Why should I use an IWB?
Interactive whiteboards offer you everything a whiteboard offers you but can add more to the classroom. Because you can move words around, make them bigger or smaller, spin them, cover them with shapes, you can make a range of impromptu games for your classes. You also never need to erase anything, which means you can revisit things you have already done in the lesson or even in previous lessons.
Recent research from the UK suggested that both students and teachers liked using IWBs.
On the one hand:
• Students feel more empowered
• Students feel more engaged
• Students feel there is more variety and interactivity
• Students feel there is more support.
• Students feel there is shared ownership in the lesson.
While teachers spoke of:
• the support for the range of learning styles
• the fact that lessons became more interactive
• learners having a role within the classroom as something other than passive recipients of knowledge.
However outside observers dispute that, they have found that IWBs encourage a direct approach to teaching, with students stuck to their desks, while classes without IWBs have more creativity and variety.
Therefore the introduction of IWB’s in the classroom alone does not transform the learning process. It is up to teachers, trainers and publishers to introduce better practices to ensure the benefits for both the teacher and the students.
• avoid chalk and talk – keep the lesson student centred, you don’t always need to be involved when the students are working with the board.
• involve the students – empower them – give them the chance to display their own things on the board or decide what to click on.
• limit IWB use – only use it when it adds something to the lesson.
• be willing to move back and forth through slides – the board allows us to move between slides, and do activities again, take advantage of this, it improves the learning experience.
• appeal to different learning styles – think of ways to appeal to visual, audio and kinaesthetic learners.
• avoid alienating students with a lack of discussion of answers – don’t rely on the computer to give the answer, discuss answers and encourage per correction.
The ability for learners to visualize a process through the sequence presented on an interactive whiteboard is an extremely powerful reason for using IWBs. The use of colours, movement, the ability to move backwards and forwards between stages of a process all provide learning reinforcement for students
Seeing the meaning. The impact of interactive whiteboards on teaching and learning Cuthell, J. P.
But in order to bring those benefits the teachers have to be willing to examine their teaching approach and adapt it to suit the IWB.