I am on vacation this week and I took my son to play at the elementary school playground in my hometown while we were visiting our parents. While at the elementary school, I decided to take a closer look at the new elementary school building and in some of the windows. It sounds a bit creepy but I was interested and school was out for the summer so I thought I’d be in the clear. 🙂 I really just wanted to look in a couple classrooms to see what they looked like and I have to say, they are very nice and the community should be proud of the facility. One thing I noticed right away was that every room had a very nice interactive whiteboard. These are the fancy kind that can adjust height, have a built-in projector, and mounted speakers. I was very impressed by the dedication of the district to provide this type of technology in all of their classrooms. However, what bothered me was that as I walked down the side of the building looking into a few of the different classrooms, I noticed there were some old school overhead projectors in many of the classrooms, which has again confirmed the following statement: Putting an IWB in a classroom does NOT equal technology integration.
If the district has committed resources to installing expensive IWBs, why are they still letting their teachers use overhead projectors? While I can’t speak to how the teachers use the IWBs, I find it ridiculous that there are still teachers using overheads when they have access to hardware and software that could allow them to create engaging lessons for their students. Instead, the powers that be at the district still allow their teachers to keep using the same old technology to teach the same old lessons they have likely been doing since before I was in elementary school. If you want technology integration in your school and you want to show your commitment to technology integration by putting an IWB in all your classrooms, a good first step might be removing the old technology and training your faculty on how to not only operate the IWB, but also how to create engaging lessons for their students. This will at least give the district a chance at seeing a return on your investment. Otherwise, why spend the money? (An even better approach to technology integration would be to look at your current district, school, and personal goals and see how technology can be used to help attain those goals. Then you might actually see some results both with your respective goals, but also with integrating technology into the learning process.)