Teaching effectively with an interactive whiteboard?

So it turns out that one of the professional organizations here in North Carolina is offering a new online course titled Teaching Effectively with an Interactive Whiteboard.  Here’s a bit of the course description:

About This Course

Interactive White Boards (IWB’s) are quickly becoming a common tool in many classrooms. Paired with a computer, internet access and supporting instructional software, these tools provide teachers and learners access to a vast library of resources for instruction and provide the added feature of interactivity. This course will help teachers develop an effective pedagogy for the an IWB environment. . .

Prerequisites

There are no prerequisites for this course. The class assumes an “entry level” knowledge of interactive classroom technologies. Because interactive classroom systems incorporate a wide range of technologies, a good instructional technology foundation will be helpful. Participants should be comfortable with common computer applications like word processing, presentation software like PowerPoint, and using projected media to present content in a classroom.

Notice anything sketchy?  Let’s look at the prerequisite paragraph again—this time with a few highlights added for emphasis:

There are no prerequisites for this course. The class assumes an “entry level” knowledge of interactive classroom technologies. Because interactive classroom systems incorporate a wide range of technologies, a good instructional technology foundation will be helpful. Participants should be comfortable with common computer applications like word processing, presentation software like PowerPoint, and using projected media to present content in a classroom.

In two simple sentences, this course description serves as a perfect example of my beef with IWBs.  We describe them as “interactive classroom technologies” and then use them to “project media” and to “present content in a classroom.”

Is it possible to use IWBs in more sophisticated ways? 

Absolutely—and I’ll bet that the course instructors are going to provide terrific examples for participants to explore in action.  What we’re looking at here, after all, is hopefully just the prerequisities for the course and not the foundational philosophies of the course creators on the role that IWBs can play in teaching and learning.

But sadly, IWBs playing the starring role in interactive lessons doesn’t happen nearly as often as the  Promethean folks say they do.  Instead, we’re dropping tons of cashola on tools to jazz up our presentations.