When we received our interactive whiteboards, many of my colleagues couldn’t wait to get started. But I’ll be the first to admit that I just didn’t know what to do with it. I had been teaching for many years and had created materials and activities that I thought were already pretty great. It’s hard to face changing the way you teach, especially if that change seems so overwhelming and difficult to understand. During my first year of teaching with my smart board, I slowly began to warm up to it. Now that I’ve had it for several years, I don’t know how I ever taught without it. But I had to make a commitment to learning about how to use the technology and to challenging myself to teach in new ways. Here is what I learned about how to be a modern day teacher, when you’re really not one.
Create Multimedia Presentations
There are tons of great resources where you can find photos, music, animations and videos to enhance your lessons. Include pictures of butterflies to illustrate the concept of symmetry. Bring a poem to life with a podcast of the poet reading it aloud. Take students on a field trip to an impossible place, such as the center of the brain. Travel back in time to a moment in history, attend an opera, illustrate an abstract mathematical concept with animation. The possibilities are nearly endless, so take advantage of your connection to these resources and bring them into your classroom.
Use Interactive Activities
Do an internet search for “smart board activities” to find multitudes of ready-to-use, interactive activities. Search by grade level and content area, and choose those which are standards-aligned. It’s easy to differentiate with access to these kinds of activities. Use multiple variations of an activity, all focused on the same key concept, to address your students’ different readiness levels, interests and learning styles.
Put It All Together
The last thing you want to be doing is scrambling around in the morning before your students arrive, trying to open up several different applications and searching for tools you were planning to use that day. Integrate all of the components in your lesson with an easy-to-use, intuitive software program, like Notebook or Gynzy. After preparing your lesson, save your file, and simply open it up the next day in class, and you’re ready to teach.
What tips can you offer to help teachers who are intimidated by learning to use an interactive whiteboard?