Technology is increasing exponentially in our classrooms. It is crucial as teachers that we keep up to date with the use of digital media. The interactive whiteboard (IWB) is a highly engaging classroom and learning tool. It helps present information in a more simple and aesthetically pleasing manner. It utilises simple tasks such as games, puzzles, sequencing, labelling and many more. Although it may seem simple this educational tool facilitates engagement, promotes whole class discussion and adds an element of randomness and belonging within the classroom.
IWBs allows students to think beyond the memorising knowledge. As information is visually presented the whole class is stimulated and encouraged to participate in classroom discussion. IWBs facilitates student centred learning, information is presented in a way which is interactive and easily manipulated.
When creating lessons teachers should be very cautious on the level of the activities ambiguity. By doing so, determines the level of intellectual quality within the activity. Some ways to incorporate this is:
- Shift the students’ focus. Try to limit memorising and centre on grasping a solid understanding of the topic area.
- Ask though provoking questions. This enables classroom discussion.
- Instead of giving the students the information, present it in a way that is problematic and open to various interpretations. This allows students to think for themselves and create their own understanding.
It is significantly important not to get carried away when planning activities with the IWB. Activities should not limit the learning of a topic area. This is a great learning tool, however, I believe it is not appropriate for certain age groups or subjects. It can be well adapted to the Primary sector, but I found it very difficult to cater for a year 7 class learning Pythagoras’ Theorem. Although it may be difficult to utilise within a secondary classroom, it can be a great motivator for a special needs class, or Friday last period. Revision exercises through games is a great way to end a topic or to refresh knowledge.
IWB software activities are a great way to promote intellectual quality learning in classrooms as long as teachers utilise the software accordingly to stimulate higher order thinking.