An Interactive White Board is a large screen, resembling a projector, which allows teachers (or whoever else requires this type of tool) to write, touch, scroll, and animate. Basically it’s a giant touch screen. One can project a document and highlight, write, underline and draw. A teacher can add notes, annotate and underline important aspects of a document and then send it to the students so they have a replica of what was done in class. Several activities are actually created specifically for the IWB. On this interesting website, I was actually introduced to a number of advantages to using the IWB in class. For example, the IWB is actually a very good alternative to, and I quote, “technophobe” teachers (we all know one, let’s be honest) because this type of white board is so user friendly and similar to a regular computer and whiteboard. And of course, there are the unfortunate disadvantages which range from the high cost and possible technical problems taking time away from class.
But here’s the thing.
Interactive White Boards are now part of my reality. Whether I like it or not, I will most likely end up using this tool later on when I am teaching. I can’t say that I dislike this tool, because I honestly believe there are interesting sides to using it and there are a lot of advantages to using the IWB. I sometimes have a hard time really grasping the usefulness of this tool, but whenever I go deeper into the possibilities I feel like an idiot because there are so many reasons why using this tool is pretty great!
While searching for different ways to integrate the IWB into my teaching, I came across an interesting website which included videos of ways to integrate IWB in the classroom. The videos included different demonstrations and ideas in which to use the IWB. Personally, I would integrate the IWB in the most basic manner. I am no “technophobe”, but I don’t think technology needs to be all impressive and complicated to be interesting. After reading this webpage, I realized that I actually enjoy some of the proposed ideas. I love the idea of projecting files, activities, and information. I love the idea of having students come up front and write in answers to ESL questions or classroom activities, and being able to add notes and highlight important facts myself and sending it to students rather than have them not pay attention and do it themselves. I could have grammar activities, where I leave blank spots for the students to write the correct response. I could create activities where they need to use the board themselves and at the end of each class, I just save where we stopped and go from there the next day.
My favourite thing about this tool is that it’s not complicated and can be used everyday in class and be effective. It doesn’t impose much change in the classroom. What I mean by that is that it doesn’t require students to change their habits that much, they just get to look at a projection and a cool marker that writes on the projection and participating in technology. No matter what teaching-style I develop, the IWB works. I can use it at all levels, and I can use it with all students. It would make my teaching better because of all the reasons I mentioned above. Because of all the things I can do with this tool, and all the ways it makes teaching easier for me, and all the ways it makes learning more motivating for the students. Classes can become fun with this tool, and not just note taking and boring grammar lessons. Of course a IWB may not be necessary to have fun, but considering that technology is slowly becoming more and more popular in education, students will start expecting these tools which immediately makes traditional classes boring.