Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday 5: Five Ways to Spice Up an Interactive Whiteboard Lesson

Interactive whiteboards (IWBs) are becoming more and more prevalent in schools. Whether you have SMART, Mimio, Promethean, or something else, there are some common features to all of them that can add interest to a lesson. Here are 5 quick ideas.

1. Add video, either embedded or with a link. Discovery Streaming, BrainPOP, and BrainPOP, Jr.  are great sources if you have access to them. If not, try School Tube for safe videos created by other educators and students. Disclaimer: School Tube does have advertisements if you’re using the free version.

2. Use animated clip art (but use it sparingly). Microsoft Office provides free animated clip art to its users, and the Animation Library website purports to be “the world’s largest free animation collection.” Occasional use of animated clip art can keep things fresh for your students. Avoid using multiple animations on a page or using animations on every page, however. It is distracting, and an eyesore if used too often.

3. Use reveals and other effects provided on your IWB community website. These provide more interaction for students. For instance, Mimio Connect offers balloons that pop to reveal an answer. Promethean Planet has a number of “magic eraser windows” that let you see behind an object. Check out the website for your IWB to see what is available.

4. Link to relevant web content--but look for interactive sites. If you can find a simulation, instructional game, or Web 2.0 tool related to your topic, provide a link to the site, and then return to the flipchart or notebook after using it. Stumped for ideas? Google Maps can be used to make a custom, annotated map. The Apple II emulator includes the classic Oregon Trail that I played in school in the 80’s and lots of other games (Lemonade Stand is another one I played in the 80’s and is great for basic economics). Check out my Web 2.0 Wednesday posts for more tools.

5. Most importantly, get the students to the board. Too many teachers stand at the board all day and never get the students out of their seats. Vary the types of interactive activities that students will do. Have you been leaning heavily on sorting activities? Try matching, fill-in-the-blanks, and reveals. Pull out those student response systems and integrate their use with the lesson at the board. Create brainstorming and comparison activities. Add in decision-making and inference activities. How about a choose-your-own-adventure simulation or story? What if you asked students to create it? So many possiblities! If you get stuck, go to your IWB community website and download some of the wonderful creations of your talented colleagues! Get inspired!

What are your favorite IWB lesson tips? Share a link to your favorite lesson!

Related Links:
Mimio Connect
Promethean Planet
SMART Exchange 

Photo Credit: AttributionNoncommercialNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by missy & the universe

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