Topic of Interest – IWBs

Hello fellow educators and Bloggers.

I have been looking into IWBs through my PLN as they are a resource commonly used at the site of my professional experience (PE) placement and are becoming more widely used through many schools.  I have had the opportunity to work with IWB’s before but usually with Flip Charts that other teachers have created or with interactive games/activities.  I wanted to improve my skills on the IWB being used at my PE site as I was hoping to use this resource often and I wanted to be able to effectively integrate it not just use it because it was there.

My first task was to work through the EDC3100 moodle on IWBs where I learned some interesting things such as:

  • Different components and types of IWBs,
  • Different peripherals that can be added including learner response systems (LRS),
  • Using tablets, phones, etc., in conjunction with IWBs,
  • Creating screen casts, as well as
  • Hints, tips and challenges.

From this I realised that there are many different software packages and boards so I decided to investigate the board and software being used at my PE site, which is Promethean ACTIVstudio PE.  I looked on line and discovered that there is a dedicated site for Promethean users called Promethean Planet.  This site is “created by teachers for teachers” and aims to share resources and information.  While I found some pre-created resources I could purchase and use on the boards I was not able to find any information on how to use the particular system in operation at my PE site.  What I did find however were Flip Chart Fundamentals, Top Teaching Tips and ActivTips, which are video tutorials for working with ACTIVInspire.  While these videos used tools not available in my system it was very interesting learning about some tools that new Promethean software can run including combined pen and touch manipulations, ActivSlate and learner response systems .  

I decided to go back to my search and discovered there was a PDF document called ACTIVstudio: Professional Edition: User Guide.  

This guide was full of the exact information I was looking for and by having beside me as I investigated the board and software I quickly got a feel for how they worked.  I then got busy and created my first simple Flip Chart to be used in one of my lessons.

I also looked at YouTube for videos, I’m a bit of a visual learner, and found the following video which shows some basic tips including calibrating the board and using the toolbar. 

I also viewed the Cambridge University Press video, along with others in the series, in the EDC3100 moodle on IWBs discussing what IWBs are, the different kinds available, how to use the tools available and how to combine it with the internet.

I also found this video on how to make Flip Charts with reveal panels from Pablo Diaz, 

and this video outlining how to use Flip Charts in Promethean.

My next step was to look through my reader account and I quickly discovered lots of fellow pre-service teachers are also trying to come to grips with IWBs and discussing their experiences with them on PE such as in My Smart Classroom Blogs and Rachel’s Blog.  Others, like me, have been investigating IWBs as a ‘Topic of Interest’.  Cheyenne Sprange chose to investigate the pros and cons of IWBs and shared some interesting and relevant research and Fawn also looked at and interesting article called “Guidelines for effective school/classroom use of Interactive Whiteboards” by Diana Bannister (2010), which discusses, among other things, the positive effect IWBs have had on teacher practice as well as some of the challenges faced.  MrsGrimshaw on the other hand considered different applications for IWBs, reasons for using IWBs and some tips that can help with them.

All in all I have found quite a lot of information to help me in learning how to use IWBs to integrate ICTs into learning.  While I have already engaged in using some of these activities there are others that I am very interested in having an opportunity to engage with further – particularly the LRS and ActivSlates.  I can really see the potential for these with engaging a wider range of learners and abilities – particularly those who may be shy to openly participate in discussions.  If you have any more videos or tips please feel free to share them.


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