It was a marvel. A toy for teachers. But not just any toy. It was a toy we wanted to play with so badly we were nearly straining out of our shoes. As the salesman demonstrated its marvels, we felt a little like Ralphie in A Christmas Story; we wanted one of those fantastic interactive whiteboards as badly as he wanted that Red Ryder BB gun. Sure, there was no chance I’d shoot my eye out with that thing, but in the stark white light of cold reality, I could hear our principal saying I would.
“Yes, Mr. Savelle, it would revolutionize your classroom,” I could hear her say. “But would it revolutionize your teaching?”
She had the wisdom of Yoda! I never did get an interactive whiteboard, and I’m not so sure that was a bad thing. Considering the supporting resources and the state of the Internet at the time, it might have simply ended up as another glorified overhead projector.
So now, as my oldest son gets ready to receive a school district-supplied tablet, I turn to you with a question. It’s 2013. Are we now ready to teach effectively using high-tech tools?