In 2013, I feel very far from the time all teachers were writing with chalks on a green board all class long. For students, it was death to recopy everything in our ‘Canada book’ whatever was the topic or the project. Beside the projectors and the photocopies, it was in fact almost the only option teachers had. But, decade or so earlier, the Interactive White Boards (IWB) have made their apparition and became with years a very revolutionary tool for teaching. Even if many teachers don’t use them yet, the IWB is known by most people in education and is an important point of interest because of two principal reasons. It is a tool by itself, but also, it acts as the link that allows us to use other applications on a variety of websites. The IWB is the technology I really want to integrate in your classroom because I believe it will help me to improve my teaching method. I will give you many ideas of application and explain why I think the IWB can help me in my tasks in general.
1- The first advantage of having an IWB in classroom is that it is easy to use for everyone with some basic instructions. Thus, I can be used by student of all grades, even kindergarten. The only thing I need to determine before class is the kind of activity and tools that I can and want to use with the students, based on the age range of the group. The IWB is a very good source of motivation for learners. In fact, everybody wants to be the one who use it during an activity. I had the occasion to see students of many grades working with an IWB during class and they really enjoy using it (with tool as pens and erase, or simply with their finger). They seem more concentrated on what they are doing and learning just because of their interest in this new technology. Also, as classrooms usually only have one IWB, students see the occasion to play with it like a favor, so they usually behave well during activities to be sure to be allowed to play again soon.
Thus, I think that using IWB will help me, as a teacher, to increase the participation and interest of students during more boring or difficult theories. It will help me to manage the classroom at a certain point, as it permits to integrate new enjoyable pair and team activities where everyone can participate equally. I really think that students with concentration difficulties will be more concentrated and will remember more what they just have learnt.
2- The second advantage of using an IWB is the fact that students don’t spend the day on sited in their chair. They MOVE! What could be better? I am part of those who think that kids never move enough. It is proved that we learn better by doing, so let them move by using the IWB. It forces them to be more active during all activities; it keeps their attention on their personal tasks and team goals, and creates an active and productive class environment.
As a teacher, I really think that a IWB will help me to keep the classroom more quiet because the students can concentrate their energy on doing class activities that request to move instead of bothering other classmates and the teacher. With an activity like ‘fill the blank’ it is easy to make all students participate actively.
3- The third advantage of using an IWB is the important fact that it is the perfect occasion for students to benefit from cooperative learning. I imagine doing an activity of association image-word with elementary children. With a person rotation, they will have the same chance to participate. They can work together, learn to work with others, share their ideas, and have their voice and importance in a group.
As a teacher, I think that would help me because my students will become more and more sociable and active in the classroom. While they will work together, the student with a higher comprehension level will help others and that would facilitate my role of teacher. Thus, if some students act as teachers in their respective team, it helps me but also, in the same time, they increase their self confidence while helping the teammates. Also, the students will certainly assimilate everything more quickly as they share the information together using speaking, writing, listening and reading.
4- As the IWB works with a computer, we can always show any kind of document or website on the screen, open the software that come with the IWB, and use the tools to highlight or add some information while you talk. I will be able to save my documents with this new information and keep it, instead of losing it forever. So, quickly, you can take information taught some weeks or months ago, and do a revision. The tools offer many good and useful options as using the database of images. I can write, highlight, underline, put in bold, italic, etc., create a chart, and so on. So it becomes a teaching method more efficient because, by using IWB’s tools, I can bring their attention on important things. Also, when I was in Alberta, I remember teachers using it during breaks. When it was too cold outside or when students were too active and noisy, they were using videos from Internet to make them move in the class. There are many videos created expressly for classroom. Only 10 minutes sometimes can help you to take control of their energy.
Thus, as a teacher, the IWB is a wonderful source of images. It will help me to save a lot of time doing researches on Internet as I can look by topic and find nice and colored images. I don’t need to identify the sources for the utilization of the document in classroom. The tools are very easy to use so I can do everything I think of just by using its applications. It helps teachers to create interesting visuals. Moreover, the possibility to work directly on website pages is a big evolution as it is much more easier than copy everything on a paper, do the design, add pictures, record everything with sources, etc., much more attractive and cheaper that printing sheets for all students (as we save paper and color inks by using animated websites), and much more faster as I can improvise and go on a website as we talk during classroom, without any previous preparation. It is time saver. Finally, the IWB can help me in class management when I make them move for a moment, in the way to reduce their uncontrolled excitement, by using a funny video explaining the new topic. It helps to keep or bring back their attention.
To conclude, there is no doubt that the Interactive White Board will be part of my classroom as it facilitates so much my work as teacher and brings so many good advantages for students in the improvement of personal and learning skills from day to day. If the IWB is now one of the first scholar materials that our government invests in, it is certainly because teachers who have tried it see significant improvement in their teaching method. Giving a place to the IWB in my classroom seems natural to me as it is an open door on the world of new technologies that the education system needed for the application of the new teaching convention.