Finding new and innovative ways to educate school children has long been a primary concern for teachers, as the challenge of being able to engage with students on each subject whilst providing enough stimulus for the lesson to sink in can be an uphill struggle. As teaching resources have developed at a steady pace for generations, the latest tool in a teacher’s armoury is the interactive whiteboard. The interactive whiteboard, or IWB, carries on from where the traditional whiteboard, and even the old style chalky blackboard, left off, by offering a far more interactive approach to displaying information.
Hooked up to both a computer and a projector, the IWB projects the computer’s desktop image onto a wall and, through light sensors, detects movement on the projection and reacts interactively much like an actual computer would. The interactive whiteboard is therefore not only a very hands-on and creative way to teach a class, but is also very flexible and portable; ideal in a busy school environment really.
Although good at displaying anything a traditional whiteboard would display, an IWB really comes in useful when used for fun activities and games, as the way the display works relies on interaction with the students and teachers; away from the traditional 2D chalkboards. From showcasing video clips and going online to producing customised Power Point presentations, the list of activities to use a IWB for is as long as your imagination.
For learning English vocabulary and spelling, a visual way to present the subject is by ‘revealing’ individual parts of the word at a time, giving the pupils a chance to raise their hand and guess what the word is. To do this, create a Smart Notebook page with some words scattered across, then cover each word with a coloured circle or star, and then, using the rubber tool, start to ‘rub out’ each circle to slowly reveal the word.
A fun way to learn history and geography is through using an online map, like either Google Maps or Google Earth, and use the IWB’s ‘freeze’ function to freeze and zoom in on either the country or the town that relates to the subject. From there, geological features can be highlighted, like meandering rivers, and long-gone historical sites can be added back in to give the pupils a visual and tangible perspective on each lesson.
Through the use of loudspeakers and text recognition in several languages, an interactive whiteboard can be used to dynamically teach languages. Supported with audio and text files, words and phrases can be learnt by either matching sentences to images or instead pupils can interactively pair up the matching English and non-English words.
There are countless other ways to use an interactive whiteboard for fun classroom activities, and many free online teacher resources to make it even easier to use too, from educational games to customised video displays.