Monday, March 5, 2012

Interactive Whiteboards

Interactive whiteboards are one of the hottest new teaching tools. Using a projection system that creates a touch-screen, the teacher is able to have all of the capabilities of a whiteboard and a computer in one tool. It can be used in a variety of ways to enhance classroom instruction and interactive learning.

The interactive whiteboard can enhance teaching and learning in many ways. It allows teachers to combine traditional note-taking and interactive activities on the same tool in an efficient manner. This will benefit teachers because it gives them the opportunity to reach more students with different learning styles. The use of interactive activities, videos, and demonstrations that the interactive whiteboard offers allows for more student involvement and a more diverse arsenal of teaching tools for the teacher. Students will benefit from this because they will be more involved in their own learning and, through the diverse teaching tools the interactive whiteboard offers, have their learning style fulfilled. Teachers and students also benefit from the computer capability of the interactive whiteboard because it allows from the publishing of lessons that were taught in class on the internet. This will allow students who were not in class to have access to them. The student will benefit from this because they will not fall too far behind in class and the teacher will benefit from this because they will be able to keep all students on the same page and up to date with the material.  

While the SMART Board software was different than any other program that I have used before, it was not overly difficult to learn to use. The tools were generally straight-forward and easy to use. While they were easy, they went a long way in enhancing my lesson. The straight-fowardness of the tools (such as the "Magic Pen") also was beneficial because I could let students use them at the board during my lesson.

There are both pros and cons to having an interactive whiteboard in your classroom.

  • Gives the teacher an incredible amount of teaching tools
  • Consolidates the number of technological devices needed in the classroom
  • Class notes can easily be made accessible outside of the classroom through online documents

  • The're expensive! You have to be careful not to break or damage them
  • Some teachers won't be able to use the software properly
  • Just as any computer, they are subject to bugs and viruses 

Here are some lessons that I have personally taught that could make use of interactive whiteboards:

  • Pearl Harbor - I could have used the whiteboard to pull up a Youtube video of Franklin Roosevelt's speech.
  • Lines of Longitude and Latitude - I could have made an interactive map where people could find specific locations on the map. 
  • The Calvin Coolidge Presidency - I could have made a matching exercise to help students learn the important people of that era.  

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