broadband per class. Pete (below) asks what happens when students need
to share on a big board . Well, there are loads of apps that will allow
you to wirelessly share your tablet screen with a data projector, loads
of apps that allow the teacher to beam stuff to tablet screens and loads
of 'IWB? apps for tablets. Seriously, there's simply no point spending
all that money on something which is obsolete and ridiculously expensive
when all you get is PowerPoint with some smoke and mirrors.

2) Pedagogy
Of course you can't blame the IWB (as Pete correctly states), but the
IWB simply does encourage a heads up, lockstep, teacher-centred approach
to teaching. That's just the way it is. Most of the research out there
clearly shows that, and perhaps that's not what we want. Dragging stuff
around does not necessarily promote any learning. In fact, I'd go so far
as to suggest that old-style rubbing out and re-writing a word on a
board is likely to lead to deeper learning (at least some processing is
involved there). And of course they encourage learners to sit back and
coast and simply take a photo of the screen occasionally.

3) Interaction
Minimal - a British Council report a while back found about 3%
interaction between learners and materials. Looking through publications
with teaching ideas (sorry Pete!) I also found minimal interaction,
perhaps only around 30% of the activities had learners doing anything
more complex than moving things around. So that appears to be what an
IWB is for - people can move things around. Excuse me whilst I don't get

4) Materials
Dreadful - lots of workbooks on interactive DVD. Yes, you can enlarge
the text, play the video.... But it's not exciting and it's not
motivating - and, more importantly, it's not transformational. There is
nothing interesting in an IWB, or in its use. There's a lot of talk of
vocabulary games, but somehow it all fails to move me when I compare it
with the creative work on tablets that I've seen in a few schools
recently. Perhaps the IWB has simply had its day - I'd just spend $20 on
a standard whiteboard...

5) Motivation
Most studies conclude that any motivational upswing provided by IWBs is
short-lived. And that's hardly surprising, really...

6) Results
No significant difference sums it up. And if they're not making any
significant difference to learning or results, then there's no need to
spend thousands on them.

I rest my case...


longer accessible]

Moss, et al. 2007: The interactive whiteboards, pedagogy, pupil and
performance evaluation:

Nightingale, J. 2006. Whiteboards under the microscope.

Salinitri et al. 2002. The aural enabler: creating a way of special
needs kids to participate in the classroom lesson.

Smith, H. 2001 SmartBoard evaluation: Final report.

#3151 Carla arena carlaarena@...

Date: Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:37 pm
Subject: Re: Re: The Great ICT Debate on Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs)
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Dear Pete and all,

I was not able to attend the webinar, but I must say I'd fall more to
Gavin's side.

In the school I work for instead of purchasing one IWB per room, we had a
pilot stage of having one room with that teachers could sign up in a
schedule and take their students there. We had massive teacher training,
plus activities prepared specifically tailored for it, etc. We've decided
not to purchase other IWB and I must say I was one in the team that had a
final word on the issue. Why is that?

First, I feel that the "interactive" part of the white board is the one
holding the pen and the screen. I don't think it is a very efficient way to
engage the whole group.
Teachers need to be technically and pedagogically skilled to deal with the
board, the students and the other part of the group who is sitting there
"paying attention" or doing another activity. I know people will say that
this is part of developing digital literacy, but it takes time...So then,
what happened was that a computer and a projector were installed in each
room, and we've realized that even without the IWB, many of the things
could be done with wireless mouses and some features in PPTs such as
triggers, animations, etc. Well, I know that one thing that my students
loved about the IWB was the touch, the movement, and that is undeniably
helpful in the classroom. It spices it up.

So, where are we now and why not considering the most modern versions of
IWBs? We now have tablet sets in our schools and then I think it is another
story. Every student interacts with the screen and creates using their
tablets. There's ownership, not just the bells and whistles of a new tech
tool. Plus with the tablet in the classroom, it can become very easily an
interactive whiteboard! How? I've been training teachers on how to use free
apps like EDUCREATIONS or SCREENCHOMP to make a simple computer with a
projector an interactive whiteboard!

So, I'd say that all in all, IWBs are already outdated if you consider
these new technologies who let students work in projects, manipulate
content, produce language and reproduce it in their screens.

Well, just my two cents from what we've gone through in our context and
with these new technologies coming along.

Thanks, Nicky, Pete and Gaving for starting these very interesting debates
for our educational community. :-)

Cheers from Brazil,
Carla Arena

#3152 Kurt Kohn kurt.kohn@...

Date: Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:15 pm
Subject: Re: The Great ICT Debate on Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs)
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Pete's BTW ("So why not have both? It's a shame we often polarise into
either-or whereas 'convergence' of technologies (as we've seen in the
phone) and co-existence of technologies (old and new) is maybe more
representative of what's happening") hits the nail on the head. This
"either-or" thinking has been with us since the early days of CALL. It's
just amazing how persistent it is. We should be more concerned with gauging
the pedagogical potential of each of the various technological tools (SWOT
analysis) and then think of ways in which tools can be combined (for a
certain pedagogical purpose) so that their respective strengths are
exploited and their weaknesses neutralized. Isn't this what "blended
learning" is all about?

Kurt (Kohn)

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

#3154 "My Space" bnleez@...

Date: Mon Jan 21, 2013 1:12 pm
Subject: Re: The Great ICT Debate on Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs)
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Is there a link to this ICT debate?


#3155 David Read dread1971@...

Date: Mon Jan 21, 2013 1:59 pm
Subject: Re: Re: The Great ICT Debate on Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs)
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Sounded like a great debate, shame I couldn't make it, but just to add my
own thoughts...

Overall, I'd probably side with Pete on this, the IWB is a piece of
equipment so it can't really be blamed for teacher-centred approaches, it's
odd to talk about pedagogy in relation to such a device, it's a bit like
talking about the pedagogy of the photocopier or the tape recorder or the
(traditional) whiteboard. Good teachers will use them well, bad teachers

I think critics of the IWB tend to bring up their limited functionality,
most of the 'interactive' stuff is just dragging things around on the
board.  I completely agree with this, there's very little on the software
side that couldn't be done with a traditional whiteboard or a handout but I
think that's the wrong perspective to take with IWBs, for me it's better to
look at it from the perspective of how it can help teachers with their day
to day lessons and planning:

One of the most compelling features of a IWB for me and teachers at my
school is the simple ability to open multiple whiteboards and to save them.
It's impossible to underestimate just how useful this feature is in the day
to day work of a teacher, they don't have to keep rubbing things out on the
board, moving them around, waiting for students to write things down so
they can erase them. And it means that they can be opened up the next day
for revision or used for reference to create quizzes/tests at the end of
term. It also means that you have the board ready if you ever teach that
class again or if you have to cover a class and need a quick lesson to
hand. It also means I can share lessons much more easily with other
teachers. Anything that can reduce our planning time and give us more time
to spend thinking about how to make our lessons more engaging is probably

Tablets are great tools but they are not appropriate for every teaching
situation. Whenever I see examples of the  use of tablets in class, it's
almost always with young kids or with students involved in creative
projects involving design/art. I imagine they are fantastic in those
contexts. I teach at a university-affiliated Language centre preparing
young adult students to write academic English on Masters and Phd
programmes and I'm not sure that tablets are so appropriate for them. They
need to write a lot and tablets are really not the most convenient tool for
doing that, I love my ipad and my Android tablet but I get frustrated
writing anything more than a short paragraph on them. I think we have to
accept that different classes/age groups/subjects require different tools.

I'm actually a huge proponent of mobile devices in the classroom - I've had
a blog on that very subject for a few years now - but I also think that
different technologies are appropriate in different teaching situations,
what might be appropriate for a group of six year-old ESL students might
not be appropriate for a group of adult academics. There's space for both
technologies to exist to serve those different learners....

Would be interested to hear what others think about this...

David Read

#3156 Graham Stanley blogefl@...

Date: Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:14 pm
Subject: Re: Re: The Great ICT Debate on Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs)
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Hi everyone,

I'm just catching up with this because of a 24 hour power-cut. I thought
I'd start by responding to Gavin's 6 points.

1) Expense

This is one of the key issues for most people when they consider installing
IWBs. From what I can tell, there are few educators who will argue that a
normal whiteboard (or chalk-board) is better than having a 'connected
classroom' (i.e. at least one computer connected to the Internet) with a
display device on the wall. Until large touchscreens become affordable, the
question, for me, then, is whether the IWB part of the
computer/projector/display set-up is worth the investment.

I'm on the side of buying the IWB. My reasons? Years of working in a
teaching centre where there's an IWB in each classroom; years of teaching
with an IWB and without one (I much prefer having one for a variety of
reasons); years of working with teachers who teach with IWBs (ask any of
them if they want to teach with or without one and the vast majority will
tell you you they want them - in fact, one of the oft-heard complaints is
from teachers who work in offsite schools and don't have access to one).
One of the main reasons, for me is: just having the computer and projector
leads to the readily cited 'Powerpoint / transmission model' that has so
often been carted out to criticise the IWB. In most cases, teachers who
teach like this do so when they get used to just having a projector and
computer rather than having got used to teaching with an IWB. What Gavin
calls the 'smoke and mirrors' actually makes the difference.

As for spending the money instead on tablets, Gavin says:-

"For the same amount of money as a decent IWB I can buy a class set of Android
tablets, a data projector and 3 years' 76MB fibre optic
broadband per class."

A Promethean IWB will cost you around 900 Euros in Spain, including
software and pens. I think I could buy 2 iPAds for that price or, going for
a cheaper option, 3 x Samsung Galaxy tabs, or 6 x Energy tablets. If I
bought the latter, that would be 1 tablet per 3 students in a class of 18,
but I wouldn't have any money left over for wi-fi. Would you be able to
give us a better breakdown of how you'd spend the money, Gavin?

Even if I bought the tablets, given the changes in tablet technology, my
guess is that their practical life-span is much less than the IWB. We have
working IWBs in our classrooms that we bought in 2005. I doubt that any
tablet bought today will be of any value in 2020. Not that I think the IWB
won't have been replaced by large touch-screen technology by 2020, mind
you, but just saying - it's something that needs to be factored in. That,
and tablet breakage, which, given the nature of the devices, is going to

2) Pedagogy

As I said above, the 'heads up, lockstep, teacher-centred approach to
teaching' is usually caused by using Powerpoint. There's no reason to fall
into this if you are using an IWB, especially if teachers are made aware of
the capabilities of the software and use of the board. This is one of the
reasons behind the iTILT project ( and what we hope to show
teachers with the materials and example videos of real teachers teaching
with the IWB, etc. I also disagree with the statement that 'most of the
research shows this." Another reason behind the iTILT project is to bring
research articles on the IWB and language teaching and learning to the
attention of people. There are more up-to-date research articles than the
ones you cite, in the handbook 'Interactive whiteboards for education:
theory, research and practice' (2010, Ed. Thomas, M & Cutrim Schmid, E,
Information Science Reference) that you'll find interesting. You can also
find other research articles supporting the use of IWBs if you search the
iTILT library:

As for the drag-and-drop facility of the IWB, there's a good reason why
it's one of the most popular uses of IWB software, and if learners are
invited to do the drag-and-dropping then this is the opposite of
encouraging them to 'sit back and coast'. That's precisely what the teacher
with only the data-projector/Powerpoint set up is encouraged to do by the
set-up of their connected classroom.

3) Interaction

"Minimal - a British Council report a while back found about 3% interaction
between learners and materials"

This research comes from the time when the British Council first introduced
IWBs into their teaching centres. After this research, the IWB training was
thoroughly overhauled. As for 'minimal interaction' in published materials,
I think this is because most published materials are simply digitised
versions of course books, without much else built in.

As for 'interaction', this is a much misunderstood word when it comes to
the IWB. Interacting with the materials can mean up at the board 'moving
things around' (btw this is much more than what you see in a
data-projector/Powerpoint connected classroom) or interacting with the
materials on a more intellectual (and less physical) basis. Could you tell
us what sort of 'interaction' you would like to see in a classroom and then
I can help you see if the IWB can be used to promote this. Then, perhaps
you can start to be more excited :-)

4) Materials

Of course, I assume you're talking here about publisher materials when you
mention they are 'dreadful' and 'not motivating', and I also assume that
you're not talking about publisher materials when you mention the 'creative
work' you've seen in a few schools. Is that right? As you can use the IWB
to access anything on the Internet, I don't think this is a valid argument,
unless of course you think the Internet is just full of dull, demotivating
material. I'd love to hear the materials did you see being used that led to
a shine in your eyes. Playing the devil's advocate, my guess is that most
of what you saw could just as easily have been created by students in a
computer lab (i.e. does this tablet emperor have no clothes?)

5) Motivation
"Most studies conclude that any motivational upswing provided by IWBs
is short-lived.
And that's hardly surprising, really..."
The same could be said with any new technology. But just try going back to
a chalk-board (or normal whiteboard) and see how demotivated those students

6) Results
"No significant difference sums it up. And if they're not making any
difference to learning or results, then there's no need to spend thousands
on them"
I doubt very much whether a class set of tablets will make a difference to
results either. Looks like this line of thinking points to teaching
unplugged, but that's another mailing list :-)



Graham Stanley
Joint IATEFL LT SIG Coordinator

#3157 Claire Wood clairewood@...

Date: Mon Jan 21, 2013 4:21 pm
Subject: Re: Re: The Great ICT Debate on Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs)
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We dont have IWBs. We have internet connection, ceiling projectors, wireless
keyboards and mice. What can you do with an IWB that you cant do with these
(except use some expensive course books)? Can anyone convince me that an IWB
would be better, because it would certainly be more expensive.

#3159 Tom Walton tomdoliveira@...

Date: Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:26 am
Subject: Re: Re: The Great ICT Debate on Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs)
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Hi everyone:

Interesting debate! I'm not 100% convinced by IWBs, though I use one just about
every class.

Not sure that I'd actually spend the cash on them (and I definitely wouldn't
start to buy them until there was at least a pc and projector in every classroom
in my school). Given the choice, I'd say video cameras, tablets etc, are
probably a better investment.

Think David there has one of the BIG advantages of the IWB: being able to save
stuff and return to it (brilliant for vocab. revision, for example).

Apart from that, I'd say that, if you do have them, you need to see them as (1)
something the students use, not the teacherv -- I NEVER touch the pen or board
surface myself; and (2) see it as something from which the learners can export
stuff eg. to a blog, wiki, etc.

Here's a rough example:

Some other examples:


#3161 "mackichan2006" pete2008@...

Date: Tue Jan 22, 2013 1:21 pm
Subject: Re: The Great ICT Debate on Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs)
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Hi All,

Thanks for a great debate Nicky, Gavin and Pete.

It seems to me a strange topic really; by and large, teachers have probably have
relatively little influence on decisions to purchase (or not) this or that
technology. Being old, I can remember a time when many schools decided that
video was the way forward (and to prove it I [think I] can remember a time when
'Video English' was distributed on U-Matic). Anyway, lots of schools splashed
out on video players and video materials like "A Weekend in the Sea", a genre
that is even worse than the latin american soaps of the 80s. Unsuprisingly,
video didn't really lead us to the promised land, although it did give teachers
the chance to play their favourite TV shows and dress it up as 'teaching'. I can
even remember using 'The Clangers' in an adult FCE class (for sound pedagogic
reasons). Anyway, the VCRs gathered dust and became, for their time, expensive
door stops.

I'm sure, in time, that IWBs, or rather DWBs (Digital Whiteboards) will go the
same way. They are essentially a presentation system that has been adapted for
education, and make a pretty poor fit in the classroom, since (I hope) we spend
little time presenting stuff. But, as Paul Sweeney commented during the debate,
one key reason that they are fairly widely used is marketing. In a blink of an
eye, a school owner can drag their language school from the nineteenth century
into a retro-futuristic version of where we should be. School owners love them
and publishers love them too, because it gives them a chance to create yet
another, even more expensive, version of their materials that school owners will
have to buy because they need something to slap on their DWBs. They love them so
much that some even give them away.

However, how we got here isn't really the point; the question is whether DWBs
are evil. I would argue that they are pretty much like coursebooks. In the hands
of an underpaid, undertrained and underengaged teacher they can help contribute
to the illusion that learning is going on; in better circumstances, the teacher
can explore if, how and when to make best use of them. The key problem of both
DWBs and coursebooks is that the affordances do not sit well with pedagogy - it
is simply much, much easier to use them badly than well. In a different field of
work, both would have been recycled, redesigned or reinvented.

It is interesting that, as Gavin pointed out, the tools like wireless slates and
voting pods are generally seen as (unneccessary) optional add ons. The DWB
companies probably decided that they could make more money this way, but this
short-sighted decision probably sealed their fate. Imagine how different things
might have been if every DWB had come with the complete set of tools that are
needed to put the DWB in the hands of the learners.

Would anyone on this list spend their own money on a DWB? I doubt it, and I
certainly wouldn't (though if my classroom has one, I'll use it). As I work
mainly with students where writing is important, I would probably avoid tablets.
I think a class set of linux laptops with a data projector and a good internet
connection would be the way to go. Apart from the operating system, that's what
I was using at a UK university twelve years ago; plus ça change....


Pete MacKichan

By the way, I think the FutureLab IWB report is available at:

#3162 Tom Walton tomdoliveira@...

Date: Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:07 pm
Subject: Re: Re: The Great ICT Debate on Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs)
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Hi everyone:

Because I'm old too, Pete, I think I'd rather have lightweight laptops than
tablets, which are terrible for writing stuff on (I mean proper creative writing
with classes), and far rather have either of those than an IWB, even though I
use one regularly.

But I think it's a mistake to see IWBs as being "essentially a presentation
system". We - or rather our learners - can do far more with them than just watch
us present. If you see an IWB as (also) being a tool on which learners can
create stuff, then I think you get on to richer soil.

As for video, maybe it wasn't really such a bad thing! Can any of us imagine not
being able to use its modern day, far easy to use equivalent: YouTube ;-) ?


#3163 Gavin Dudeney gavin.dudeney@...

Date: Wed Jan 23, 2013 7:57 am
Subject: Re: Re: The Great ICT Debate on Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs)
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On 23 Jan 2013, at 00:37, Tom Walton tomdoliveira@...> wrote:

> Because I'm old too, Pete, I think I'd rather have lightweight laptops than
tablets, which are terrible for writing stuff on (I mean proper creative writing
with classes)
We're showing our age... Many people find phones and tablets perfectly suited to
'creative writing'...


#316 Tom Walton tomdoliveira@...

Date: Wed Jan 23, 2013 1:10 pm
Subject: Re: Re: The Great ICT Debate on Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs)
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Hi everyone:

People find phones (?!) and tablets OK for creative writing, Gavin???? :-)! Yes,
it must be my age (and the fact that until last year I'd spent 10 years without
a mobile phone...)

Someone earlier said something (I think) about teachers not being asked about
what equipment they'd want. I think that's vital... but it's also vital to ask
the learners what they think is necessary and what's not. Some of the most
insightful ideas I've got on technology have always come from going out of my
way to ask learners for their opinions on how it should be used.

With a clean slate and not so limited budget they'd be the first people I'd ask.
And quite possibly they'd say tablets rather than laptops, which I'd be happy to
go with. It would be interesting to know what learners had to say about IWBs...

(It's several years old, and very small samples, but this is what I got:

On another tack, it would be really interesting for a teacher using an IWB with
a class on a regular basis say over the course of a year (not my case), to put
together an annotated collection of "what we did with the IWB". Does anyone know
of such a thing? I suspect if "good", varied use had been made of the IWB, 45-60
slides would be illustrative.

There ARE interesting things that can be done with an IWB... though are they
worth the financial investment?


#3165 Marc Loewenthal marcoloe@...

Date: Wed Jan 23, 2013 1:36 pm
Subject: Re: Re: The Great ICT Debate on Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs)

I think the main issue here is whether IWBs are part of a strategic plan in an
institution or whether they're seen as just something to get in because tech is
moving forward and everyone has them now. When I first started to use them in
earnest about six years ago, they were in all the classrooms in the college
where I was teaching but we had one introductory session with a presenter before
the summer holiday and that was it. We were then left to our own devices. i was
one of the few teachers who asked "what if...?" after a lesson and experimented
with it to see what else I could do. I built up a battery of resources and
ideas which I tried to pass on to colleagues who were not as interested as I
On the basis of this experience, I got the post of e-learning coordinator at an
adult education service in London. My main duties were to develop the use of
Moodle and IWBs, and I set about creating resources for teachers to use and
putting them up on Moodle. Although I don't do this job any more, one of the
legacies is that all the ESOL SfL pdf materials are on Moodle, accessible from
any centre, and I have built up a bank of IWB support resources for each unit
which I can access at any time. Among other things, I use the IWB to copy pages
from the resources and annotate and amend them. For example, after students have
worked on an activity together, which I have monitored and helped on, I can then
focus on feedback on the board, annotating and developing the same resource they
have in front of them and saving the results for future use. As with any tool,
it is only as useful to you as you deem it to be. Once you start exploring it in
earnest, the
 possibilities are endless. However, I do agree that the costs are often
prohibitive, and IWBs can be a waste of money if they are not exploited to the
full. Good planning and a dedicated e-learning practitioner are crucial.

Wed Feb 6, 2013 10:28 pm (PST) . Posted by: "Marc Loewenthal" marcoloe

Hi All

Just a quick update to this discussion. I visited the Promethean stand at the BETT Show last week and asked about developments. I noticed that they have a new mini-tablet in beta, so I tried one. It runs on Android, likely to be the latest version, and will have all the relevant Promethean software on it as well. It can be used just like any other Android tablet. It is likely to cost between £100 and £125, with a discount for bulk buys. I found that it's very responsive and fast, and is just like a mini version of my Nexus 7, so it can be used both in class and at home for students to do their research and homework outside class. It can be used as an alternative to the voting systems and will aid collaboration and individual learning in class as well, with their work uploadeed onto the board via a dongle in the main computer.

I spoke to one of the technicians there, who was an Apple devotee, and he praised it highy. He said that while he could never do without his iPad, he didn't think iPads were suitable for schools, not just because of the price, but also because of the issues with updating software and apps, which is a nightmare for school technicians faced with updating hundreds of units, but only ten at a time. With Android tablets, all the tablets can be updated in one go. I've signed up with Promethean for updates to this development and I'm really keen to see how it develops. I can see my college buying a class set of ten or so to pilot.

Marc Loewenthal

Thu Feb 7, 2013 12:29 am (PST) . Posted by: "Gavin Dudeney" gavindudeney


I'm not surprised that IWB manufacturers are seeing the writing on the
wall and trying to muscle in on the tablet revolution. However, given
that in the UK (where you're writing from, presumably) I can buy a
perfectly usable tablet on Amazon for as low as GBP53
I still can't see why I'd want to spend GBP125 on the Promethean one, or
indeed another 1,500 or so on a usable IWB. It makes no sense to me.

I'm also less than surprised that a company trying to hawk Android
tablets to supplement their expensive main product should try to find
problems with iPads in class. That advice does fly in the face of the
number of iOS devices currently in business and education. A class set
of iPads is no more complicated or time-consuming to update than a class
of Android tablets.