Schools never have big budgets so they’re always looking for value for money. Interactive Whiteboards can cost around €3,000 or so. A projector and a tablet PC can cost about €1,200. A projector with a slate can cost as little as €600. So, is it better to buy 5 of the latter option for the same price as one IWB? Wouldn’t it be good to get two tablet PCs and projectors instead?
I was asked this question by a teacher who is thinking about his options. His colleague is very much in favour of the projector-tablet PC combo, whereas he favours the IWB despite the higher cost.
The question I always ask myself in a debate situation like this is: which of the two are teachers most likely to use? My guess is that they will use IWBs more than the tablet-projector combo even though the latter is a much better pedagogical tool. My theory is that the IWB isn’t a big step away from the blackboard and that’s what most teachers (whether they choose to admit ir or not) are still doing.
Another more practical issue with regards tablet PCs are their fragility. Passing around a piece of equipment in a classroom will inevitably end up with a child dropping it and you’re down €600 straight away. This is why some schools go with the slate, though I don’t like this model much, pretty much for the same reasons outlined above, but worse. A slate is a little bit more difficult for a younger child to use.