Disclaimer: What I am about to describe can only really be done on a Mac right now because Skitch is currently unavailable for PC (this is apparently changing soon).
This is not an argument measuring the pedagogical value of Interactive White Boards, although it may invariably lead your mind down that road (if you’re interested in that discussion, I suggest you add your two cents to Pernille Ripp‘s great post questioning their merit). Rather, it is about two things few people can argue against:
- The ability to digitally scan documents on-demand in class, make it viewable in large form, then write, erase, highlight on said document is an incredibly valuable tool.
- Many classrooms are currently doing this using document cameras and IWBs.
Here’s the thing:
Average cost of document camera: $500US (give or take a hundred).
Average cost of IWB: At least a couple of grand.
Total cost: At least $2500US (not including laptop and projector)
I used to have both of these things in my class, but find I no longer need them because of three things:
- Evernote ($0 on PC/Mac/iOS/Android/Blackberry/PalmOS/Windows Mobile 7)
- Skitch ($0)
- My Smart Phone (I would have one regardless)
Total cost: $0 (not including laptop and projector)
Let me describe to you an example of how I used my $0 technology just the other day.
It was math class. I was leading the students through a standard 3 part problem solving lesson. While collaborating in pairs, students used paper to draw out their thinking and explanations justifying their solutions. In the third part of the lesson, I invited partnerships to share their results with the whole class. To aid in this process, we digitally enlarged their papers so we could draw and write on them.
This is how I used to do this:
- Opened Evernote on my iPhone.
- Took a snapshot of papers.
- Opened Evernote and Skitch on my MacBook.
- Dragged synced photo from Evernote into Skitch.
- Presented, drew on photo in Skitch.
- Dragged photo from Skitch back to Evernote.
- Tagged photo with subject, student name(s), and observational assessment comments.