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3 Tips for Using an Interactive Whiteboard in the Classroom

woman teaching in a classroom
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Most of us grew up using chalkboards in school and whiteboards in our professional lives. I imagine those analog technologies will always have a place in the world, but if you’ve ever used an interactive whiteboard, it’s clear that digital technology has a huge upside. In fact, a survey found 93 percent of educators reported that they believed interactive whiteboards helped to enrich their classroom. 

Whether you’ve been using an interactive whiteboard for years, or you’re thinking about adding it to your repertoire, here’s a few tips and tricks we’ve learned over the years to get the most out of electronic whiteboards.

1. Capture Great Ideas
The most obvious benefit of an interactive whiteboard that it is your blank canvas. Teachers can use it to make a list of subjects to research or to list the implications of whatever subject the class is discussing. Those lists can be captured, shared or even turned into the starting point for the class’ homework assignment. Simply print out the notes or publish them as a PDF to your website for later student consumption. For example, with our Sharp AQUOS boards, you can save the ink layer, then capture a screenshot that you can either print, save or post on your website.

Or, you can go beyond capturing a single page when you put your whiteboard’s screen recording tools to work. Many whiteboards make it possible to record audio and with online screen recording tools such as Jing or Screencast-o-Matic so you can create a multimedia presentation right from the content on your board.

2. Reach Students in a New Way

Perhaps the biggest advantage interactive whiteboards offer is the ability for your students to interact with the subject matter and manipulate objects right on the whiteboard. Research shows that kids learn best when lessons cater to a variety of learning styles. For example, interactive lessons that get kids up and out of their seats appeal to kinesthetic learners.

On a regular white board, you can write notes and draw diagrams to make your point. Interactive whiteboards can do things like a spotlight on a capital city on the map, slide the screen shade line-by-line to reveal text as you read or highlight words with your finger. You can also create boxes that hide text and images to reveal later in your lesson. Sections of the board can be magnified to draw attention to specific elements of your lesson such as graphs, key words or images.

And with interactive tools, instead of always calling on students who raise their hands, you can make sure everyone has a voice. Enter students’ names ahead of time in a random name generator, then choose students as their names come up. You can also use this tool to assign groups randomly for quick activities.

3. More Time for Teaching

Interactive whiteboards can support many free online resources and ready-made lesson plans available online. Graphics, sounds and special effects are ready to go; all you need to do is plug in the variables for your own lessons.

And with a wireless pad and pen, you can now control your interactive whiteboard from anywhere in the classroom, so there’s no need to turn your back on the class as you teach. You can download an app like Tether to turn your iPad into a remote controller. Students can draw or write on iPads using apps such as Ink2go or one from your manufacturer. Let you students use these tools to demonstrate understanding of math problems, label parts of a simple machine or ask a question for you or their classmates to answer, leaving you free to supervise and help individual students.

I hope these examples show how Interactive whiteboards and free online lessons and apps can combine to make the modern, digital classroom a much more enjoyable and effective learning environment. To learn more, see the interactive whiteboard options from GFC or contact us for a free consultation. 

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