A few weeks ago I went to a local SMART Board ‘Support Group’ meeting in Warrnambool to learn more about how to use my SMART Board effectively. I went to the session on taking it a bit further and ended up showing teachers how to use SMART Recorder very quickly. Other teachers offered things they were using the SMART Board for and much of the discussion revolved around all the great interactive websites they use. My question is this:
If you are simply using a fun website on your SMART Board, is that really using the board?
The way these teachers were talking was as though that is what they mainly use their boards for – making cool websites even cooler by providing a big interactive surface for them. I am not saying that this is the wrong thing to do. There are many great websites out there that are greatly enhanced by being shown and used on an interactive whiteboard. I just don’t think that can be classed as ‘using’ an interactive whiteboard.
For me, ‘using’ a SMART Board means getting students to create something using Notebook software. It could be getting students to interact with resources that you have created in Notebook software or to use tools like the Recorder and Video player to add another dimension to your classroom activities. It means using things like the screen capture tool to take note of students work or the place mark they have left in Google Earth for example. Or you could be reading and highlighting a website and use the screen capture tool to send it to a Notebook file.
I don’t think you can consider yourself to be an effective interactive whiteboard user if all you are doing is showing and using different websites. For me, there has to be another layer to it. Use the screen capture tool to record what the students have done on the websites. Highlight the website and annotate it. Record the students navigating their way through the website and speaking about what they are doing. Play it back for them using SMART Video player and annotate improvements they could make for next time.
But then, if you are using SMART Notebook on a PC, then there is nothing you can’t do with it that you can do with the interactive surface of the board. Everything is enhanced greatly by the interactive surface though, there is no doubt about that.
What do you think? Have I missed the point? What does ‘effectively using’ an interactive whiteboard mean to you?
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