How to Adjust to your Interactive Whiteboard:
Do’s and Don’ts
If you’re like many teachers, you find IWBs (Interactive Whiteboards) both exciting and intimidating. The creative part of you fantasizes about all that you can now “do” with your IWB while your inner classroom manager worries about mastering the new technology and losing control. In the first of this multi-part post, we’ll explore do’s and dont’s with your new IWB. In future posts, I’ll give you some basic lesson plan tips I’ve found that have worked and provide links to some amazing IWB resources.
Don’t be Afraid to Turn on your IWB
If you don’t turn on your IWB as soon as you get it, it’s possible you never will. Your IWB won’t bite and – as hard as this is to believe – you won’t break it. IWBs are built to withstand a reasonable amount of abuse (kindergartners love them!) and any buttons you push will only lead to new discoveries.
Don’t Tell Your Students “Don’t Touch!”
Your students will “get” your IWB faster than you. That’s a good thing! Let them mess with it and try new tricks. Digital Natives have a knack for figuring out a program’s capacity and limitations quickly. More importantly, IWBs were designed with them in mind. Students who are engaged learn and retain more, so let them have at it!
Don’t Wait for Further Training to Try Something New
You are not going to break your IWB’s software programming. Just open up your program and begin playing. Yes, I said “playing” – this is supposed to be fun! If you change any settings, change them one at a time so you can keep track of what controls what.
Do Start Small
We all have to start somewhere. If you are only comfortable using your IWB for writing, use it for writing. Do this for a week, and then try another tool. Try to find at least one new tool or trick per week (you’ll probably find more) and master it. Before long, using your IWB will become second nature.
Do Leave Your Board on Between Classes
Don’t hesitate to let students play with your board while you’re monitoring the halls. Just like you, they need to adjust to the new tool and feel comfortable using it.
If you discover something cool, tell another enthusiastic teacher – they’ll return the favor. Then show off your new skills to your students. Why? Well, first of all, students need to know you are committed to lifelong learning. Secondly, students will share tricks they learned from other teachers with you. And finally, enthusiasm about learning and technology is contagious, so spread it!
Do Let the Experts Install and Uninstall IWB Software
As with any computer program, proper installation of software is crucial to proper functioning. If you click on something that asks if you want to install or uninstall a component (besides an update), hit “Cancel” or “No.” If a prompt occurs more than once, ask your tech guy for help, but remember to be very specific!
Do Allow Updates
Some IWBs, like SmartBoards, will prompt you to download updates. Like updates for other programs, these will help with glitches and are often essential if you are using someone else’s templates.
Next Time: Essential First Pages