Students love technology. They are huge consumers of Internet. Most of them have cellphones, laptops, iPods, etc. Teachers need to become more aware of this reality and use it to their advantage. The interactive whiteboard (IWB) is the perfect tool to do so because it is like a giant iPad. Once a teacher has access to this tool, the challenge is to know how to use it efficiently.
Before going any further, I will briefly tell you what there is to know about IWB with the help of Wikipedia. You need to download/buy the IWB’s software onto your computer. The white board projects a blank notebook on which you can write or the desktop of the computer to which it is connected. The board’s surface can be controlled using a finger, pen, or other device. You can save notes written on the whiteboard into the computer; you can run software that is loaded on your computer; you can control your computer from the white board and so on.
In addition, it is important to know the benefits of using this tool. Some of the advantages of IWBs are clear visuals/graphics, interactivity for teachers and students, incorporation of video and images, manipulation of computer functions while standing, etc. (Course: Information Technology) Moreover, for your students, it makes the learning process more interesting and fun; instead of being scared to go upfront, they cannot wait to write on it. It can also be used as a good reward like by letting your student of the week draw on it for fun.
How will I integrate IWB into my teaching?
In my classroom, I will try to use as efficiently as possible this new tool. To do so, I will start by writing the plan of the day so that my students know what to expect. Then, when explaining an activity or a new project, I will write the main steps on the board (in addition of the detailed instruction handouts) so that they can refer to it when mixed up. I will also use it to do group corrections with the whole class.
However, all the elements listed above are similar to what I already do with a normal white board. So, in order to maximize the use of the interactive whiteboard, I will also access to the Internet whenever I feel like it. By that I mean that sometimes we don’t plan to go on the Internet, but a light in our head lights up and reminds us of a video we previously saw that could be interesting to show. With IWB, it doesn’t cause any complication, I just have to open an Internet page and take 2-3 seconds to find the video and show it. So, it’s easy and fast even when it’s unplanned.
In addition, with younger students, I will create interactive activities when they will learn new vocabulary in each unit. For example, I can create a word bank at the bottom of the board and put pictures of the words on the page so that students can come up to the board and drag the right word to the right image. It enhances their participation because they love tactile technologies. Moreover, I will discover pre-made activities on the software as well as on the Internet to use with my students depending on the notions that will be seen in class. Many resources exist; the possibilities are endless.
Why will it make my teaching better?
Using IWB will definitely improve my teaching because I will able to capture my students’ attention by bringing their attention to many different resources (Internet, videos, pictures, songs, games, correction, etc.) through the tool. Plus, it will make it easy to have access to information from current events, which are often more interesting than old and boring schoolbooks. Moreover, unlike a traditional board, I don’t have to erase notes in order to continue writing, I can only change page. So, when students don’t have time to finish writing, I can go back to a previous page. In brief, these are only some reasons why using an interactive whiteboard in nowadays’ classrooms is not only fun, but also essential.
Don’t worry! You are not alone!
To help you use the IWB, numerous resources can be found on the Internet. With simple key words typed on Google, you can find lists of suggested software, of prepared activities, of teaching advice, etc. One interesting website is Teacher Led. There are lists of categorized resources that might be useful or help you find new ideas.
To sum up, this technology will be in most of the classrooms soon enough and it will be primordial for us, teachers, to know how to use it and to maximize the interactive aspect of it. For those who have not started yet, familiarize yourself with it now. Who knows when it will come to your school?