Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Getting more out of interactive whiteboards in classrooms

Edsurge has a post by Ben Stern that gives five ways to get more value out of interactive whiteboards in K-12 classrooms. Several of the recommendations have direct or indirect bearing on eBooks:
  1. Go beyond the board's accompanying software: Instead of limiting themselves to the software that came with the whiteboard or that's sold by the whiteboard's vendors, teachers should think of their whiteboard as a big touch-sensitive PC that they and their students can play with during class. (eBooks work very well with interactive whiteboards, at a fraction of the cost of most dedicated whiteboard software.) 
  2. Bring the outside in: Anything on the Internet can be brought into the classroom through an interactive whiteboard. Stern suggests using the U.S. Debt Clock for economics discussions, 3D Toad for walking students through a dissection, Google Earth for taking a virtual walk around the Colosseum, and Google Art Project for viewing great works of art. 
  3. Combine the interactive whiteboard with web apps: Let students collaborate with the teacher and classmates via the web. Stern suggests Chatzy for private backchannel conversations, and Socrative as a free alternative to the SMART Response clickers for getting student responses. 
  4. Don't use it all the time: Use the interactive whiteboard when it makes sense for the students, not just to demonstrate that you're using it. 
  5. Let the kids use it: Even though students have powerful computers in their pockets in the form of smartphones, they love to use interactive whiteboards. Let them use them, along with the same tools that teachers have for making presentations and getting questions from their peers. 

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