It seems that Interactive Whiteboards (IWB) have recently been causing some controversy. Some people seem to be dead set against them. Surprisingly, it is not the anti-technologists or the technophobes who are against them, this time it seems to be some of the leading lights of technology who are decrying their use. The root of the issue seems to be that some advocates of technology appear to believe that IWBs have somehow set back the development of technology in education. To them, it seems, the way that IWBs are used is a cry back to the old days of ‘chalk and talk’. They see the boards being used like old blackboards with the teacher standing in front of the class teaching direct to the pupils. These teachers seem to feel that they are using technology but, in fact, the technolgy sems to have made very little change or impact upon their teaching. As such, the critics say, people and schools claim that they are making more use of technology in the classroom but, in essence, the change has been very little. The use of IWBs in this way has not brought about any change or transformation in teaching. I’m really not sure about these critics. Did they really believe that IWBs would bring about a ‘transformation’ in teaching? If they did, then I think they must have been very short-sighted. I tend to perceive things a little differently. The use of IWBs in classrooms has , it appears to me, extended the use of technology in education. It has enabled ICT to be used in new ways to support a wider range of teaching and learning styles. IWBs have made technology accessible to more teachers because they can now see the possibilities and potential for its use in their teaching. Above all, IWBs have enabled ICT to be used to whole class and group teaching; this has possibly been the biggest development in educational ICT in the last 5 years. Previously, ICT had been a very individual teaching system. That is to say, each computer could be used to aide the learning of 1 or 2 pupils at a time. To reach a whole class, would entail the use of an ICT suite or require each pupil to have their own laptop PC. Now, there is always a place for ICT suites, but it would not be feasible to have one in every class or teaching area (it would also be very expensive). Each pupil having their own laptop is also very worthwhile but it would be very difficult for a teacher to monitor what each pupil accesses on their screen during a lesson or, indeed, to present the same material to each pupil at the same time. I know that all this is technologically possible but is perhaps beyond the technological capability of your average classroom teacher. Beyond doubt there is a place and role for class or group learning in our modern educational system. Even in the age of personalised learning, there is an important role for class and group teaching. IWBs have enabled technology to be used for teaching classes and groups. We would be better to take advantage of this and promote its effective use in this role rather than decry its use. There is, though, one area of IWB use in which I would agree with the critics. The I part of IWB is often ignored or overlooked. That is to say, there is often little Interactivity and the whiteboard is used simply as a projection screen or, worse, as a whiteboard with staff writing on it with marker pens. It would agree, we need to encourage more Interactivity with IWBs, we also need to demonstrate that the Interactivity is not just between teacher and board but also between pupil(s) and board. Above all, there needs to develop interactivity between whiteboard and other software or peripherals under the control of the teacher or pupil. There is also one aspect of IWBs with which I feel a certain amount of unease. I’m thinking now about the projector. It really amazes me how this lump of 1960s technology has seen a ressurgence because of the spread of IWBs. Also, the projector seems to fit in with the commercial ‘ethos’ so prevalent in our current society as also evidenced by printers and razors whereby the main piece of equipment (projector, printer, razor) has a reasonable cost that seems to fall in time but the necessary important parts(bulb, ink cartridge, razor blade) seems to cost a fortune and rise inexplicably in price. I am pleased to see that the technology to manufacture large plasma screens with inbuilt touch sensitive screens is now being exploited, it’s just that the size and cost of such devices still seem initially limiting.