Educators today need more support than ever before. With standardized tests, paperwork requirements and behavior management taking more and more time away from instruction, there’s no room left in the classroom for a tool that doesn’t multi-task to the limit. Fortunately for modern educators, the interactive whiteboard can be a dynamic instructional tool and time-saving device when used to its full potential. Don’t let it sit dormant on the wall until it’s time to show a movie. Use these strategies to make the interactive whiteboard the most important instructional tool in the room.

Engage every sense

Interactive whiteboards make it possible to incorporate pieces of music, movies, dialogue, games and images into even the simplest lessons. Designing lessons this way will be sure to capture student attention and hold it fast. It’s also one of the easiest ways to differentiate instruction for visual and kinesthetic learners.

Don’t reinvent the wheel

There are countless websites that provide lesson plans and materials for interactive whiteboard lessons. Educators create and share information, educational games and assessments to use with the boards. Not only are these available online, but any lessons an educator creates themselves can be easily saved and reused without requiring printing or copying. Planning for class reviews and study sessions becomes as easy as pulling up the old lesson file onto the interactive whiteboard.

Give students access to use it creatively

With class sizes up to 30 or more students, it can be hard to make sure everyone gets an opportunity to use the interactive whiteboard during the lesson. Consider using it as a center or as a tool in group work. When a small group of students get the chance to interact with a video, play a game, take an online quiz, or even design their own mini-lesson, they are actively engaged in their subject matter and important technology education.

Make it a game

Some of the best learning tools for interactive whiteboards come in game form. Whether it’s the states and capitols or the parts of a cell, labeling and identifying is made more exciting when it’s a rush to beat the other team. Any online game can be made class-accessible through an interactive whiteboard.

These four strategies can make an underutilized interactive whiteboard the star of the classroom. Consider incorporating them into lesson planning today, and see how student engagement grows.