In the numerous #edchat and #langchat sessions I have participated in where technology has been a topic, there are always several people (often myself included) who address the fact that pedagogy must come before technology. In last week's #langchat, a newbie (identified by her egg) asked how to tell whether you were using technology just for the sake of using technology. My response to her was to teach the same lesson high-tech and low-tech, and then reflect on what (if anything) was gained (or lost) by using technology. The bottom line is that every lesson should be planned around learning objectives -- EDU 101.
So this brings me to my current dilemma. I just took two three-hour workshops on using the Promethean Board and ActivInspire. My school district has spent thousands and thousands of dollars equipping almost every classroom with an IWB. Here's my problem: unless I'm missing something (which I freely admit, I may well be), there's not a whole lot an IWB can do for me that I can't do using free web 2.0 tools more easily, and my students can access everything from home with an internet connection -- no downloads. I am also struck by the fact that many of the suggested IWB activities seem to be centered around lower-level thinking skills.
Another problem I have, is that while two students can be interacting with the IWB (only two pens), with an unconnected dry-erase white board or personal whiteboards, I can have the entire class actively engaged.
Here is the rest of my disclaimer: I have taken two workshops, and as yet I have absolutely no hands-on experience with an IWB. Maybe I am missing something. That is actually part of my reason for this post -- if I am wrong PLEASE comment and show me the light, because while I am always looking for more effective ways to do things, what I do not want is to find myself using technology simply because it is there.
What do you think?