We have 36 IWBs in my school?
And why do we have them? Because, as a school, we believe that our students are different to previous generations. We see how differently they learn and what they get up to in their spare time - and no, it's not all bad! Despite the recent media and government furor over childhood obesity, a quick poll of some of our students shows that in most classes around two thirds play sports regularly. These are the same students who are online most days, who perhaps have a cell phone, who almost definitely know how to use a digital camera, who use vocabulary we have never heard, who have an online presence and who expect to be able to create web content as an author. Even some of our Grade Preps and Ones have helped upload images online!
In teaching, Interactive Whiteboards offer us a doorway to new resources, tools and learning methods. If you've seen one of our boards in action, you will probably have noted how quickly and easily the students navigate pages, programs and documents, but IWBs offer much more than simply software! We can study triangles by 'flying' over the Eiffel Tower, we can share understandings by drawing graphic organisers, we can see 3D images of people and places we are learning about, we can experience history by hearing speeches and seeing old-world video footage, we can even use Skype to video conference with other students, teachers and experts around the world in real-time.
Importantly, our use of IWBs can enhance learning and help our students develop deeper understandings, for example, we can manipulate virtual shapes to see how they work, we can watch rocket launches in slow motion to see forces in action and we can create our own digital books, magazines and cartoons to develop our writing skills.
IWBs let us link different areas of the curriculum together in a much more unified way: maths activities that involve reading topographical maps or reading tasks that ask us to write to our local environmental agencies via their website or science experiments that require graphing or spreadsheets to share the class results. We can travel underwater, climb up mountains and fly into outer space - and it's all interactive!
At Laburnum we are very lucky to have such great teaching tools. So, the next time you are in your child's classroom, remember, it's not just a 'big white thing' at the front of the room!