Over at the Tempered Radical, Bill Ferriter has been hosting a fabulous discussion on the importance of interactive white boards (IWBs or SMART boards as we call them in these parts). I have to tell you that this has caused a shift in my thinking on these devices. I was sold by the glitz and glamour of the SMART board, but I have to say that I think Bill’s thoughts from today are spot on, and he has given some important food for thought. Should schools really be spending the thousands of dollars per class to outfit them with SMART boards or are there other cheaper tools that would be more effective? I think the answer, which goes against everything I might have thought up until recently, is yes. There are alternatives that are cheaper and better. One of the key differences though is that SMART boards require teachers to do very little rethink of how their classrooms run, whereas the alternatives require at least a conceptual shift. The sort of shift that seems to cause some all sorts of problems. The entry should be required reading for all administrators thinking of installing white boards in the classrooms of the schools, and in these parts, it should give us some serious pause in what we are doing.