My first year of teaching, I had a wonderful mentor. She was an elementary school teacher with a kind smile and impeccable classroom management skills. She helped me a lot, both with materials and kind suggestions of classroom management techniques that might work with some of my more unruly students. My second year of teaching, we both received interactive whiteboards in our classrooms. After a few months, my mentor approached me for some help. As an older teacher, she was a little intimidated by the new technology, and wanted some advice on how to better utilize it in the classroom. I went in and observed, and I found three key problems with her interactive whiteboard use.
She didn’t incorporate it into the daily routine
All classrooms have a daily routine, whether it’s calendar time for the little ones or warm-up exercises for older students. My mentor was still writing out all her calendar time information by hand and using her pocket charts for counting. She wasted time setting it up every morning.
She didn’t know how to link video and audio files into her presentations
Every time she wanted to play a counting song or go to an internet game, she would shut down her presentation, open a browser window, and type in the address. It was only a few extra seconds, but it was enough time for her class to lose focus and have to be redirected.
She made everything from scratch
There’s a plethora of internet resources for interactive whiteboard presentations. My mentor was making every single lesson from scratch instead of searching for pre-existing lessons that would have met her needs.
When I showed her these three simple things, she went from dreading the interactive whiteboard to loving it. Not only were her students more engaged and interested in the multimedia lessons on the interactive whiteboard, but she was saving more time than when all her lessons were on paper. It was win-win for everyone, and I got free access to her incredible library of teaching books for my help.