Interactive whiteboards in schools: “no thought”

pratiquement-tous-professionnels-sondes-deploreQuebec could find solutions 10 times cheaper instead of imposing cost $ 240 million interactive whiteboards (IWB) in all Quebec schools.

The plan of the Liberal government of Jean Charest continued by his successors for five years, was “not a conscious decision,” concludes one study, a summary of which was obtained by The Canadian Press.

The study, conducted by a research center of the University of Montreal, was conducted among 6,000 students and 400 teachers.

It reveals that interactive whiteboards have some advantages, but they are not highlighted. Teachers lack training, technical problems are numerous and too few students interact with this educational tool.

In short, according to this extensive survey of the Interuniversity Research Centre for the training and the teaching profession (CRIFPE), the purchase of electronic projectors at a much lower cost would have been better for the vast majority of teachers.

Thus, an HD digital projector may detail about $ 600, while an interactive board three feet by four can cost between $ 7,000 and $ 8,000.

Moreover, an array of this format is unsuitable for a regular class because it is too small to be seen, while a digital projector is a much more flexible tool that can be adjusted according to the size of the class.

“Stop making us believe that the interactive whiteboard is the eighth wonder of the world,” says researcher Thierry Karsenti, the CRIFPE in a recent interview.

Virtually all respondents professionals have lamented the lack of reliability of the device. “It is not true that it is a stable tool: it’s complicated, that” plant “all the time, it’s a catastrophe, he has shown. And when one is teacher and the principal tool “plant” all the time, we are not interested in taking it. ”

Thus, the teachers prefer to just use as a projection screen, he noted. Or, purchase a single projector would have cost much less and would have avoided “the technical problems that never end.”

The comments of the students surveyed were devastating. “The whiteboard is smaller than the TV in my living room,” said young Mr. Karsenti, who points out that one can, in high school, have students sit in a circle around the whiteboard too small to be seen.

Or, other students asked: “Why it is called interactive when there my teacher who touches it? ”

In fact, a minority of teachers allows students to use interactive features, highlighted the researcher.

The enthusiasm found among students with regard to the whiteboard at the start faded quickly, because of its size and its lack of interactivity, he noted. In his summary, the study concludes that “the imposition of the BIT to all teachers of Québec would no a considered decision.”

“I do not understand why the state, when you invest so much money, did not check whether it was used as it should be,” said Mr Karsenti.

The judgment is equally lapidary among teacher unions. They regret of never having been consulted in this process and deplore such a massive investment in a period of restraint in schools.

“In schools where we reduce student services, school materials, homework help, teachers ask: is that right priority? “Said Josée Scalabrini, president of the Federation of education unions affiliated to the CSQ.

She said the time was not appropriate, so to spend $ 240 million, not counting teachers have not received all required training for this technological tool.

“We went ahead with a popular measure, populist, which seemed fine,” she began in a telephone interview.

Recall that the implementation of TBI was marked by controversy. Premier Jean Charest had announced with great fanfare as one of its measures surprises in an inaugural address in 2011.

A survey by the newspaper La Presse revealed that the vast majority of paintings of purchases had been made ​​from a supplier, Smart Technologies, the lobbyist was a former member of Mr. Charest’s cabinet.

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