Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Imagine the Possibilities: One District's Innovative Use of Interactive Whiteboards Demonstrates Technology's Ability to Fulfill Any Vision Educators Have for It

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Imagine the Possibilities: One District's Innovative Use of Interactive Whiteboards Demonstrates Technology's Ability to Fulfill Any Vision Educators Have for It

Article excerpt

"INTERACTIVE WHITEBOARDS are for kids in our district."

Ann McMullen, executive director of educational technology at Klein Independent School District in Texas, spoke these words at last month's School Technology Summit on K-12 Digital Content in Washington, DC, and they were revolutionary to many of us in the audience. Actually, the entire gathering, co-sponsored by the Association of American Publishers (AAP; www.publishers.org) and the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA; www.siia.com), was revolutionary, bringing together traditional textbook publishers and digital content "publishers" to discuss content and its distribution with school district and state technology directors.

But I was struck by McMullen's comments about interactive whiteboards. Some educators, particularly those who are advocates of constructivism and full technology integration, have been less than excited about interactive whiteboards because they think whiteboards reinforce the old model of the dictatorial teacher standing at the head of the class, controlling the information, dispensing pearls of wisdom. Rather, the constructivists believe, kids should be working in small groups, solving real-world problems. What McMullen and the folks at Klein ISD have done is turned the conventional use of interactive whiteboards on its head and used this relatively simple technology to change instruction so the focus of classroom activity is on the students.

About three years ago, Klein launched a systematic and systemic program that put students in small groups the majority of the time. The district started with grades 5 and 6 the first year and expanded up and down the grade levels by one grade each year. The key, as always, was professional development and support from the principal. …

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