Muddling through the blogosphere

The $2 Interactive Whiteboard – I’ve seen it in action!


One of my favorite things about the Edublogs Awards is the end product: an amazing compilation of links to innovative, super smart educators, many who are new to me, annually assembled in one convenient location.

Given the current economic crisis in California public schools, I was drawn by its title into the winner of The Most Influential Blog PostThe $2 Interactive Whiteboard. High school physics teacher Frank Noschese’s case for the $2 IWB over the $4,000 front-of-the-room IWB will either confirm or make you rethink how to maximize dwindling technology budgets for the sake of student learning.

In my case, I already had a window into the benefits of the $2 IWB while visiting middle school science teacher Kelli Quan’s classroom. From the video below, I think you’ll understand my excitement in watching Kelli’s students – on the first day of the new term – already collaborating, questioning, and learning from each other. Due to some time constraints, I interviewed Kelli prior to her teaching the lesson – and prior to reading Frank Noschese’s post; therefore, I did not ask about the use of IWBs, mainly because her site lacks funding to jump on the IWB bandwagon.

Thanks to the Edublogs Awards, I am now watching the video with new eyes, struck by the fact that 100% of her students had access to a powerful, affordable technology throughout the lesson as an integral part of their introduction to scientific thinking.

Think I’ll head back to the Awards in search of more low cost/no cost gems to share with teachers.


  1. I love Kelli’s lesson! While the video focuses on her use of technology, she is doing so many other things right — and it is those other things that make it a great lesson, not the technology. Technology with a poor lesson is still a poor lesson.

    Things Kelli is to be commended for:
    (1) Multiple representations – Kelli asks for students to use words and pictures to illustrate what is going on inside the toy.
    (2) The use of everyday objects that students can connect with – Kelli uses the toy Crocodile Dentist as the “black box” to investigate. I’ve seen too many “black box” lessons where it is literally a black shoe box with things inside — too artificial and contrived in my opinion.
    (3) The use of large whiteboards for students to work collaboratively.
    (4) Whole class collaboration and sharing of each group’s ideas – Kelli has the students share on the electronic discussion board, but this could easily be done in the form of a group presentations. Notice she is using technology as a supporting role, it is not the star.

    An excellent lesson for so many reasons! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi Frank,

    I’ll pass your feedback on to Kelli. Here’s a link to her actual lesson: Communicating like a scientist.

    Your post has inspired me to showcase samples of teachers who make the most of whatever technology they have available – “in a supporting role, not as the star” – to engage students and extend learning. Kelli’s students, for example, do not have access to the Internet during class time, but she expects them to connect online after school, on their home computers, their cell phones, or on the school’s bank of library computers. Rather than accepting lack of access as a reason for not extending learning to a broader community, she simply leaves it up to the students to find ways to make the connections.

    Maybe a new category for next year’s Edublogs Awards should be “Doing More with Less”;-)

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