Interactive White Board (IWB) Technology In the Classroom
Successful teaching and learning has always been multimodal, providing students the opportunity to engage in a variety of learning methods that tap into their Multiple Intelligences. Teachers have created a variety of opportunities for students to engage with print in ways that address their personal interests and intelligences, such as presenting music, visuals, and dramatizations to support instruction.“To continue to think of learning only in terms of writing and speech is problematic and serves to highlight what Underwood (1999) has called the ‘cultural chasm’ between the ‘world of words’ occupied by teachers and other adults and the ‘visual world’ of children (Jewitt, p.97).” Providing multimodal opportunities for learning using digital tools (such as books on CD-Rom, digital flashcards, web-based spelling games, and on-line videos) broadens and reshapes students’ conceptions of literacy. At the same time, teachers are able to search online for multimedia to support instruction, thus simplifying a task that traditionally took a little more leg-work. The benefits are two-fold: students are engaged in tasks which are enjoyable and relevant in today’s digital climate, and teachers have more time to focus on formative assessment and student feedback. “Research on the use of interactive white boards (IWBs) in English language learning showed improved standardized test scores (López study, 2009). Another study showed that students’ whole word recognition was improved through teachers’ use of multimedia software (Taylor, 14).”
My Experience with IWB Technology
I myself have witnessed a significant increase in student engagement through the use of IWB technology. Several years ago, a Promethean Board was installed in my Special Education classroom. By using ActivInspire software and tools, the board is a fully interactive teaching tool.I am able to create flipchart units rich in multimodal information which reflects my curriculum based teaching goals, and use them in the classroom to engage students with a variety of learning profiles. An invaluable resource is Promethean Planet, where I am able to download interactive flipchart presentations for students.The beauty of all the flipcharts on Promethean planet is that they are fully customizable, and can be altered in order to reflect your teaching needs. SMART Exchange also has a website full of free resources that can be used with the Promethean board! My students enjoy the experience of reading along with poems or text excerpts, and engaging in interactive activities. Often, during a work-period, small groups of students review the concepts taught in the previous lesson by completing activities at the IWB, and saving the work, so I can assess it later. “There is consensus that the use of ICT can enable a differentiated approach to instruction, and that there is a real need for transformative teacher practices that move from instructing to facilitating (Taylor, p.16).“ Through the use of interactive whiteboard technology, I am able to facilitate students’ learning in ways which are multimodal.
However, not all teachers are confident users of computer technology, and the introduction of a whiteboard in the classroom may be anxiety-provoking. Teachers who have been in the classroom using traditional teaching strategies for ten or more years may not be confident computer users. I myself entered my teaching career looking for ways to differentiate my instruction, often bringing videos, puppets, boxes of manipulatives, and other materials into the classroom to support my instruction. Through university, I used a computer to type my papers, but had no internet access through the course of my studies, unless I visited the school library. I am not a digital native, nor was I a proficient computer user until quite recently in my career. Despite my late entry into the world of digital technology, the introduction of a Promethean board in my classroom was a welcome challenge, as I realized that the moment I touched the pen to the board, my students were hooked!
What are your experiences with using IWB technology in your classroom?