Semester 1 Seminar 5: Interactive Whiteboards
The objective of this seminar was to develop our capabilities in terms of using interactive whiteaboards, as well as our understanding of their features and their use as an excellent learning tool. We began by looking at the three components of interactive whiteboards: a computer, projector and an interactive whiteboard itself. We then explored how this resource can be used within different parts of a lesson to support learning, uses include: as a starter activity to introduce and engage children in an area of learning, forming the main focus of a lesson by using a flipchart, as well as during the plenary to collect and record thoughts and to consolodate learning. Next the group were introduced to the three types of interactive whiteboard – most commonly used in schools are the Promethean board and Smartboard, although the RM Easiteach is also used. We were then able to view the two most common interactive whiteboards and highlight some differences between them, such as the Smartboard surface being more spongy.
To explore the use of interactive whiteboards as a starter activity, we collaboratively played a mathematics game called ‘Top Spot’ (featured on the website: http://www.primarygames.co.uk) and evaluated the level of interactivity that children would experience from this. We considered that this game offers a good level interactivity as all of the children can participate in working out a calculation, and can help their team members who select the answer on the interactive whiteboard. We were then able to explore the ‘Activeinspire’ software programme on our individual computers, exploring features such as: pen, fill, shape, text, adding files including movies and pictures, resources including a handwriting practise template, as well as the effectiveness of using the microphone to add sound. I also experimented with writing questions on a white background and coloring in the answer with a white thick pen, to create a ‘hide rub and reveal’ activity. All of these uses and features allow teachers to bring their lessons to life and enage the children in their learning, providing one tool where text, multimedia and games can be used to spark children’s interest and enjoyment.
An English resource from within the seminar which I thought could be extremely useful for phonics and handwriting lessons includes: http://resources.hwb.wales.gov.uk/VTC/ngfl/ngfl-flash/alphabet-eng/alphabet.htm It begins by pronouncing each sound (phoneme) and showing which letter (grapheme) it corresponds to, before providing a technique for writing each grapheme, and offering the option of hearing the sound or name of the letter and giving an example of a word beginning with this letter.
A computer science resource I explored from the seminar is called ‘Pollen Hunter’ (http://www.iboard.co.uk/iwb/Pollen-Hunter-659). This resource requires the children to click on arrows to direct a bee in order for it to collect pollen. This is an interactive activity which improves fluency with computer controls and provides a link to science also in terms of the theme of nature.
After the seminar I explored a website called ‘Topmarks’ which provides a vast range of resources to support the use of interactive whiteboards in many subjects. These include games, activities and links to informative websites which include videos. Some of these games are also available to play on tablets, which means that children with access to iPads can use these for an independent activity. (Source: http://www.topmarks.co.uk/Interactive.aspx)
I also found the Smartboard website to be a valuable resource as it provides lesson plans and games for a variety of subjects, which teachers can download and use within their teaching. (Source: http://education.smarttech.com/)
This article explains interactive whiteboards, their uses, different types and the positives of their use in the classroom:http://www.neamb.com/professional-resources/benefits-of-interactive-whiteboards.htm.