Almost every teacher I know has a funny story about how she’s misused her interactive whiteboard. Many of us have written on them with markers or posted sticky notes on them. There are a lot of common “don’ts” when it comes to interactive whiteboards, but one misuse that doesn’t often get mentioned is underestimating the different ways the IWB can be used to teach more effectively and promote better student outcomes. Here are some considerations to keep you from holding back your interactive whiteboard.

Don’t Treat It as a Projector

Your IWB is more than just a projection screen. When I first got my interactive whiteboard, I didn’t understand all of its capabilities, so I basically just used the board as a screen for my overhead projector. Over the years, though, I’ve gotten training on how to use interactive tools and how to download activities and integrate elements into my lessons with software like Gynzy. Take advantage of any training offered by your district, and participate in online communities where teachers share ideas about how they use their IWB’s.

Don’t Keep Students Away from It

Your IWB isn’t there just for your use. Remember that it’s also a powerful learning tool for your students. Introduce a lesson on your interactive whiteboard, and then get out of the way. Turn the board over to your students, and let them do all the work. The more they get to interact with the content and activities, the more engaged they’ll be in the lesson, and consequently they’ll get more out of it.

Don’t Use It in Isolation

Good teachers understand that a great way to improve their teaching is by collaborating with each other. Share your lessons with other teachers and encourage collaboration among other teachers, both in your grade level and among different grade levels. Allow students from different classes to access content on the IWB in a collaborative manner. As you learn from your colleagues, so your students will learn from each other.

The overall theme of these tips is to actively engage your students in their work by taking full advantage of the functions of your interactive whiteboard. When planning your activities, think about how the IWB can extend and build upon what you’ve taught. What are some of your ideas for getting more out of your interactive whiteboard?