Inspiring Ideas to Help you get the Most out of the IWB in Your Classroom
Over the last decade or so, Interactive White Boards (IWBs) have proliferated in schools in the U.S. and across much of the world. Some teachers have embraced them, and others, well … not so much. Unfortunately, some schools did not offer the professional development necessary to help teachers become familiar with these systems and get the most out of their availability. Many teachers were left to their own devices to learn and use their IWBs.
In this blog entry on edweek.org, a few specialists stated their views on the topic. Curriculum developer Ben Stern advises teachers not to limit the use of the board to simple exercises like hangman or matching, but to take a step forward and anticipate students' interest. Patti Grayson, a fourth grade teacher, gives a useful hint to look for resources online, ranging from using mathematical modelling tools like Thinking Blocks to connecting to a webinar via Skype. Principal Eva O'Maram proved that using IWBs increased creativity and engagement in the learning process on both sides: the teachers and the students.
In this article, we offer a number of creative approaches to using Interactive White Boards. Whether you are an avid user of this technology, or someone who has held back, we hope that some of these ideas inspire you!
- Google Earth
Once installed, it can be helpful not only during geography lessons, but in almost every class. Explore the world, find rare plants and animals, discuss different cultures, civilizations, languages, architecture, design, tour football stadiums and museums, play GeoGuessr (a tiny web app which takes a user to a place in the world using Street View technology and makes him or her guess where it is).
- Team Competitions
Teachers have to remember that fun is an essential attribute of a successful lesson in the eyes of their students. Technologies like Kinect and Wii allow users to integrate, have fun and learn simultaneously when using physical response techniques. Learning science teaches us that when we move, we can learn more effectively. Divide a group of students into teams and make them compete against each other in a game needing both their knowledge and cunning. It builds team spirit and competitiveness – two skills not to be underestimated in the adult world.
- Teach Students Basic Image, Sound and Video Editing
With a variety of software available – like Google+'s Photos Editor – students can edit, resize and enhance photos. Working on a fun example can be an enjoyable way to lead young learners into the world of graphic editing. The same can be done with sound and movies. Teachers can show the group how to change the tone of someone's voice or add special effects to a video, and then let students act accordingly. Enjoyment is guaranteed!
- Spelling Competition
Although some argue against rivalry in a classroom, some students love it. A teacher can organise a spelling bee competition for learners with their works being shown on the board and automatically checked by a built-in spellchecker. Then, the result is transformed into points and the winner is announced.
- Take A Virtual Tour
Many important places with cultural heritage and academic value offer virtual tours online, which can be accessed through the IWB and shown to students. Some of them are also interactive, which will keep the children interested and engaged. Virtual tours are also a good idea before and after a real visit to a location, both as an introduction and a summary of the trip.
- Record Students
Some whiteboards come with a camera and a sound system. It is a great feature which can be used to record students' presentations, speeches and projects. This can be used to offer constructive critique. At the end of the school year a look-back lesson can be organized, introducing a sentimental mood and a lot of fun while re-watching old clips. (Of course, be sure to keep privacy considerations in mind here – make sure you are in conformance with your school's policy).
IWBs allow students to interact with each other and with the teacher. For example, work on a project together, with different aspects done by different students, in front of a class. Not only will this engage the group, but also provide them with the visible fruits of their labors.
- Download Flash Videos and Applications (to be prepared for a loss of connectivity)
It is always a good idea to be ready for a network downtime. With a few applications, like SWF Catcher, it is possible to store online content on a local hard drive and access it without being connected to the Internet. This can include videos, mini games and Interactives that enable students to interact and learn.
- Recap of a Field Trip
Students and teachers can bring their photos and videos taken during a field trip, organize them and make a fun and educative summary of their common experience, using previously learned skills. This can make students see that everything they learned had a purpose and was valuable – plus it gives them unforgettable memories.
It comes as no surprise that Interactive White Boards are great for Interactive content! Here's are couple sets of resources, from this article on the NEA Member Benefits site:
- National Library of Virtual Manipulatives – “A wide range of virtual manipulatives that work with almost all IWBs. Interactive digital tools for exploring data, algebra, geometry and more can be found here ready to be “played” with on your IWB.”
- Interactive Whiteboard Resources from Topmarks – This page offers an index of dozens of websites, online activities and web-based resources that work well with many Interactive White Boards.
We hope you like these ideas. So, what are your favorite uses of Interactive White Boards?
Related Posts (if the above topic is of interest, you might want to check these out):
How Will Paper Thin Display Screens Be Used in Education?
6 Free Online Collaborative Interactive White Boards – 2012 Update
Apple TV In The Classroom – The New Smart Board