One way to get around the sort of problems that can be experienced when using an interactive whiteboard, such as the one related in Problems in the ed tech classroom #1, is to go lo-tech, and use a flipchart instead.
However, the key part of the term “lo-tech” is the “tech” bit. It’s still technology, which means there is still plenty to go wrong. For example, you can turn up to discover that the pens don’t work, there aren’t any pens, there’s no paper left in the pad and so on.
Now, although I’d encourage you to use an interactive whiteboard if one is available, for reasons I’ll go into, the common or garden flipchart does have its uses. For example, when you’ve finished writing on a sheet, you can tear it off and stick it on one of the walls for people to look at later. Or you can organise the class into groups and give each group a sheet of flipchart paper in order to thrash out ideas. Again, the sheets can be plastered around the room for people to look at subsequently.
If using a flipchart appeals to you, and one is available, ascertain in advance that there will be an extra pad in the room and a cache of pens — or take your own.
On the whole though, I don’t think fear of technology going wrong is necessarily a reason to avoid using it. Even a flipchart is a form of technology, as noted above, and so are pens and pencils. So if you have a choice between using a flipchart or an interactive whiteboard, interactive whiteboards (or something like them, such as a tablet and projection facilities) are better. They are more flexible, you can save your work and return to it later, and you can achieve engaging and useful special effects. If you want to have kids looking at printouts around the room, well you can print out the pages you create on the whiteboard.
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