I found Dabbleboard today after posting that last article about interactive whiteboards. Just thought I would share. This looks like it might be easier to use than the software installed on my teacher computer and it’s web-based and has a free sign-up. It also has the advantage of being collaborative so the possibility to use this in a computer lab or when your students each have a computer in front of them is there. Your students could then add to the drawing.
I read this great post on tweenteacher.com about interactive whiteboards. I am blessed to be in a great classroom with a mounted projector and an interactive whiteboard (it’s interactive with a stylus not by touch) but I have been struggling to find ways to use the interactive whiteboard bit and I couldn’t figure out why that is. Isn’t it every teacher’s dream to have a setup like this in their classroom? I think Heather from tweenteacher.com put into words why I’m frustrated.
The big clunky forward facing, whole class method of lesson delivery via Interactive Whiteboard, I believe, is the Laserdiscof educational technology. The overpriced fad of Interactive Whiteboards (whether Smart or Promethean) is imperfect in their current incarnation. Sure, we all imagine classrooms with“Iron Man2”:-esque 3-D touch sensitive lessons, but inherently these pieces of equipment do not illustrate the spirit of technology in information delivery: all-access, collaborative, open, interactive, etc…
Currently, they are only as engaging as the lessons created, and those lessons are tedious to create and time-suckers in their efficiency. The prep time to create charts that utilize any effects over-and-above what you would already do with a laptop and LCD projector feels clearly developed by those with a disconnect to the precious time we have in education and the many hats we already wear.
The few times I have found ways to use the interactive whiteboard have mostly been teacher-centric and I have felt guilty afterwards. The kids are enthralled because it is different but, especially in middle school, this kind of thrill does not last long. So I have tried preparing some activities where the students get the stylus and go to the board but, again, only one person at a time can use the board. I get the kids to hand the “baton” of the stylus to the next student so I try to keep them engaged through the anticipation of getting to go up and use the board. This is still not ideal particularly if it takes a student a while to figure out the answer. I start to lose those kids already on the fringe and they start misbehaving out of boredom.
I think the interactive whiteboard has its place but I am really struggling to:
- find activities that are engaging enough to keep the whole class interested
- find activities that are easy and quick to make
- find web-based activity makers as I can’t download any software on my teacher computer
It’s good to finally be back. It has been an interesting few years outside the U.S. but I’m finally home again and back in the classroom. Now I’m teaching French in middle school which is quite a different experience for me. It’s also a challenge. I’m fortunate enough to be in a 21st century classroom with a mounted LCD projector, interactive whiteboard, document camera, flat screen TV, and built in amplification system. Once I feel like I’m on my feet with teaching middle schoolers, I want to really dive into using more of these tools in my teaching. Classroom management is my greatest challenge at the moment and my primary focus. Middle school boys are a whole new world. They wiggle, find every possible means to be out of their seats, tap or beat on their desks, make strange noises…the list goes on. Organization is a foreign language to boys. Anyone else out there teaching tweens from 11 to 13, please feel free to chime in with advice on how to teach these boys!!
I am looking for ideas on how to use the interactive whiteboard (one with a pen instead of touch) and good tools to use with it. Mine does not have a gallery of resources like Smartboard tools. I have used it mainly to operate my computer while at the front of the room. I have done a couple of activities with PowerPoint where the students manipulated objects. I need some ideas though so please share what you’ve done if you have a board like mine that isn’t operated by touch.