How Can Teachers Enhance Classroom Instruction With Interactive Whiteboards?

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Smart Boards in the Classroom

With the interactive whiteboard teachers can transform a regular classroom into a workable instructional model…

Presentation tools are increasing in popularity for educators who want to share ideas and information with students. One of the most effective ways to involve students in learning with technology is with the use of interactive whiteboards.

An interactive whiteboard is a large display that connects to a computer and a projector. The projector projects the computer’s desktop onto the board’s surface, where users control the computer with a pen, finger, or other device. The board is typically mounted to a wall or floor stand. Student response systems and other such accessories enable interactivity among students.

Time and again research has proven that students learn better when they are fully involved and that multi sensory, hands-on learning is the best way to engage them. Interactive whiteboards facilitate multi sensory learning whether it is a collaboration exercise for math problem solving or a Google Earth tour of the Amazon rainforest. Whatever is done on the computer monitor is reproduced on the interactive whiteboard.

One teacher may create an engaging lesson that focuses on one task, such as a matching activity where students use fingers to match items. Another teacher might integrate multiple items into a lesson plan, such as photos, music, and websites, that students can interact with and even write comments on the board. With the interactive whiteboard teachers can transform the one-computer classroom into a workable instructional model.

These are some important benefits of using Interactive Whiteboards in the classroom:

  • Technophobic teachers can use these whiteboards with ease for presentations from the front of the classroom
  • They help in expanding the scope of e-learning as they rapidly demonstrate the potential of alternative models of delivery
  • They enable teachers to enhance classroom presentations by integrating a wide range of material into a lesson, such as pictures from the internet, text from a Word document, and so on, in addition to student-teacher annotations on these objects
  • They allow teachers to create and customize learning objects from a range of existing content to meet the needs of the class in real time
  • They allow students to absorb information more easily
  • They free students from note-taking and allow them to participate in group discussions instead
  • They allow students to collaborate together around a specific assignment or task
  • When used for interactive testing of understanding for the entire class, interactive whiteboards can rapidly provide learner feedback

Thus, the interactive whiteboard is clearly more than just a toy. With proper planning, preparation, and training, it is a powerful instructional tool, which can be adapted for use with a wide range of subjects and ages. Here are some ideas for using interactive whiteboards to enhance teaching in the classroom:

  • Teachers can practically demonstrate how to search Wikipedia or Google or how to attach a photo to an email
  • Educational games, interactive websites or simulated 3D virtual worlds can be easily integrated into lessons to generate interest
  • Google earth, maps or sky can be used for teaching. When learning about a new place, students can see the place virtually and even zoom to street level using street view
  • Teachers can have students set a virtual dial clock on the touch screen with their finger to the time the teacher announces. This will teach students to tell time
  • Teachers can have students check off their names on the interactive whiteboard as part of the roll call in the morning
  • An interactive whiteboard can be used for voting on different activities in the classroom

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