While the majority of teachers who have a truly interactive classroom know the basics about how to use most of the aspects, there is still some confusion on how to deal with certain features. One of these features has been in classrooms for ten years, and then some. That is the interactive whiteboard. Useful and attractive to learners, the interactive whiteboard has become a clear staple in classrooms around the world. There are levels to its usage though. Whether you are working a set-up with e-pens and a whiteboard or just using the whiteboard on it’s own, some teachers are learning how to push the envelope and take full advantage of the technology they have to hand. The truly interactive classroom has a whiteboard that can create magic for the learner. In this article we will take a look at some aspects of leading edge use of the interactive whiteboard.
The majority of interactive whiteboard vendors always include some software in the bundle that allows for quick and easy note taking. Some teachers do not take full advantage of this feature and instead ignore the fact that their students can walk up to the board and make notes. This is absolutely crucial stuff, because note taking is one of the key skills for students, a learning feature that will eventually turn them into truly independent learners. With the current emphasis on independent learning from European and international governments, it is obviously vital that schools engage students to create notes on the screen. The key takeaway here is that students can then study these notes that were taken by the whole class as part of their homework or revision on the school website. Notes can be added through the use of e-pens and e-pen software too, so there is ample opportunity to integrate this aspect of student learning.
Another good way of integrating the interactive whiteboard into learning so it becomes a central part of what teachers do is to make it a ‘learning station’. For example, an earlier lesson can be loaded up onto the whiteboard and then the students, as part of their rotation around the classroom to complete a variety of activities, work on the whiteboard as a ‘learning station’. Students effectively become teachers, taking their peers through the learning points on the whiteboard and therefore strengthening learning. Young people love guiding learning, so this would be an incredibly effective use of the whiteboard as a tool.
Making note-taking and learning stations part of what a school does creates a truly interactive experience. There are, astonishingly, still schools that simply turn the interactive whiteboard on and leave it there as a display board. This does nothing for the learners, who always prefer to get up and use it as a tool. Encouraging this through the use of the whiteboard and other technology means that you will have a resource that young people enjoy using, and one that is highly effective too. Only then will you have that truly interactive classroom, and the magic that comes along with using interactive whiteboards properly.