by Jane Rees, Junior School Teacher
New technology at the Junior School is helping to engage pupils and motivate learners in the classroom. iBoards are interactive whiteboards with a touch-sensitive screen that work in conjunction with a built in computer, sound system and projector. These devices were introduced with great excitement to a number of Junior School classrooms last spring.
The iBoard allows integration of audio, video, graphics, text and animation (from wide variety of media like CD-ROM, Internet, multimedia projector, and DVD) with the lessons. Thus it provides not only enjoyment and interactivity but also makes the learning process much more interesting and fun. It enables teachers to adopt different learning styles to meet the learners’ need. Thus it can also help in creating a personalized learning environment. Anything drawn or written on the interactive whiteboard surface can be saved on a computer hard disk through a whiteboard software. In this way teachers can save and share their work via email or on the school network with students or colleagues
The Grade 3 class has found many different ways to use the iBoard; for example, whole class teaching about the planets in our solar system using the software Celestia, and using student poetry to interact with text and create a visual presentation. In Grade 4, the use of the iBoard is also integrated across the curriculum. Students view and interact with social studies and science content through the Encarta kids software. Teachers instruct in mathematics using hundreds charts or multiplication charts accessed from the interactive whiteboard software, Easiteach. Visual timers and dice are also effective tools to enhance and motivate learners. The possibilities for use of iBoards in the classroom seem endless as teachers learn and share new ideas and methods.
Effective use of iBoards incorporates a variety of teaching techniques that can support a range of learning styles including visual, auditory and kinaesthetic learning. The use of the technology coupled with effective teaching undoubtedly increases learning opportunities. This new tool allows teachers to enhance their classroom instruction by providing new ways for all children to interact with content, acquire new skills and be engaged in their own learning.