In his article “Are Interactive White Boards Dead?” Dr. Robert Leneway makes an excellent point about technology and pedagogy: “it should be remembered that it’s not the medium, but instructional methods that cause learning.” [1] In any discussion on the merits and pitfalls of interactive whiteboard (IWB) technology, the focus should be on the technology’s ability to foster meaningful learning. If a particular group of students does not learning better with an IWB than with a simple whiteboard and marker, then their instructor should not waste time trying to acclimate them.

In general, my opinion of SMART Boards has not changed very much. After watching tutorial videos and actually playing with the EDIT classroom’s SMART Board, I have come to appreciate the diverse capabilities of IWBs. Still, though, I am of the opinion that technological tools do not teach; teachers do. Technology is the medium, which can certainly improve or degrade the quality of instruction, but IWBs are a medium that should be handled with care. When school systems purchase IWBs for all classrooms, they are encouraging teachers to use them. One of the major issues surrounding IWBs, though, is that not all teachers know how to use them, and perhaps more importantly, not all teachers want to use them. The implementation of such expensive technology into classrooms can send a wrong signal and requires serious forethought.

If a school can afford IWBs and its teachers seriously believe that IWB technology can improve the education of their students, then I welcome the school to purchase the technology. Marshall McLuhan famously stated that “the medium is the message,” which means that the effectiveness of the message is contingent upon the medium. In understanding McLuhan, though, educators should remember that while the medium and message are both important, the most important consideration is the student.

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