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Schoolzone.co.

uk IWB guide

Getting the most out of your interactive whiteboard.


Teaching with an interactive whiteboard is an evolutionary process. An IWB is essentially a
projector-screen, except that the screen is either touch sensitive or can respond to the
touch of a special 'pen'. This means that the projector-screen can be used to interact with
the projected computer image - to launch programs, to navigate within
programs/websites/presentations, etc. This provides a more physical and intuitive way to
interact than using mouse/keyboard to navigate a computer screen which is being
projected.

IWBs have a huge advantage over individual computers and computer labs for incorporating
ICT into teaching. Teachers can provide content for a wide range of learning styles, rather
than relying on pupils 'e-learning' ICT skills while working 1:1 or 2:1 per computer. This
makes an IWB a very effective tool in pupil centred learning.

There are different types of IWB technology. These differ in whether they are operated by
touch or using a stylus. In terms of durability and functionality they are very similar. All
IWBs must be connected to a computer running appropriate software in order to function.

Promethean ActivBoard: The Promethean software provides a more integrated


environment than SmartBoard, and as a result seems to have a slight market edge over
SmartBoard in schools. It provides a presentation system, web browser, and its own file
system. This is an advantage in that the components are optimised for working together in
an IW context (e.g. images/sessions that you store can be retrieved straightforwardly), but
a disadvantage for the novice user who would normally be more familiar with their own
web browser and their computer's hard-drive system. In summary Promethean seems more
tailored/suited to school classroom teaching.

SmartBoard: The software for SmartBoard is similar to Promethean except that it takes a
more minimal approach – e.g. rather than providing you with an integrated browser it lets
you use your computer's native browser, which is an advantage for familiarity (although
Promethean's browser has some useful customisations for IW use); and SmartBoard saves its
sessions in your ordinary file space. Overall, SmartBoard seems more flexible than
Promethean, and I think it would be better for (e.g.) IT training and for seminars
(especially where 'novice' users such as invited speakers were involved).

The Mimio attaches to any ordinary whiteboard, projector screen, flipchart, or other
surface, and uses ultrasound to detect touches and penstrokes on the surface. It effectively
converts any surface into an IWB. This technology is cheaper and more portable than other
IWB options, but can suffer from slightly poorer accuracy. This type of equipment is highly
suited for recording flipchart diagrams and associated data.
Copyboards (and Mimio’s digital meeting assistant) are similar to interactive whiteboards
but do not require an LCD projector and can be used either stand alone or with a
PC/laptop.

Portable or fixed?
IWBs can be fixed to a wall or can be moveable. Portable is good for being able to use the
IWB in different rooms, of course, but the IWB and projector must be set up at the
beginning of every session to make sure that they are aligned properly. This can be a hassle
and detract from the simplicity of use of the IWB.

Technical issues
Since every IWB needs a 'host' computer with IWB software installed, either the appropriate
IW software should be installed on the local computer network or each standalone
computer.

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Issues in using an IWB

Safety note
It’s important to be aware of the health and safety implications of using projection
equipment, such as interactive whiteboards, in the classroom, particularly if children may
be standing in front of the beam to present to the rest of the class.

IWs are a highly intuitive type of technology

There are two basic functions of an IWB:


• "writing" on the board (the IW detects your touch and renders this as freeform writing –
N.B. all common IWs have character-recognition and can convert scrawls into text-
boxes) – and
• as a "mouse" – paging through a presentation, following links, double-clicking to open
an application, etc.

Some IWBs (SmartBoard) can be touched with your finger, elbow, etc., while some
(Promethean) use a stylus. There are a great deal more features available on an IW than
just clicking and writing. Specific benefits of the IWB technology include the drag-and-drop
facility for all digital content displayed and the unlimited amount of pages (which is easily
accessed in PowerPoint, but not on a blackboard or flipchart or several textbooks).

Each IWB has both character-recognition and an onscreen keyboard. A user can easily revert
to the computer keyboard when they need to do a lot of typing.

Most of the IWBs used are "front-lit" which has the drawback that your shadow will be
thrown across the screen. This front-lit nature can be a hindrance to specific tasks.

IWBs in the school?


IWBs can have a profound effect on teaching and learning within a dynamic teaching
environment. They enable ready access by ANY person irrespective of their individual
learning needs (Sld/ pmld and mld). They can be easily linked to augmentative
communication aids (e.g. soundbeam, Writing with symbols ) as well as a diverse array of
conventional peripheral hardware.

Resource Creation
The instructions for many software packages do not tell the whole story. Teachers need to
know how to use the software and hardware in ways in which it was not necessarily
intended. This is the real challenge and indeed fun of working with interactive content in a
whole class situation.

Exploring the concept of symmetry


Rather than completing symmetry tasks for pictures from a book, pupils identified symmetrical
objects in the room and a digital photo was taken of the object. The photo was displayed on
the I W B and a white square was placed over half of the object, along the line of
symmetry, covering half the image. The pupils estimated and drew the outline of the covered half
of the object, drawing on top of the white square. The white square was moved away and the
pupils were able to assess the accuracy of their estimation of symmetry. The most engaging
symmetrical object was students’ faces.

Scanning of written work to facilitate group drafting / correction


After the completion of a writing activity a student is chosen to have their work scanned and
displayed on the IWB. The class c a n then discuss the work, using the pens to annotate changes
that they might make and correcting mistakes. All pupils are motivated to complete high quality
work and the proof reading skills of the entire class can increase markedly.

Cloze using class books

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Instead of using a cloze exercise from a pre-prepared set of exercises, a page from a current
book that the class is reading is scanned and displayed on the IWB. By using a thick pen width
and changing the pen colour to white the teacher can draw over selected words, hiding them. The
result is an instant cloze exercise, set in the context of the pupil’s learning. Upon correcting the
exercise all that is required is to move the ‘white pen’ away from the covered word.

Cloze using daily news papers


Pupils who do not normally engage in books could be motivated to read and complete a cloze
exercise by creating a cloze exercise using short newspaper articles downloaded from the
Internet.

Brainstorming / Mind mapping software


Brainstorming and Mind Mapping software such as SMART Ideas or Inspiration6 are very
effective in facilitating and recording group discussions relating to complex themes and topics.
These types of software packages often allow lines to be drawn between issues or facts displaying
connections in a visual manner. The addition of sound and various images enables a highly
interactive summary of individual and whole class ideas. It becomes a powerful revision and
extension tool when accessed individually or by the whole class. Most programs of this type
allow this visual mind map to be converted into a series of grouped dot points that could be used
by a class as an outline of an essay plan, or as a review of what ideas/knowledge they already hold
and what they want to find out.

Weather
During a lesson on interpreting weather maps, the teacher can simultaneously access a number
of real time satellite and radar images from meteorology web sites. Using the interactive
whiteboard they could discuss and annotate the images. Based on their learning of weather
formations the class can make predictions as to the current weather conditions at various major
cities around the world. The class can then check their predictions by accessing real-time images
from those cities via web cams from each city.

The Internet for comparisons of two sides of an issue


When a class discusses a controversial issue, the Internet can be used to source information and
arguments relating to both sides of the issue. The class could then compare and contrast the points
of view put forward by both sides, perhaps summarising the arguments in using mind mapping
software as outlined above. Many aspects of citizenship and PSHE can be accommodated effectively
with access to specific web sites. Views discussed can be recorded either by digital camera, text or
recorded speech and reviewed on the IWB.

Feelings
In discussing, with the concept of feelings and teaching pupils appropriate ways to respond to
however they are feeling at any given time, a class can brainstorm onto the interactive whiteboard
different feelings that they might have at school. Each pupil can then act out one type of
feeling. A digital camera can be used to capture an image of each child while acting a
feeling. These can then be pasted onto a feelings page on the IWB for further reference
throughout lessons.

Class role
Digital photos c a n b e taken of all pupils and then placed into a PowerPoint slideshow or other
suitable program. Pupils can then sign in and are welcomed into the class in a way where they see
the photo displayed and as such c a n feel a sense of immediate engagement with the lesson. A
‘Pupil of the day/ lesson’ can also be posted.

Modelling appropriate behaviour


Within some classes it is common for teachers to take digital photos/ video of the class or
individual when they are modelling appropriate behaviour. These photos can then be displayed on
the interactive whiteboard when that behaviour is desired. This can be used in circle time and science
practical sessions to highlight safe practice in the science lab.

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Teaching handwriting
IWBs have a record function that allows a short period of interaction with the board to be
recorded and replayed. This feature can be used when teaching or reinforcing handwriting skills.
The teacher can use a handwriting software suite or merely write the letter or letters being learnt
onto the board and record this process. The recording can be replayed on a continuous loop,
allowing pupils working within the class to view constant reinforcement of the correct process.

Editing poor reading


Using appropriate software or viewing a word/ textease document that the pupil has prepared
or chosen from the Internet, pupils with poor reading skills can make recordings of themselves
reading extracts from a story. This allows the pupils to edit out any pauses or errors. The edited
sound file can be combined with either scanner pictures from the book, or student drawn
illustrations to create a digital talking storybook (e.g. in PowerPoint), which can be presented
to the class via the interactive whiteboard. Textease has a function which allows text to be read and
this can be used as a whole class or individual scaffold for pupils gaining confidence in sharing reading
with the whole class.

Traditionally, editing of pupils’ written work can be done by either the teacher collecting
the books and marking them, of the teacher marking them one on one with the students.

These are still valuable methods of editing, but with the IWB and a scanner, pupils can
volunteer their work to be edited by the class. The rest of the class scans the work and
tries to find mistakes in spelling or grammar or to highlight success. This activity empowers
the development of pupils’ ability to critically analyse, edit and fine-tune a piece of
writing. All pupils are thus able to discuss the issues and corrections and from that the
whole class gets the benefit of the editing process and sharing a successful outcome.

Virtual tours
Many tourist attractions have created virtual tour of the attraction placed on the Internet. These
tours can be used to orientate and focus the class prior to an excursion to the site. Equally it is
often not possible to visit the physical location or attraction, a virtual tour is a good
substitute

Communicating daily routines


Teachers are able to outline the structure and sequence of the lesson on a Notebook page.
The software allows the easy incorporation of text and graphic. The ability to quickly move
between pages within notebook allows the teacher to easily refer back to the lesson structure when
needed. It is an intuitive way for all involved in the lesson experience to check that learning intentions
and learning outcomes have been successfully achieved.

Sentence structure
A seemingly random set of words and grammatical notations can be placed on a page. Pupils can
be asked to create statements by dragging the words into a correct order. Pupils can then be asked
to rearrange the statement, changing it into a question.

Sentence structure
Retrieving saved work and previous lessons allow teachers to point out links between
different areas of the curriculum. Pupils can then discuss previous pieces of work that they have
completed and make their own links within the curriculum topic and highlight any cross curricular
links.

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Forensic science
The IWB allows pupils to take on the role of the detective. You can place a scanned print
into notebook giving each print its own page. Place the lifted print into its own notebook
page and use the function to make it about 50% transparent. This allows you to overlay the
print onto the already stored prints.

The pupils can then go through the available prints until they are able to identify the print
of the guilty person.

There are also a variety of CD ROM and Internet maths games (primary maths, count on –
mathsyear2000, that are very engaging and beneficial when teaching numeracy concepts.

It is also possible to link a microscope/ video camera to observe animal’s real time
behaviours with a webcam link to other animals (e.g. africam ).
The use of digital recording of experiments enable playback and annotation/editing as part
of the review process.
IWB uses in drama/ media in science (or any curriculum area) provide a useful analytical
tool for gaining a wider understanding of science in the 21st century.

Summary
Digital convergence in a classroom context is the ability to capture and present information in a
usable form from a variety of ICT devices and digital information sources. Interactive
whiteboards allow teachers to teach multi-sensory lessons, seamlessly jumping from one type of
digital media to another. Teachers can easily introduce text, sound, video, graphics and
interactivity based on the tactile nature of the board. These combined with other skills tha t the
te a che r ho ld s provides a teaching and learning environment where providing for different
learning styles, and teaching a variety of literacy skills is the norm.
The nature of the interactivity and the images that can be used to reinforce learning is
vital in teaching all pupils. To participate in the learning process empowers pupils to
engage in a way that would not normally be possible in a classroom situation, adding to the
richness to the learning experience.
By passing around an infra-red graphics tablet, keyboard or mouse each pupil including
those in wheelchairs can participate with ease and can make their unique contribution to
the lesson.
The possibilities are endless, although it must be noted that as any other teaching method,
the excitement of using the technology can wane if over used and a range of approaches is
essential to maintain interest and enthusiasm.

An IWB allows the information used within a lesson to come from a variety of different types of
media. Digital cameras can provide still images and video that are set in the context of the
children; microphones can capture voice and the sounds of the local environment; CD and
DVD facilities can bring a wide range of music and video experiences that can be readily included
into lessons. Scanners can convert the work of pupils (writing, charts, concept cartoons, drawings
and diagrams) into a digital form.
They can also digitise books and other paper based resources relevant to the class. The Internet
can provide text, sound, graphics and video, as well as interactive software. Interactive
educational software is a great source of digital content to enrich a lesson.

With this wide array of digital sources to call upon teaching and learning naturally transpires in a
multi-media, multi-sensory environment.

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Educational Benefits of IWBs for Teaching and Learning


What the Research Says about Interactive Whiteboards, BECTA, 2003 - This paper begins
with a brief description of the components of an IWB, along with its educational uses and
benefits. It describes itself as a 'snapshot of the current research literature' and includes
comprehensive references to further reading.

Interactive Whiteboards and Learning: A Review of Classroom Case Studies and Research
Literature, 2004 - This document is produced by SMART Technologies, the company who
make SMARTboards. It is a summary of the identified benefits of IWBs in classrooms;
including student engagement, providing for varying learning styles and catering for
students with special needs. It has an excellent reference list with links to further
information on IWB use.

Interactive Whiteboards and Teaching, October 2004 - This web page is produced by a
company promoting the use of IWBs in schools. It highlights the role the teacher plays in
using the IWB, from 'just' a whiteboard to a digital convergence facility; and outlines the
implications this has on student learning. This site emphasises the need for ongoing teacher
support in developing ICT and IWB skills, and includes links to further reading.

Interactive Whiteboards and the Journey to 'e-teaching', Peter Kent, 2004 - This short
article describes the whole school strategy undertaken by Richardson Primary in the
implementation of IWBs in classrooms. Kent describes the benefits to teachers and students
of 'e-teaching', including student motivation, engagement and educational achievement.

The Educational Effects and Implications of the Interactive Whiteboard Strategy of


Richardson Primary School: A Brief Review, 2003 - This document reviews an Australian
research project investigating IWB use in schools, emphasising the ability of IWBs to
immerse students in ICT use. The article includes anecdotal interviews with teachers,
parents and students, highlighting their perceptions of the benefits of IWB technology for
student learning.

Teachers Tell their Story: Interactive Whiteboards at Richardson Primary School, June 2004 -
This article focuses on the impact IWBs have had on teachers and teaching at one school.
Findings include: * IWBs enthuse teachers and inspire them to teach 'smarter' * IWBs are an
effective tool to enhance student learning * Teachers become more creative and include
more lateral thinking in lesson design * Students can gain immediate feedback on their work
* Teachers can effectively model research skills. The report emphasises the need for
ongoing research into the impact of IWB use on student learning.

The Digital Whiteboard: A Tool in Early Literacy Instruction - This is a summary of one
teacher's journey through introducing and using an IWB with her class for the purpose of
teaching early literacy skills. It includes descriptions of processes used and skills gained by
students through the use of a SMARTboard.

Further Reading and Lesson Samples

Getting the Most from your Interactive Whiteboard: A Guide for Primary Schools, 2004 - This
comprehensive article provides practical advice about IWBs; including their effective use in
classrooms and research evidence of their benefits. The key feature of this technology is
identified as being its ability to be used for whole-class teaching, including modelling,
demonstration, probing and questioning; and involving students in visual, aural and
kinaesthetic modes of learning. It includes sample lessons across a range of key learning
areas.

National Whiteboard Network - Review and Implement, 2004 - This British web site contains
information on the use of IWBs in teaching, including FAQs and a Help site on SMART
Notebook files for use with a SMARTboard. It includes links to documents on the ICT
learning environment, and learning and teaching using ICT.

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Finding and Using Digital Resources with an Interactive Whiteboard - This easy to read web
page provides teachers with ways to effectively use digital, interactive web sites in their
IWB lesson preparation. It outlines what to look for when searching the Internet, and
contains links to copyright laws and guidelines for creating effective resources.

Becta's ICT Advice section is excellent.


http://www.ictadvice.org.uk/index.php?section=te&catcode=as-pres_02

The University of Hull maintains an excellent resource at http://www.thereviewproject.org

The Oxfordshire LEA has an extensive collection of teaching materials, particularly for
primary schools at http://www.ict.oxon-lea.gov.uk/whiteboards.html

The Topmarks site at http://www.topmarks.co.uk/Interactive.aspx is particularly relevant


for primary school teachers.

SMART Technologies has its own EdCompass site for teachers. See
http://www.edcompass.smarttech.com/

Promethean, the developers of ACTIVboard have resources on their site at


http://www.promethean.co.uk/downloads/activities.htm

NCTE (National Centre for Technology in Education) - Interactive ...


... Optimal use of an interactive whiteboard involves both the teacher and students
using it in a classroom situation. It can, for example, be used to: ...
www.ncte.ie/ICTAdviceSupport/ AdviceSheets/InteractiveWhiteboards/ - 40k - 2 Mar 2005 -
Cached - Similar pages

How to Use interactive whiteboards in the classroom... Pupils can benefit from the full
range of educational software without having to wait for a turn on the computer when a
teacher uses an interactive whiteboard. ...
www.curriculumonline.gov.uk/ Howto/howtouseinteractivewhiteboards.htm - 48k -

Recommended websites

For Secondary Science, teachers have recommended the following websites for use on
whiteboards:

How Stuff Works: There are some excellent resources here, especially some of the
animations. However, there is a lot of text which may not display well on a board. This site
would be useful for taking 'snapshots / screenshots' into the board software.
Froguts: Online virtual dissections. Step by step dissections with good visibility of internal
organs.
The Virtual Body: Animated guided tours of the Heart, the Brain, the Skeleton and the
Digestive System. Speakers required as there is a spoken voiceover.
Dispersal of Dandelion seeds: Video clip in slow motion
Blinking eye: Slow motion video clip
Electric Circuits: Useful revision of work which pupils will have covered at a basic level in
primary schools; lively on-screen display and sensible questions.
Great Barr School PowerPoints: Lots of ready-made PowerPoint presentations for
Chemistry & Physics. Looks like Biology is on the way too. There is a pull-down menu with
other Science resources too. Avoid 'death by PowerPoint' by getting the pupils to ask and
answer lots of questions as you go along!

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skool.co.uk: A collection of resources in Macromedia Flash which covers many Science


topics. Good diagrams, opportunities to pause and annotate over presentations and some
'test' questions. Resize your screen to 800x600 if necessary to avoid other windows being
seen around the edge of the resource.
KS3: Biology / Chemistry / Physics
KS4: Biology / Chemistry / Physics

From the FERL showcase:

Demonstrating Transformation (FPP6)


This self-paced learning module guides you through the key issues in how e-learning can be
effectively managed for success at inspection.

"How Tos"
From this Technology resource bank, use the "TYPE" drop down box to select from hundreds
of step-by-step guides contributed by teachers, trainers and support staff. Browse through
the catalogue or type into the box below "TYPE" to search for particular topics

Advice on VLEs
An ideal introduction to Virtual Learning Environments, this area brings together advice,
models and examples from across the post-16 sector, for choosing, managing and teaching
with learning platforms

Resource Creation
A popular area on Ferl, this showcases the opportunities offered by commonly-used
software to enrich and customise learning resources. With basic ILT skills and some
inspiration, you can create engaging content

Teaching Resource Bank


This resource bank is packed with resources created by teaching staff. Use the "TYPE" drop
down box to choose teaching resources that you can download and edit yourself. Browse
into the catalogue to find your subject, or try typing your topic and clicking "GO".

Recommended Software
For Secondary Science, teachers have recommended to us the following software for use on
whiteboards:
Multimedia Science School: High quality diagrams, animations and video clips. (Ph / Chem /
Bio)
The Chemistry Set: (New Media Productions) This is a multimedia database of elements,
with many photos and video clips. Pupils jumped in surprise as they were shown a video clip
of the reaction between sodium and water - one which would be impossible to replicate in
front of a class! [Read a review]
Counting Thoughts software: Higher level Physics, designed for the interactive whiteboard.
Recommended by unknown source.

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