Interactive whiteboards: the hub of classroom technology

"The ability to link the instructor and student devices, and to send information back and forth provides a mechanism for introducing active learning into the classroom and creates additional feedback channels." - Richard Anderson. University of Washington. (2008)


It is clear that over the last decade, interactive whiteboards have been - and continue to be - avidly adopted by education systems all over the world. Many schools vainly aspired 1:1 learning environments for years, limited by financial, pedagogical and practical objections. The emergence of interactive whiteboards offered them the chance to make the benefits of e-learning more broadly available to students, during all lessons,
at lower total cost and with a proven pedagogical impact. Interactive whiteboards, one might say, have in fact become the first step in inclusive e-learning for many schools, and the hub for the implementation of other complementary ICT devices.

International research has established that one of the main benefits of interactive whiteboards is that they reduce stress levels for teachers, and give them more freedom to focus on other aspects of the teaching process than the technical delivery of a subject. This, in turn, reinforces the naturally motivating effect that the rich visual platform has on the learners. And finally, added motivation increases learning outcomes even in a very preliminary stage.


The increased self-confidence of teachers and learners alike helps clear the path for the introduction of other beneficial technologies in the classroom. In the foreseeable future, think of multi-display classrooms, 3D technology, 1:1 guided learning in local networks, physical
and virtual tools for formative and summative assessment, touch sensitive slates in addition to or as a replacement of laptops or netbooks,… The connection of these technologies with the interactive whiteboard through classroom management software enables full interactive
collaboration and fosters whole class, small group and individual learning. The beauty of digital content is that the limits of space and time are no longer unconditional: thanks to these technologies, content can be shared and collaborated on in any place, at any time

An emerging technology that is certainly worth mentioning is the so-called augmented reality. Its use in educational environments enhances the learners' understanding of spatial concepts by allowing them to study virtual 3D objects by manipulating a physical marker object in the line of sight of an augmented reality enabled camera. In combination with 3D enabled display solutions, the combination of the visual and tactile learning styles impact the understanding of complicated concepts enormously.

The trend towards integration that we can clearly distinguish in the B2C segment (think of Smartphones) is also visible in the education technology segment. One can expect that in the (near) future, all these types of technology will become modular pieces of one integrated
interactive, collaborative solution for use in the classroom environment and beyond.

Source: New World of Learning (VANERUM Group).