Technology use in the classroom has grown dramatically over the last 15 years, but has recently been tempered by the shortage of educational funds across the country. The interactive whiteboard (IWB) is one of the latest technological instructional resources slated to be purchased for some classrooms today. Although there are some advantages to the use of the IWB, some clear disadvantages also exist. The cost alone precludes the inclusion of the IWB on some instructional technology lists. The disadvantages may outweigh the advantages.
Initial and Maintenance Cost
The cost of the Smart Board, or interactive whiteboard (IWB), and its installation is prohibitive to many schools. Moreover, maintenance costs, including incidental technical troubleshooting and bulb replacement, can sometimes exceed the initial equipment and installation costs. The cost of the tablet and the projector can approach £1,300 per classroom. A replacement bulb can cost up to £325. Additionally, training costs for educators might run as much as £1,170 per day, not including the cost for teacher substitutes that the system must absorb. Also, the cost in time and money must be allotted for the purchase of appropriate IWB markers and cleaning of the filters.
Extensive Training Required
Extensive professional development is required in order for teachers to get full benefit of the capabilities of the IWB. This professional development training takes away from the already limited instructional time available to teachers and students. Additionally, not all teachers catch on to the training at the same pace, so periodic technical assistance with IWB use must be provided.
Unreliability with Technology Driven Instruction
Many classrooms are technology-driven and we expect technology to work according to plan. However, classroom technology does not always work as intended and, therefore, can stall instruction. If teacher plans include a technology-based lesson format, last-minute interruption of those plans due to technology problems can have devastating effects on lesson plans. Teachers must be sure that they have a backup plan for instruction, just in case.
Limited Viewing Range
Interactive whiteboards present a viewing problem if the classroom is large or unorthodox in configuration. The IWB provides only a front wall placement option. If the classroom is very large or irregularly shaped, viewing the material on the whiteboard might be difficult for some students. Also, positioning the IWB so that it is at an appropriate height for viewing and writing can be difficult.