Interactive Whiteboard (IWB) in activities for students

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Since I have very few notions about the IWB, I started with the basis. In this article, I will discuss how, as I am reading more information and gathering more data, I come to realize what are the possible practical possibilities that IWBs offer to second language teachers.

First, during my internship, the teacher I am following has been using the Interactive Whiteboard. On a few occasions, I had the possibility to experience what it is like. For instance, I know that the collection of student and activity books that the teacher uses are also made for this interactive board. From what I saw and experienced so far, I can say that using a IWB feels extremely natural; you can circle specific information, and quickly emphasizes concepts that are important to the students by changing the color of the pencil you are using.  If necessary, you can also quickly erase elements that are no longer relevant. It seems to me that very few information are necessary for the teacher to be able to use it.

However, on one occasion the board was no longer calibrated appropriately. Instantly, the teacher seemed uneasy and even reluctant to use the regular board instead. The teacher called the tech support for further information on how to re-calibrate the board but was put on hold for a few minutes. Meanwhile, the students were passive as they also were disturbed by the situation.

According to an article in TechLearn, IWBs have a many pros and cons. It is therefore the role of the teacher to implement their use effectively in their classroom.

This review says that for instance, the use of Interactive Whiteboards allow the teachers to be more easily able to customize their lessons by adding interactive elements such as graphs, videos, animations etc. Therefore making the learning experience more unique and thus enjoyable for the students. Also the IWB allow the students to participate more actively as there isn’t as much note taking that is necessary. Which enables students work more collaboratively to the task at hand. The MELS program promotes the cooperative work so the students can attain the competencies required for their level.

Although IWBs show a lot of premise, there is also a downside to it. For instance, TechLearn informs us that the Interactive Whiteboards are less durable than regular whiteboards. Also, it appears that their replacement cost are very expensive. They add that IWBs, if they have a remote access and are not properly secured by the teacher, easily the students could post disruptive comments or pictures.

Furthermore, according to a scholarly article on on practical use of IWBs in class, this new technological tool can possibly cause a shift in the teacher’s methods from a more student based classroom to a more teacher based one. This deviation can possible alter the student’s experience. Ironically, the tool which is supposed to promote collaborative learning at its fullest, can actually cause less interaction inside the class!

However, the authors of the article admit that this effect is temporary as the teacher need some adjustement to make the best use possible out of the new technological tool.  

While surfing on the Internet, I looked for activities promoting the use of an Interactive Whiteboard. The results were overwhelming. It is evident that IWBs have a place in a classroom. One website that really captured my attention. It features many activities teacher can use with a IWB to reward their students with positive activities. Also this website shows the different topic that are discussed for the activity which allows the teacher to know exactly which different field of language are treated in the activity.

 For more information visit:

 http://www.jisc.ac.uk/uploaded_documents/Interactivewhiteboards.pdf

 http://pbskids.org/whiteboard/

http://www.ascilite.org.au/ajet/ajet26/northcote.pdf  (p.496)

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