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How Can Interactive Whiteboards Be Used in the Classroom?

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Most of us grew up using chalkboards in school and traditional dry erase whiteboards in our professional lives. Those analog technologies will probably 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.

School systems and higher education institutions are among its biggest adopters, and educators appreciate how interactive whiteboards enrich their classrooms and student learning.

What is an Interactive Whiteboard?

An interactive whiteboard, sometimes called an interactive smart whiteboard or electronic whiteboard, is an educational technology tool that allows teachers to display their computer screen or mobile device’s screen onto a whiteboard mounted to a wall or mobile cart. Unlike a traditional projector and screen, students and teachers can interact, collaborate and even manipulate data on the touch screen using their finger or a stylus tool.

READ MORE: What is an Interactive Whiteboard and
How Much Does it Cost?

Whether you’ve been using an interactive digital whiteboard in the classroom for years, or you’re thinking about adding it to your technology stack, here are a few benefits and tips to get the most out of them.

  1. Capture Great Ideas
  2. Create Multimedia Presentations
  3. Teach Collaborative Problem-Solving Skills
  4. Reach Students in a New Way
  5. Keep All Students Engaged in Learning
  6. Leverage Online Resources
  7. Remain Mobile


1. Capture Great Ideas

The most obvious interactive whiteboard benefit is 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 topic is being discussed. Those lists can be captured, shared or even turned into the starting point for students’ homework assignments.

Simply print out the notes. Better yet, publish them as a PDF to your website or email them so students can access them at home. Sharing digital files helps reduce paper usage and support your school’s green initiatives. For example, with our Sharp AQUOS boards, you can save the digital ink layer, then capture a screenshot that you can save, email or post on your website.

RELATED INFOGRAPHIC: Tips to Support Green Initiatives

2. Create Multimedia Presentations

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, you can create a multimedia presentation right from the content on your board. Leveraging the many ways that whiteboards can capture information helps integrate several different learning styles, whether through visual, auditory or hands-on interactions.

3. Teach Collaborative Problem-Solving Skills

With the interactive whiteboard as the central tool, teachers can pose a question to the group and hand the reins over to students to let them solve the problem. Students can get hands-on and collaborate using the interactive whiteboard. Because it’s connected to the internet, they can use online information to help them come to a conclusion. Even remote students can participate and provide feedback in real time.

4. 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 spotlight a capital city on a map, reveal text line-by-line 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, keywords or images.

5. Keep All Students Engaged in Learning

How can interactive whiteboards keep learners engaged in the lesson? With interactive tools, instead of always calling on the students who seem to always 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. Because today’s young people are digital natives, digital whiteboard functionalities are easily adopted.

6. Leverage Online Resources

Interactive whiteboards can support many free 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, of course, in addition to online resources and text-based lessons, interactive whiteboards also support video and PowerPoint presentations.

7. Remain Mobile

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 interactive whiteboard apps to turn your iPad or other tablet into a remote controller. Students can draw or write on iPads using apps such as Ink2go or one from your manufacturer.

Let your 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.

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 Gordon Flesch Company or contact us for a free consultation.

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