Hardware in classrooms & Interactive Whiteboards

There are four eras of digital technology; Pre-microcomputer era; 1950s to the late 1970s. The Microcomputer era; 1977 to mid 1980s-1990s. The internet era; 1993 to 1998. Finally the mobile technologies 2005 to 2010, which is referred to as the “era of ubiquitous access” (Roblyer & Doering, 2014, p. 18-19). Throughout the eras, technological hardware has also development and been integrated into the classroom as educational tools. This blog post will look at interactive whiteboards (IWB) as a hardware device.

The IWB mimics the properties of a whiteboard and to some degree simulate the predecessor, the chalkboard, however take  electronic form and are connected to a computer or projector. Information can be projected onto the board and this information can be altered. Properties and functionality vary between models; for example some systems offer a touch screen surface with multiple users able to input simultaneously (Roblyer & Doering, 2014, p. 165).

Popular IWBs are the Prometheus’ Promethean ActivBoard or SMART Technology’s SMART Board. Each have accompanying software/programs and include a resource bank of images, graphic tools and text (Roblyer & Doering, 2014, p. 165).

There has been debate over functionality of IWBs, Lacina (2009) highlights the benefits as; meeting the needs of visual learners, more interactively teaching, engaging students and using multimodal forms of text (Lacina, 2009, p. 271) However, drawbacks include limited capabilities and high cost; the IWB is estimated as $800-$2500, an LCD projector $450-$1500, computer, software and technology support all to be factored (Lacina, 2009, p. 272).

One study found “teachers were enthusiastic, had seen improvements in student engagement” with IWB technology providing a flexible tool, offering a “considerable range of affordances that other technologies may not” (Winzenried, Dalgarno & Tinkler, 2010, p. 534). Winzenried, Dalgarno & Tinkler (2010, p.549) predicts longevity in IWB and continued use overtime, which conflicts with Lacina (2009, p. 272) who states “technology that will quickly grow outdated – and, if not implemented well, that teachers may not use effectively.”

Despite IWB being a highly debateable topic, I really cannot shed any light from personal experience (as I have no teaching experience to date). I’d love to hear from fellow students in regard to their use of IWBs in the classroom. Do you have any advice or recommendations? Please feel free to share your ideas here.


Interactive whiteboards: Creating higher-level, technological thinkers? Childhood Education, 2009, Vol.85(4), p.270-272

Lacina, J. (2009). Interactive whiteboards: creating higher-level, technological thinkers? Childhood Education, 85(4), 270+. Retrieved from http://link.galegroup.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/apps/doc/A198931292/EAIM?u=csu_au&sid=EAIM&xid=0ffb7ba2

Roblyer, M., & Doering, A. (2014). Pearson New International Edition. Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching. Harlow, England: Pearson.

Winzenried, A., Dalgarno, B., & Tinkler, J. (2010). The interactive whiteboard: A transitional technology supporting diverse teaching practices. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology26(4).


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