Photo via The Atlantic

Although digital whiteboards have been around since 1991, research has only recently revealed how powerful their effect on learning and retention can be. What impact can interactive technology have on students, and why is it important that these products remain affordable and accessible?

Before purchasing technology for your school, it is critical to understand the impact that the technology can have on student learning. If the technology is not going to make an impact and improve student engagement and learning, it is not worth purchasing. Although new and innovative technologies continue to emerge, interactive whiteboards can still play a crucial role in engaging students and heightening learning.

Utilizing Interactive Whiteboards (2010) found “a correlation between the improvement of both student motivation and achievement when a student participated in a highly interactive class utilizing an interactive whiteboard.” The study also found that “Students in the classroom that utilized the technology in an interactive way performed higher academically and demonstrated more favorable views of their content areas and the interactive whiteboard.”

Interactive whiteboards can also play an important role in STEM. Engineering for Kids states that, “According to the U. S. Department of Commerce, STEM occupations are growing at 17%, while other occupations are growing at 9.8%.” It is critical that students are well versed in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. When teachers are well-trained on the technology and utilize their interactive whiteboards in the classroom, this technology can have an impact on student learning and adequately prepare them for careers in STEM fields. A 2005 study detailed that, when speaking about interactive whiteboards during lessons, "comments from the pupils are positive, with the resulting themes encompassing how the IWB can facilitate and initiate learning and impact on preferred approaches to learning."

Whether a teacher uses educational curriculum or a free educational website, there are numerous resources that help aid students in STEM lessons. STEM-Works is a great website that is designed to help teachers find activities and projects that allow them to teach STEM skills to young people.

Unfortunately, digital whiteboards have remained expensive and complex tools, representing a significant expense and time commitment from the teachers and schools that wish to use them. Affordable solutions like BoardShare expose students to interactive technology who normally would not have the opportunity.

“We strongly believe in equality of opportunity,” stressed BoardShare CEO Rahul Shah. “No student should be denied the opportunity to reach his or her full potential because they didn’t have the tools to get there.”

Teachers who implemented BoardShare in their classrooms have reported a higher engagement in student learning, and have said that it has transformed the way they present lessons. They are able to bridge the digital divide that existed in their schools, and adequately prepare their students for careers in STEM fields.

As schools continue to face budget challenges, and the number of STEM occupations continue to grow, it is more critical than ever that students have access to the tools that will help them achieve their goals.