10 ways to use interactive whiteboards

Creative teachers are finding new ways to use interactive whiteboards in the classroom every day. Here are 10 strategies.

Whiteboard Background

The blackboard has been around for as long as there has been classroom instruction, but it’s quickly being replaced by a new educational tool. With an interactive digital whiteboard, instructors have the capabilities of a computer, including Web access, as well as the ability to draw, make notes, and share ideas with the classroom.

Whiteboard adoption in U.S. classrooms is growing rapidly. In 2008, only 16 percent of U.S. classrooms were equipped with digital whiteboards, but according to a recent study by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, more than half of classrooms–77 percent according to administrators; 52 percent according to teachers–now use the interactive devices. The same study also shows that 97 percent of teachers use some form of digital content in the classroom, with the most common resources comprising of open educational resources (71 percent), videos (66 percent), digital instruction materials (54 percent) and digital whiteboards.

How teachers are using interactive whiteboards in the classroom is a matter of imagination and the age group they are teaching. Strategies include:

Creating more engaging lessons

Teachers can make lessons more interesting and engaging with Web content, animation, video, audio, and other tools that turn a classroom lecture into an interactive learning session.

Group note taking

For younger students, using a whiteboard as a traditional blackboard allows teachers to save the notes and distribute them to the students. Students can then add their own insights and discoveries to the saved materials and record the day’s lessons learned.

Spelling competitions

Students love a little friendly competition. With its built-in spell checker, the digital whiteboard is an ideal tool to support a spelling bee.

Google Earth

This is a great tool for teaching geography and supplementing history, social science and other subjects. It allows the students to explore remote regions and cultures and even look at languages, architecture, plants, animals and more.

Virtual field trips

Google and other online destinations can take students to remote locations anywhere on the globe, including outer space. Designed to be interesting and engaging, these interactive Web field trips may include quizzes and other learning tools, and can be used either as stand-alone teaching tools or to help prepare for an actual field trip.
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Recording presentations

Whiteboards also are useful for recording and sharing classroom videos. For example, teachers often record their own presentations and share their video lessons with their peers so students can learn from multiple staff members via the digital whiteboard.

Capturing student presentations

Whiteboards equipped with cameras and sound recording can be used to capture student presentations for later review or critique.

Graphics editing

Numerous free photo-editing apps are available and ideal for use with interactive whiteboards. Students can resize, enhance or crop photos to incorporate into a class presentation. Many of these packages also allow you to create videos and add voice narration.

Interactive lessons

Specialty tools designed for interactive whiteboards can make learning truly interactive and maximize the benefits of digital display technology. For example:

Starfall.com is for early readers to explore and play with letters and words. The site offers multimedia books with narration.

National Library of Virtual Manipulatives offers a catalog of virtual manipulative lessons and interactive tools to explore algebra, geometry and more.

Interactive Whiteboard Resources from Topmarks includes an index of other online resources that work well with interactive whiteboards.

These are just some of the ways that an interactive whiteboard can make classroom instruction more engaging, more effective and more exciting. Creative teachers are finding new ways to apply whiteboard technology in the classroom every day. The possibilities seem almost limitless.