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Published by: harrisonmike on Jun 18, 2012
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Interactive Whiteboard Basics,Teaching and Learning Conference 15 June 2012Mike Harrison
 This session was intended as a brief look at some features of the interactive whiteboards andclassroom computers, and how these can be best used in our teaching. The following features andtools were discussed and some activities were presented and suggested to people who came to thesessions.
 Before starting a lesson where I intend to use an interactive whiteboard, I always try to get into theclassroom before the session actually starts. It is a good idea to check whether the board is workingand set up properly. Turn the board and computer on. Then check the
by touching yourfinger (or the special pen if using a
board) and checking if the
mouse cursor
comes upwhere you touch. If it does not appear where you touch the board, you will need to
. In thebottom right corner of the screen look for either
boards) or
). The latter is found under the blue SMARTboard icon.
Tools to engage students
You can find the first two of these under the SMART Toolsmenu. This software is (as far as I know) installed on computerswith
Screen shade
This is a tool that covers the interactive whiteboard screen with a grey-coloured shade, andcan be used much as you would if you wanted to cover a standard whiteboard. The shade canbe used to hide the screen, and you can also move the edges up/down or left/right. This canalso be done from the computer itself if you are not tall enough to reach the top of theboard. I use this to play memory games with my students, e.g. by showing them a picture,hiding it, and then asking them questions about it. You could do this when you have adiagram, chart, picture or list of key words/terminology, etc. on the board. This could bedone as a session goes on or simply used as a warmer at the start of a session.
 This tool covers the whole screen with a layer, that can be transparent or opaque, with asection acting like a spotlight to highlight a particular area of the screen. This can berectangular, an ellipse or a star shape. You can move the spotlight by touching the cartoonspotlight image (see below to the bottom right of the area that is spotlit) and change the sizeof the spotlight by touching the edge (the blue line) and dragging your finger/the pen.
 This is standard on any Windows PC and can usually be found in the Start Menu. If it is not
there, type ‘magnifier’ in the search bar and it should show up. A point was made in thesession to make it easier to find this tool by ‘pinning’ it to the Start Menu or the Task Bar (the
row of icons at the bottom of your computer screen). To do this,
Right click
on the Magnifier
icon and choose ‘Pin to… Start Menu/Task Bar’.
This tool is good for making whatever you show on the whiteboard more accessible as youcan make it bigger (particularly helpful for students with vision problems, or largeclassrooms). The tool looks like this when it is opened, and has options for the magnified areabeing full screen, a lens (shown below) or a docked format. I find the first two options mostuseful. The cog-shaped icon opens a box where you can change certain settings, e.g. thewidth and height of the lens.
Working with Notebook
This is the software used when you are actually using the interactivewhiteboard as a whiteboard. Again it can be found under the blue SMART icon.The big advantage is that you can save your boardwork and do not need toerase everything when moving on to a new topic, or simply when you run out of space!You can save this as a Notebook file, which can then be opened when you areback in the classroom with the interactive whiteboard. If you want to editNotebook files from your desk computer, request the software from ITNS (Thesoftware is
SMART Notebook
). I am not sure about printing directly fromNotebook, and so recommend other ways of doing this and savingyour boardwork.
This option is found under the File menu in Notebook and allowsyou to save your boardwork in a number of formats. The mostuseful, in my opinion, are as
or as
.In my experience, the best format for saving it as images is
.This file type is most easily viewable on all computers. Notebook
will save a different image file for each ‘board’ you have written
on in Notebook.PDF means Portable Document Format and is a very easy to usefile format. It can be read on any computer with a PDF Reader (e.g. Adobe on our collegecomputers) and is a small file, so can be easily uploaded to Moodle or shared via email.

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