student at white boardBy Anna C. Clifford, Ed.D.

Ready to reflect? Think back into your school days when the chalkboard was black, the chalk was white, and it was your turn to dust the eraser. Can you remember the boards being painted green and the chalk changing to yellow? It seems like just a few years ago we drove to the local paneling store, purchased shower wallboard, and tacked it over the chalkboard in our daughter's classroom to magically create affordable, dry-erase boards. Her dad took the leftover shower board and cut it into 18-inch squares, which she called individual student boards, after attaching a clean sock for the eraser.  

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Connecting the Smarts of an Interactive Whiteboard

Ready to reflect? Think back into your school days when the chalkboard was black, the chalk was white, and it was your turn to dust the eraser. Can you remember the boards being painted green and the chalk changing to yellow? It seems like just a few years ago we drove to the local paneling store, purchased shower wallboard, and tacked it over the chalkboard in our daughter's classroom to magically create affordable, dry-erase boards. Her dad took the leftover shower board and cut it into 18-inch squares, which she called individual student boards, after attaching a clean sock for the eraser.

Now, many classrooms have replaced dry-erase boards with cutting-edge technology - interactive whiteboards (e.g., Smart Board, Promethean, InterWrite). Unlike the other boards, these technologies have caused educators to stop and think, paying close attention to the how, when, where and what guidelines of interactive whiteboards.

student at white boardInteractive whiteboards are widely used in K-12 education. Numerous studies document the benefit of them in school settings in which they are related to an increase in student motivation. Survey results indicate that more students supported the use of the interactive whiteboard in instruction than did not. Reasons for such support varied from flexible writing on the board, to the innovative use of "drag-and-move", to the manipulation of content.

Much of the current professional development centers on use and integration of the interactive boards in the teaching and learning environment. Time is spent in exploring the depths of Promethean Planet to finding just the right learning activity to enhance the standards-based lesson of the day! Teachers are encouraged to create and unload interactive activities, using the software ActivInspire, too.

Union teacher candidates move into many classrooms and find an interactive board surrounded by teachers and their students actively engaged in the teaching-learning process. A combination of knowhow comes from the experiences of the teacher candidates extended from our required technology course, as well as knowledge from surrounding teachers that constitutes successful use and integration. Oftentimes, teacher candidates request more information and resources. Listed below are resources aimed to fill the gap and guide success.

Promethean Planet

http://www.prometheanplanet.com/
Create your own account! It is free! (Be sure to remember your login info!)

Resources

ActivInspire

http://support.prometheanplanet.com/server.php?show=nav.29751&changeCountry=United+States
Software (download from Promethean Planet/compatible to most)

Resources

PowerPoint Integration

Create PowerPoint presentation slides
ActivInspire Dashboard-Import from PowerPoint
Integrate the tools (e.g., marker) to the PowerPoint presentation.
Save with the additions to the PowerPoint file, if needed.

I am not sure I have connected with and used all these resources. However, I am working on it. What about you? Have you tossed the chalk and the dry/wet markers? Is your teaching smart and interactive?

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