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How Interactive Whiteboards Can Be Useful in the Educational Environment

Saturday, August 16, 2014

There has been an increased usage of whiteboards in schools, universities and institutions around the world. And it has been proven to be useful for both teaching and learning in variable ways, such as stimulating the enthusiasm of teachers and students for lessons, more efficient interaction in classes, increasing teachers' overall productivity and students' attainment.

What can teachers do with the whiteboard.

Preparing interesting materials with more flexibility.

The interactive whiteboard supports most multi-media materials, such as images, texts, audio and video documents from various input devices, including desktops, laptops, DVD players, USB drives etc. With this flexibility of the interactive whiteboard, teachers are not restricted to paper documents, cards and chalk in traditional education settings, but can create more interesting teaching materials to suit different needs from the students.

Showcasing lessons with high efficiency and more convenience.

The interactive whiteboard in the classroom is basically like a traditional whiteboard digitally with touch function for showcasing lessons, but its exceptionally large size, which makes it much more different from previous boards that are impossible to reach every student in a classroom. The display surface is large enough for everyone. It improves teachers' efficiency and teaching convenience. Besides, teachers can also use the interactive whiteboard freely at the front of the classroom, with no need to be tied to the computer.

Annotating on teaching materials in different ways.

In addition to helping presentation in the teaching process, the whiteboard also makes interaction between teachers and students easier with more diverse and effective teaching documents. The teachers can stress the particular parts by underlining, circling and annotating with digital ink of different colors to improve students understanding of the lessons. Erasing or saving the remarks and annotations is also possible, so that the teachers can preserve their documents in the way they need.

What can students do with the whiteboard.

More possibilities of interaction.

With the interactive whiteboard in front of the classroom, students can also have chances to manipulate the texts and images on the screen like the teachers. Students are really engaged in the interaction with multi-media resources when they touch and move the multi-media resources with pens and their own hands. Through this interaction, students focus on the lessons better according to more participations and gain a deeper understanding of them.

More chances of presentation.

Teachers are able to shorten the time they need for presenting knowledge and analyzing concepts, which in turn saves more time for students to ask questions and do presentations. The interactive whiteboard supports nearly all kinds of input signals, which encourages students to make use of it more often, as they can show videos and PPTs on to the whole class and make annotations during the presentation and discussion.

More retention for review.

Any annotation or remark made on the interactive whiteboard can be saved and retained for later review. In this way, students do not have to worry about note-taking in short time in class as retained materials that can be e-mailed to them or printed out. Reviewing the materials can help with the retention of course information and gives students a better understanding of knowledge that needs to be acquired.

How the interactive whiteboard is useful to teachers.

Motivating teachers.

On one hand, in order to catch up with the latest technology and teaching method, teachers have to learn computer skills and other skills needed for their teaching career. As a result, they are motivated to acquire the knowledge to use devices integrated with new technologies, the interactive whiteboard included. On the other hand, when teachers see students take an active part in interaction with the learning materials displayed on the screen, they are also stimulated to interact with students more and make their teaching more lively and fruitful.

Non-restricted preparation.
The whiteboard serves is a platform for presentation and interaction, which saves teachers the trouble of preparing teaching cards, setting the projector, writing with marking pens or chalk, etc. From these traditionally tiresome preparing jobs, teachers can select and process resources from a wider range of textual, graphical, audio and video materials. What's more, as long as the teachers use the function of retaining the materials and annotations, they can just make adjustments over the materials or get inspiration next lesson plans.

Better lesson organization.

While employing digital materials, it gives the students a better understanding on knowledge as well as teachers' overall productivity. For example, mathematics concepts, such as geometry, are better demonstrated through visually and the hands-on work with graphs on the screen.

How the whiteboard is useful to students.

Stimulating enthusiasm.

Due to the fact that learning activity is a type of social behavior, interaction with learning materials and other learners always trigger students' enthusiasm for studying. The diversity of learning resources, the possibility of manipulating them with hands, the chance of watching peer's presentation with the latest technology and other factors all contribute to the increasing engagement in the class. Furthermore, this enthusiasm and motivation also helps students focus more during class time, potentially resulting in better school achievements. It has also been discovered that students with short span of attention can concentrate better and for a longer time when materials are shown on a big interactive screen.

Catering to students with impediments.

Interactive whiteboards support different teaching and learning styles, including those catering to visual and hearing impediments. Visually impaired students will benefit from the extremely large size of the interactive whiteboard for a clear and precise image can be delivered to anyone in a classroom. They can view the materials and interact with a large interactive whiteboard in ways that would never be possible on small computer screens. Deaf, or hearing-impaired students who mainly rely on visual learning will also find learning with the interactive whiteboard is easier, more convenient, and more efficient, since visual material together with the use of sign language do help students to read, to learn, to interactive and to understand.

Conclusion

The interactive whiteboard can be used by both teachers and students in educational environments in different ways. Teachers can prepare course materials and organize lessons in more logically and flexibly, and at the same time, students are able to get more access to interaction with multi-media learning materials on large-sized interactive whiteboards. These all helps improve the teachers' over productivity and the students' learning effects, which suggests an irresistible trend of using interactive whiteboards in educational settings.

 

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