Interactive whiteboards (IWBs) are a common classroom resource in this era. Many schools and school board districts have reported the benefits of improved teaching and learning opportunities across the curriculum. While there are benefits to using interactive whiteboards, the positive results may not be realized if the teacher has a lack of confidence using this technology. Therefore we have created a basic guide to using your IWB to deliver improved lessons. The integration of the interactive whiteboard encourages teachers to manipulate the technology in order to encourage and develop active learning. Effective use of an interactive whiteboard supports and extends a wider range of learning styles.
Barriers to Delivering Improved Lessons With Technology
Schools are sometimes reticent to recognise the benefits that technology offers to children. Also, a child’s technological ability often outweighs that of the teacher (Burns, 2012). This creates a clear barrier to using technology in education effectively. A report written by Becta in 2004 on ‘a review of the research literature on barriers to the uptake of AV (audio/video) by teachers’ evidences many factors to illustrate this gap. For example:
“Resistance to change is a factor which prevents full integration of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the classroom.” “A very significant determinant of teachers’ levels of engagement in ICT is their level of confidence in using the technology. Teachers who have little or no confidence in using computers in their work will try to avoid them altogether.”
(Dawes, 2000; Larner and Timberlake, 1995; Russell and Bradley, 1997, 2011 reviewed)
Therefore in order to use AV technology successfully in education, these barriers need to be broken down.
The first step in overcoming these barriers is to understand the IWB itself and how its functionality can improve learning. Therefore we have produced a guide to document the IWB main features which will help deliver improved lessons.
Overview of Interactive Whiteboards (IWB)
Most IWBs are purchased with their own software that has:
- A design area
- Blank pages to create teaching materials
- Digital assets such as images, video or audio clips
- A flipchart or transparent layer that can run at the same time as other applications (web browsers, word processors, spread sheets) allowing the user to handwrite with pens and highlighters. This is not possible with a mouse on a computer screen. Different pen colours are available, which can be used to enhance the teaching and learning process.
Interactive Lessons and Classroom Activities
The IWB allows teachers to create resources, which pupils will find motivating and fun. For example, hiding and revealing text, images and sound, allowing pupils to hypothesise and make suggestions.
IWB Templates, Themes and Backgrounds
Using templates or themes provides a structure for teachers to manage the work on the board. These resources are time-saving and visual, enabling pupils to access resources which could be more difficult using traditional methods.
Shapes and Other Objects
Some of the available interactive whiteboards provide visual functionality useful for mathematics and scientific subjects when dealing with abstract concepts. Manipulation can be done by the teacher to demonstrate these functions at the board therefore saving time.
Access to Multimedia Files During Your Lessons
Sound, moving and still image files are readily accessible using IWBs. This can be useful as an additional presentation of a concept to bring something to life.
For many topics, teachers now have access to a wide variety of materials, which can be explored on the whiteboard. An increasing amount of software and content is designed specifically for use with interactive whiteboards, such as the interactive teaching programs (ITPs) being developed to support the Primary Strategy.
Pupils receive immediate feedback on activity on the board. They become confident and take risks knowing that the flexibility and functionality in the software means that they can learn through trial and error.
Using these tools improves lesson delivery because according to the US department of Labour:
- In many studies, experimental psychologists and educators have found that retention of information three days after a meeting or other event is six times greater when information is presented by visual and oral means than when the information is presented by the spoken word alone.
- Studies by educational researchers suggest that approximately 83% of human learning occurs visually, and the remaining 17% through the other senses – 11% through hearing, 3.5% through smell, 1% through taste, and 1.5% through touch.
- The studies suggest that three days after an event, people retain 10% of what they heard from an oral presentation, 35% from a visual presentation, and 65% from a visual and oral presentation.
Therefore creating an interactive learning environment through the IWB engages student’s attention better which leads to an improved learning outcome.