#TMCardiff – Why my flipchart beats your interactive whiteboard!

I gave two presentations to the recent Teachmeet in Cardiff, which I thought I’d post here as well. This was the first, a two minute presentation entitled ‘Why my flipchart beats your IWB’.

My initital plan had been to get there early enough to leave a piece of flipchart paper on each table and get people to record their thoughts as the evening went on, in a Baddiel and Skinner Unplanned kind of way, but as I didn’t make it in time I didn’t get a chance to do that. I do like the idea of a low-tech record of people’s thoughts and the ideas that they record and might try and built it in a future teachmeet in Swansea that I hope to get off the ground later in the year.

It seems slightly daft to be using a powerpoint for this talk, so instead each of the following ideas was one piece of flipchart paper which was kindly held aloft by people from the audience – my thanks to them all!

So, ten reasons why I’d rather have a flipchart than an interactive whiteboard 1

1. You can read them! – My handwriting isn’t brilliant, but an IWB seems to do an excellent job of rendering most people’s handwriting illegible.

2. It’s cheap – spend the money more productively – I’d far rather have a flip cam and a few netbooks than an IWB. They allow much more genuine interaction.

3. Everyone can have one. One per table, one per person. Not a problem.

4. Body SMART. They’re kinesthetic. Once we’ve brainstormed out ideas we can line people up, argue about order of importance, produce timelines or some other continuum. We can move them around the room.

5. Mobile. If I want to teach in a hall, or outside, no problem.

6. Put them together for mindmaps – My record is 9 of them sellotaped together on which my year 12 class mindmaps the entire first half of their AS course over the course of 45 minutes.

7. Get feedback from around the class. If each table has one, they can work on them independently and then share ideas later on.

8. Can show off multiple sheets at once & display for as long as relevant. OK, I may be able to save the work from an IWB, but I can’t plaster my walls in it. If we’re doing work summing up a unit for the OCR pilot for example, it can stay on the walls while students complete their write ups.

9 Storeable. Digitally if I grab a snap with a digital camera, physically either on the walls (see point 8) or on top of my selves until we need them again. Then I can use the backs and then I can recycle them!

10. Tabards. Doing an Ian Dawson active learning history lesson? Getting your students to act out the immune system or an electric circuit? Then you’ll need to make sure everyone knows which role everyone else is playing. Fold flipchart paper in half, put a hole in the middle and stick it over the heads of the students.

You can watch the presentation here, scroll to 1hr in.
Image credit: @cerirwilliams
  1. I should point out there are some teachers out there doing some great things with IWBs, but I do have a problem with the view held by some that they are some kind of educational panacea, and I have turned down the offer of one on several occasions. I’m not sure I could cope without my projector though. That’s a different story!

Dave Stacey