Throughout the world, more and more classrooms are leaving old-fashioned blackboard traditions behind and picking up the new and exciting technology of interactive whiteboards (IWBs). Even at a glance, it is obvious that the use of IWBs in the classroom opens up a whole new world of possibilities. That’s why it is so surprising that there are still any classrooms that choose to use blackboards over IWBs. In this article, we will compare and contrast IWBs and traditional blackboards in hopes of winning over blackboard traditionalists.
1. Images Bring Lessons To Life
Blackboards are very limited in terms of sharing images. Colored chalk and a good artist are necessary for any kind of visual enhancement. With IWBs, all students and teachers can enjoy creating and sharing graphics, videos and images from many sources in every lesson. Naturally, this makes lessons more enjoyable and memorable for all concerned.
While some people are predominantly visual learners, the fact is that most of us use about 75% of our brainpower for visual processing. Simultaneously, our recall ability for information presented in text form is 20% or less. It’s easy to see that using a presentation format that relies heavily on visual media is bound to make any lesson more successful.
In traditional classroom settings using blackboards, images are presented in static form (e.g. posters, handouts and books). With IWBs, visual information can shift, grow and change to meet the needs of the students in the moment. Questions can be addressed spontaneously. This makes every lesson more vivid.
2. IWBs Encourage Interaction & Collaboration
Interaction is also far greater with IWBs than with blackboards. With the proper setup, every student can interact with the teacher and with each other throughout every lesson. Working creatively together creates an excellent sense of collaboration, engagement, competition and community in the classroom.
Top notch IWBs let students manipulate and annotate content for constant involvement. With traditional blackboard use, on the other hand, students are usually only allowed to participate one at a time. When one student finishes his or her contribution, it is erased and a new contribution from another student is added. This does not allow students to build on each other’s ideas or to brainstorm for solutions to complex problems.
3. IWB Use Engages The Whole Brain
In the final analysis, the difference between IWBs and blackboards could be said to be like the difference between full brain function and short-term memory. Traditional blackboards excel in teaching students to remember factual information in the short term. IWBs support students in learning information, considering it creatively and incorporating it into their own banks of knowledge.