Facts, figures, and popular brand names — that’s what the Wikipedia page for interactive white boards has to share. It talks about touch response, and pen usage. It briefly mentions their utility as a teaching tool, and their common usage in classrooms. In all, it gives a great deal of information without saying anything pertinent or interesting.
What should Wikipedia say about interactive white boards instead? First, it should say that an interactive whiteboard is one of the most effective tools for increasing student engagement. In practical terms, interactive white board instruction will keep students on-task and more involved in learning activities. When student engagement is higher, minor misbehavior rates drop, resulting in less time spent managing behavior and more time spent on instruction. As always, the more time a teacher can spend on instruction, the better the learning outcomes are for each student in the class. Higher student engagement leads to better learning outcomes overall.
Second, interactive white boards are huge time saving devices for teachers. Web sites and subscription services like Gynzy.com offer lessons already designed and ready for use. Teachers can save time by downloading lessons for use in their classrooms. Not only are the lessons easier to find, they are much easier to store and use again repeatedly, making the lesson planning burden lighter for years to come. Teachers who still want to make their own materials will be pleased by the surfeit of tools available for making their own slideshows, games and activities for the interactive whiteboard.
Third, interactive white boards make it easier to incorporate multimedia into lessons quickly and easily. Songs, videos, pictures, document scans, and interactive web games and activities can all be hyperlink-ed into the presentation directly. Not only do teachers save time spent fumbling for materials, but all the multimedia can be saved with the presentation onto the teacher’s computer, to be re-used as needed.
Having so many multimedia elements is part of what keeps student engagement high in a classroom setting. By making it easy to incorporate these elements into a lesson, making lessons easier to access, and saving time, interactive white boards are revolutionizing the classroom. That’s what Wikipedia should be writing about.