Thinking about one thing and another, reflecting further on things, and discussing my interactive whiteboard experiences with colleagues, I decided to input the following Google search: “interactive whiteboard cheapest”.
I was led to the following blessed gem: http://digitaldollar.edublogs.org/2010/02/01/the-55-interactive-whiteboard/
The above is a) 3 years old and b) a tutorial for, through your own ingenuity, building your own interactive board which is ridiculously cheaper than the cheapest commercial unit. There’s even comments on this post which show you how to get hold of cheap infrared pens without having to challenge your soldering skills.
I have 2 reactions to this resource: 1) that’s super cool and 2) I’m still not sure exactly how much this adds to students’ learning. You’ll still find yourself at the front of the class; you’ll still be in the same spatial arrangement with your students that teachers might have been in 1920, even if you’re using infrared light instead of chalk. Your students still won’t have any readier access to computing, searching, and digital creation. You’ll still just be presenting; as a teacher, it’ll be up to you whether that’s synonymous with teaching.
Add to this the fact that 2 colleagues of mine gave a presentation today on the Airsketch app for iPad ( https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/air-sketch/id376617790 ), and it’s easy to see that there are so many more sophisticated sollutions to these teaching problems than simply dumping district money into FutureChalkboard!(trademarked) purchases. If I can use a $300 iPad to conduct a digital presentation from anywhere in the classroom, where’s the percentage in spending more money for less utility?