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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To use technologies or not to use it that is the question

As future ESL teachers the growing role of technologies cannot be understated. Numerous tools and social networking services are offered to us all. We cannot refute that such technologies have taken an increasingly considerable part of our lives. As teachers, it is crucial to understand the underlying mechanism behind technologies and their possible applications for enhancing the student’s experience.

However, there are good and bad ways when it comes to the use of technologies. To walk along this path unknowingly could be potentially dangerous. I, myself, am not too fond of technologies. While I was in school, I would always favor projects that did not involve too much of it. Nevertheless, I understand how in today’s World, it is crucial for teachers to have a thorough understanding of the possible implications of technologies as an agent of learning.

Therefore, the main objective of this blog will be to develop a better understanding of technologies and how they can positively impact on the student’s learning.

For this first week I looked at tools teachers can use for in-class game based activities.

As teachers, we must understand that technology does not limit itself to students going to the computer lab at the end of class if they behaved appropriately. We should monitor their learnings with the use of games. There are tools offered to us to help us give students their reward without compromising the educational task.

While surfing on the Internet I stumbled on two resourceful websites for ESL teachers.

1) Super Teacher Tools offers a wide range of activities for group projects. One that really caught my eye is the classroom Jeopardy. This tool allows students to create their very own questions based on the famous game. In doing so, the teacher is able to evaluate their writing skills as they have to come up with the questions. After the creative process, the teacher can then test the game on the students. I think this tool is awesome. The students are deeply involved in the process. They create the questions and play the game. It is also important to know that the teacher does not have to create the program but simply enter the data giving by the students. I suppose that for teachers who aren’t too familiar with technologies this tool could be an advantageous one.

2) Another interesting website is manythings.org. On this website students have access to many activities regarding different aspects of English. Whether it is the pronunciation, the vocabulary, reading and, or writing skills this website provides teachers with a bundle of different activities that could be applied for classroom. One tool that really caught my attention is the one for proverb use. I remember that when I was in primary school I loved learning about popular English expressions.

Although this research on possible technologies is new to me, this quick look has proven that there are many available resources for ESL teacher. These tools could obviously be used in a classroom.

According to the MELS document for ESL teachers, the two websites could possibly be of use. Mainly, I could use them to create opportunities for students to work on their competencies 1, 2 and 3.

In this section, they confirm that team work on computer could be a way to evaluate the student’s competency 1; oral interaction, as well as their competency 2; reinvest understandings. Finally it would also include the production of a written text, which would relate to their competency 3.  

Currently, I am doing my practicum in an elementary school. I would like to present my students with some of the activities I found while doing this research. I think some of them could be great for introducing concepts in a fun, stress free environment.

For more information visit

http://www.superteachertools.com/index.php

http://www.manythings.org/

http://www.mels.gouv.qc.ca/dgfj/dp/programme_de_formation/primaire/pdf/prform2001/prform2001-annexe.pdf (p.12)

See you next week! 🙂Image

Philippe

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