Interactive whiteboard, also known as smart board is a 21st century substitute to the traditional black board. It is a mediating technology useful in turning the class increasingly interactive. It is a significant addition to the learning environment and a defining feature of educational technology for classrooms. The whiteboards have transformed classrooms, including that of primary and secondary schools across the developed world and have now entered the Indian classrooms. An Interactive Whiteboard for schools is basically an interactive display customized for the classroom teaching. With the use of the interactive whiteboard, a classroom with a single PC and projector can be turned into a more engaging multimedia learning space.
Among the leading manufacturers of Interactive Whiteboard are Smart Technologies, Promethean, MIMIO, Specktron and RICOHIndia.
The IWB can substitute for the use of mouse or keyboard and enable the teacher to conduct a presentation on its screen. The IWB is equipped with software to conduct interactive multimedia classroom and display online content integrated with the lessons in innovative ways. It makes the study of subjects ranging from geometry to geography much more content rich with visual imagery and hence many times more engaging.
An interactive whiteboard achieves efficiency in teaching and learning by a composite of whiteboard, touch and stylus pen and an LCD projector. The whiteboard has inbuilt software.
Mostly, in an interactive whiteboard configuration the interactive whiteboard acts as a computer screen and there is a projector which is mounted on the wall or on a stand. A particular software application can be chosen for the interactive whiteboard and it becomes an interactive screen visible to all the students in the classroom.
The teacher can use a PC connected to the projector to display the content on the whiteboard and speaker for audio. The content on the whiteboard can be manipulated by the teacher through the touch screen or a pointing device. Anything that ought to be done on a PC can thus be done on the interactive whiteboard itself.
With the help of the whiteboard, the teacher can make the lesson wholesome by incorporating videos, images, web pages and music etc.
Interactive Whiteboard’s use in the class activities
There is hardly any constraint to the expansion of the range of the classroom activities with the use of IWB. Class lessons can be enhanced through multimedia content. It can help the teachers in engaging the students by letting them conduct presentations of class projects etc. Students can be divided into groups and can relate their understanding with each other on any given topic. The interactive whiteboard can also be used by the substitute teachers to deliver a lecture prepared and recorded on the interactive whiteboard. The revision of lessons becomes several times easier with the use of the whiteboard. Animated figures, diagrams, maps and graphs displayed and compared on the whiteboard can enhance learning of mathematics, biology, geography etc. and virtual field trips can be arranged by using the interactive white board to integrate the imagination with visual memory of the students. It makes it easier to frame notes and distribute them to the students besides increasing the participation and concentration of the pupils.
What should school look for while selecting an interactive white board?
Size and Design
Interactive whiteboards come as fixed. There also are mobile interactive whiteboards. Generally, the fixed whiteboard are opted for by the schools. It is the optimal choice for the classrooms having considerable number of students. Mobile whiteboard with wheels are chosen by schools to economize as they can be moved from one classroom to another in a sharing arrangement.
Size and model of the whiteboard may vary from a desktop size to large blackboard comparable size, the size may range from 16 inches to 84 inches or more.
The selection depends upon the classroom considerations like, how one intends to use the whiteboard in the classroom? If the purpose is to engage multiple students in an interactive lesson and the aim is to use multiple applications, then a large size whiteboard is the ideal choice. For a small group of students or for only making engaging lessons and presentations a desktop sized whiteboard would suffice.
Besides the size and the model one must check for the availability of multi touch points and active projection dimension the other important attribute is the resolution that the whiteboard offers.
The Operating system of the whiteboard must be selected with attention to detail.
Interactive whiteboard is equipped with software. It can be called a software interactive whiteboard. Software for the IWB's are designed for delivering different teaching - learning experiences. Software supporting touch and stylus pen are used for interactive discussions within the group, forming a digital narrative, lessons for specific topics of different subjects, real-time lessons and presentations. The interactive whiteboard can provide enough variety to accommodate the different learning styles of the pupils in the class. There are some other considerations like the Storage and operating temperatures.
Founder & Consultant - School Serv
Vinod Kakumanu heads a team of school services professionals and is an independent commentator on Indian school education scenario. Vinod has assisted school promoters establish 35+ schools besides providing ancillary services to over 1000 schools across India. He envisions a future where quality education is made available to every child of the country. The focus he places on the quality of the deliverables and customer satisfaction has made him renowned in the field of K-12 school education.