Over the last decade or so, Interactive White Boards (IWBs) have proliferated in schools 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.
Teachers are advised 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. Research shows that the use of IWBs increases 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!
- Team Competitions
Teachers have to remember that fun is an essential attribute of a successful lesson in the eyes of their students. 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 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.
- 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 labours.
- 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, , 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 and mini games that enable students to interact and learn.
- Recap of a Trip
Students and teachers can bring their photos and videos taken during a 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! There are many sites that offer online activities and web-based resources that work well with many Interactive White Boards.