[ubuntu-us-ma] Interactive Whiteboard

Danny Piccirillo danny.piccirillo at gmail.com
Tue Feb 24 03:01:30 GMT 2009


What a nightmare...

My school keeps investing money into testing out these things. They want to
make a decision on which to buy a big order of. Basically, interactive
whiteboards let teachers draw on the screen from the front of the room and
save their lessons, etc. My school is faced with sales pitch after sales
pitch and all the teachers are excited so it seems. We'd need to buy their
proprietary hardware and software, train teachers, etc. I'm trying really
hard to make the case that this is a really really bad idea. The technology
is pretty new (well, maybe it's been around, but these solutions are not
mature), so it will all be outdated soon.

Teachers get excited about every new piece of technology with any new and
uselesss features. They want to use it for the sake of using it, regardless
of whether they can use it effectively. Students are not any more engaged,
if not less, when the only new aspect of their lesson is being able to click
on a train and hearing it go CHOOCHOO (powerpoint-- i mean,
openoffice.orgcan already do that...). Whether or not teachers use
interactive
whiteboards, tablets, or *the tools already available*, they need to be able
to do so effectively. Throwing money into a new piece of technology won't
fix that at all...

I'm trying to propose a better long term solution and find free software
alternatives to this. My suggestion was using a tablet PC and software that
allows you to draw on the screen. Simple screenshots (or screencasts) can be
used to save lessons, if nothing more advanced is already available. This is
also a great place to fit Ubuntu in the classroom since they'll be investing
in new computers for this anyways.

SO, i need help coming up with the best alternative to this interactive
whiteboard crap. Please let me know if you have any ideas!

P.S. Handwriting recognition seems to be something that is included in some
applications for tablets...shouldn't there be some sort of framework or
something for this so that any application can use it? Does this already
exist or is there a good place to suggest this?

Thanks so much!
.danny
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