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Can Interactive Whiteboards Enhance Learning? Here's the Verdict!

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Writing is my passion. I have an undying thirst and quest in the field of writing. Some eat, drink or use drugs when stressed; I write.

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One step into any classroom and you cannot help but notice that it has come a long way from the dusty chalkboard. In most classrooms, they have been updated to interactive whiteboards which are very different from the classroom of twenty years ago.

The customary fog of chalk dust usually emanating from the front of the room is conspicuously absent. In 1991, the first interactive whiteboard was released, but it was just the last several years that it becomes a comprehensive tool in K-12 classrooms. The interactive whiteboards; large interactive displays connected to a computer and multimedia projector.

These are undoubtedly powerful classroom tools, given that twenty-first-century students live in an electronic age. The student of today is mostly residing in a world full of digital resources but is often trapped in a classroom that has not kept pace.

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The classroom is probably the only place that many students experience black text on white paper - flat, dull and unimpressive to their otherwise digitally stimulated minds.

Their regular lives are filled with music, and video games and cartoons that no longer look like only geometric shapes and poorly animated characters, but as realistic as life itself. Surely one would expect that any move to bring the classroom more up to date, and more in touch with the living reality of the students, should bear positive results. However, does it really?

The question is, are we ending up with smarter students after investing in these technological gadgets? Even in the digital age, the answer to this issue is wrapped in a surprisingly analog package: the teacher.

The greatest determinant of the success of interactive whiteboards, and whether or not it has a positive impact on student achievement, is the teacher. I have seen great teachers who have enhanced their practice significantly by adding these tools. Conversely, I have seen mediocre teachers who have become much worse using these same tools.

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Interactive whiteboards can allow teachers to engage all different types of learners, but the teacher has to prepare meaningful activities to reach this objective. Interactive whiteboards can allow participation from larger groups of students at once, but the teacher must have excellent classroom management skills to ensure discipline is maintained.

Graphics, video, and audio can jazz up any lesson and bring learning to life; but the teacher must monitor activities to make sure they are objectives-based.

If the teacher is not skilled in integrating the interactive whiteboard, classes can quickly descend into nothing more than a distraction. For students who are already inclined to technology, a teacher who is not on the ball could easily get the lesson lost behind the fanciness of the technology.

Ongoing professional development must support spending on technology equipment. The truth is, high tech in and of itself does not automatically lead to smarter students. Great teachers, effectively using high tech, make more intelligent students.

So the better question will always be, are the teachers efficiently using their resources to help children become smarter? We would hope the answer is a resounding yes.

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The Advantages of Interactive Whiteboards

Interactive whiteboards have grown dramatically in popularity both in the classroom and corporate environments over the past few years. Schools and businesses are learning that these whiteboards are useful tools for communication, improving learning and collaboration.

They offer several advantages over traditional whiteboards, which have been used in meeting rooms and classrooms for years to share information and ideas with the company and group members.

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Benefits the Interactive Whiteboards offers

  • It easy to use and have multimedia lessons with presentations, plus audio and video abilities
  • It low-maintenance and collaborative problem-solving abilities
  • It can interact and share to showcase student projects and presentations
  • It has excellent communication skills to assist with virtual field trips
  • It offers pre-loaded lessons by subject that can be used by substitute teachers
  • It makes learning fun, improves education and shows documentation of student achievement
  • It can save the images so they can be printed. Students or employees do not have to take notes all through the discussion
  • It saves on the cost of dry erase markers or chalk
  • It can serve as a knowledge database, and reinforce lessons.

The interactive whiteboards are a low-maintenance easy-to-learn technology that every school and district see as a utopian vision of education’s future. This technology enriches pedagogical practices in the classroom and permits teachers to add multiple courses of a consistent lesson that are personalized for students to improve their achievement.

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Interactive whiteboards create classroom settings and provide an extraordinary opportunity for students for different learning styles. It makes sure that both students and teachers are obtaining 21st-century skills.

The Hope and enthusiasm are soaring high that this technology will advance student skills and convalesce the teachers to transform the very nature of the classroom, directing the teacher into mentors instead of lecturers so students can study and learn at their own pace on an Internet-connected device.

Some scholars believe this technology is the main way for this generation to learn, but others and some parents feel it brings about conflict; they are concerned that test scores have not gone up.

Can the Interactive whiteboards make learning more appealing and test score go up? The big question is “Do we need this technology to learn?” Regardless, how some educators and Parents feel the district has made up its mind to have Interactive Whiteboards permanently installed in classrooms.

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The Critics of this technology has made public that schools are being steered by visionless faith in technology and are over influence on digital skills. While, some educators question whether or not the Interactive whiteboards, would raise achievement.

Teachers are placed under enormous pressure to reform student skills as the technology companies are confident it can increase student performance.

The study shows that 23 percent of the teachers stated that student received higher test scores without the Interactive whiteboard, and they received lower scores using it.

After teachers use the interactive whiteboard for a year, it looks like it is stirring teachers in the direction of not wanting to use what educators consider excellent instructional performance.

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The verdict stand at investing in interactive whiteboards is a fantastic idea, and it is a more reliable tool with information than any textbook could ever give students. It enables solution and open doors to learning.

An interactive whiteboard is a tool that teachers should take full advantage of because it has so much to offer when incorporated into the classrooms toward teaching method.

If teachers use this opportunity to make use of such a handy tool, it will be very beneficial and save time, after all, there is no cleaning required as it did with the old dusk chalkboard.

It only takes a click of a button to erase notes, and the touch screen capabilities engage hands-on or demonstrative learners. If used properly students will continue to benefit from the variety of its learning styles, and be connected by the interactivity, these whiteboards bring to learning.

How to use an Interactive Whiteboard

Quiz

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. Which of the following is NOT a requirement that most interactive whiteboards have in common.
    • A surface on which content is displayed. It can be a touch-sensitive board or a surface such as a wall
    • A software interface, almost always residing on a computer
    • A projector or television-type display
    • A document camera for projecting images onto the Smart Board surface
    • A means of writing on or manipulating content on the "board" or other surface. May be an electronic pen or stylus or it
    • A means of writing on or manipulating content on the "board" or other surface. May be an electronic pen or stylus or it
  2. An interactive whiteboard is an instructional tool that allows computer images to be displayed onto a board
    • True!
    • False
  3. Any application that runs on your computer can be used on an interactive whiteboard.
    • True!
    • False!

Answer Key

  1. A surface on which content is displayed. It can be a touch-sensitive board or a surface such as a wall
  2. True!
  3. True!

Percentage that learn how to use the Interactive Whiteboard properly!

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Epson's BrightLink Pro Interactive Whiteboard - See it in Action

Classroom Interactive Whiteboard

7 Reasons to Use A Classroom WhiteboardA truly portable, full-featured interactive whiteboard solution.Classroom applications for using interactive whiteboards include:

You can use them to engage every child in every single lesson

A complete interactive whiteboard system that uses the dry erase boards and projectors you already have.

Multimedia lessons and presentations including audio and video

Students love them because they’re fun. Mistakes made during guided practice can be easily brushed away.

Straightforward interface lets you get up and running in minutes.

Collaborative problem solving

Using dry erase boards will save paper and significantly reduce the stack of work you take home to grade.

Full-featured MimioStudio software for creating engaging interactive lessons.

Showcasing student projects and presentations

Dry erase boards can be used in whole group instruction, small guided groups, and learning centers

Lightweight and portable, so you can move it between classrooms, and store it safely.

Virtual field trips

No need to worry about technology failing when you need it most.

 

Recorded lessons that can be used by substitute teachers

Minute by minute, you’ll know exactly who’s grasping the concepts and who’s not

 

Documentation of student achievement

No learning curve or advanced prep! Just pass out the dry erase boards and let the learning begin!

 

 

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2016 Pam Morris