Entering the 21st Century with an Interactive Whiteboard

By Nick McDaniels — For years now, I have been asking for an interactive whiteboard.

I figured the use of a projector and a magical pen, with all the software that is available now would improve my ability to keep records, manage a classroom, and engage students. A few months ago I acquired a Promethean board (not a new model by any means), and just a few weeks ago, it was finally hung on my wall. I have taken to it like a hungry goat to anything, taking turns with my co-teacher so that we can both be interchangeable on our technology like we like to be with everything else we do.

We have bought in heavily to Class Dojo, a web-based classroom management platform that allows a teacher to have all students (along with their cute randomly assigned avatar) projected on the board and award them points for good behavior and deduct points for bad behavior. This program allows us to create our own categories for points to award and deduct and gives us running cumulative totals by students and by class.


Though the temptation to give out negative points every time a student does something bad is there (it also comes with a great “bummer” sound effect), I am proud to say that we are giving positive points about 80% of the time.

We have been able to show video clips, pause the video, write directly on the web page to annotate the clips. And, best of all, we have been able to step back and allow students to do the work for us. They love using the pen, and love using the Class Dojo on their classmates. In general, this has been great for us as teachers, though sometimes our learning curve on the board, delays the learning of our students. That, however, I think is made up for by the general excitement and engagement surrounding the board.

Now, to make sure that you take this celebratory post with its appropriate grain of salt, know that I have one major concern.

Does the board make the learning more teacher-centered?

I have worked hard, as someone who loves his content area, who loves to talk in front of a captive audience, to make sure that my classroom is as student-centered as I can make it. With the whiteboard however, I have noticed that the content of the lessons, possibly because of the vast amount of resources available at my beck and call, have become more at my discretion, thus less student-centered. There are trade-offs with everything, of course. One thing is clear. I love my whiteboard, and so do my students, but I need to continue to check myself to make sure my students are always loving it more than I am, because there, and only there, can the use of this technology be worthwhile.

2 Responses to “Entering the 21st Century with an Interactive Whiteboard”

  1. 1 Kalen April 1, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    Hi Nick – Kalen from ClassDojo here. Thank you so much for taking the time to post about us – our small team here at ClassDojo HQ really appreciates the support!

    If anyone who comes across this post has any questions for us or needs help getting set up with their free account, please don’t hesitate to reach out at kaleng@classdojo.com Cheers 🙂


    • 2 nickmcdaniels April 14, 2013 at 6:41 pm

      Thanks, Kalen. I had an issue with my whiteboard for about a week and everyday my students kept complaining that we didn’t have the Dojo running. Keep up the great work.



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