Generate More Interest In Lessons With Interactive Whiteboards
Schools have been quick to adopt the interactive whiteboard (IWB) for collaborative learning, though colleges seem to be a little more hesitant to adapt to new ways. One of the reasons why the whiteboard may be slower to infiltrate classrooms or generate a bigger buzz among students than it has is, possibly, because educators are still unsure of how to make the most of this technology. At the same time, in classrooms where these boards are in use, "screen-time" is largely dominated by the educators. There is very little direct interaction between the students and the board. By its very nature, the IWB is ideal for interaction and collaboration, so why not use it creatively?
The following tips can help school and college teachers encourage collaborative (and therefore highly effective) learning, whether at the primary school level or in Master's level courses.
Ways to Capture Lessons
1. Save the notes
It is a good idea to recall one of the purposes the whiteboard was originally designed for - to record minutes of business meetings. This use of the technology can easily be adapted into the classroom. Why not record a session in which students write their notes on the whiteboard? During the lesson, the lecturer can invite students to come up and list certain discoveries or observations made during the lesson or during independent study. Instead of erasing these notes, as you would do with a traditional whiteboard, the lecturer can save them using the whiteboard software along with his or her own lecture notes, on the board. This record of the lesson can then be converted to PDF or printed and passed around.
2. Record your screen
Many IWB software come with screen recording tools that will let the educator capture everything that happens on their screen for future reference. There are many uses of this feature. Instructors in medical studies illustrating parts of the body, for instance, can record the process of drawing and labeling the body part or labeling a photograph of the body part. This video clip can be saved and embedded into any IWB presentation software. The clip becomes an invaluable resource for students to access anytime. Of course screen capture can be used for almost any kind of lesson. There are several third party screen capture tools available for both Mac and Windows systems and IWB software.
IWB Lesson Ideas and Plans
3. Interactive online resources
For days when educators have to come up with a quick lesson plan and haven't had time to figure out the many features of their IWB software, there are easy fall-backs available online. The National Library of Virtual Manupulatives is an excellent source of Java applets and interactive activities in algebra, geometry, number & operations and other areas of mathematics for K-12 levels. Starfall.com is another free public service where kids can use the IWB to learn to read with phonics at kindergarten, preschool, first and second grades, in homeschooling and special education classes. There are plenty of other similar resources available online for more online IWB lesson ideas, such as teacher.scholastic.com.
4. Lesson sharing communities for educators
Nearly all IWB vendors have an online community where educators can share ideas and lesson plans (usually downloadable) with other educators. Such communities and related blogs and forums are excellent places to connect with other educators and share (also, discover) wonderful tips on making the most of the IWB in the classroom. Promethean Planet is a good place to start.
Putting the Reigns in the Hands of Students
5. When the IWB has been used in the classroom for some time, and the educator is more well-versed and comfortable with its features and tools, the educator can begin to encourage greater student control over the device. Interactive lessons already learned can be used for practice, and students will enjoy the practice more when they are holding the reigns. Downloaded lessons for the IWB can be assigned to the students, who can then work in groups. Students can also be asked to create their own interactive learning resources based on some math, science or language materials. The process of creating an activity within the restraints - that it must be doable in one classroom period, for instance, can be fun and challenging and also facilitate learning of the materials.
IWB is a wonderful cost-saving technology that can be harnessed for better learning. The tips above can help educators encourage students participate more often in classes involving IWB lessons. When learning is made fun, collaborative and inclusive, more interest among students will automatically be generated.
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