At the beginning of this weeks learning path, all I knew about interactive white boards (IWBs) was that they were a large, interactive touch screen board.
The Wikipedia page for IWBs states:
An interactive whiteboard (IWB) device is connected to a computer via USB or a serial port cable, or else wirelessly via Bluetooth or a 2.4 GHz wireless. In the latter case WEP and WPA/PSK security is available.
A device driver is usually installed on the attached computer so that the interactive whiteboard can act as a Human Input Device (HID), like a mouse. The computer’s video output is connected to a digital projector so that images may be projected on the interactive whiteboard surface.
The user then calibrates the whiteboard image using a pointer as necessary. After this, the pointer or other device may be used to activate programs, buttons and menus from the whiteboard itself, just as one would ordinarily do with a mouse. If text input is required, user can invoke an on-screen keyboard or, if the whiteboard provides for this, utilize handwriting recognition. This makes it unnecessary to go to the computer keyboard to enter text.
Thus, an IWB emulates both a mouse and a keyboard. The user can conduct a presentation or a class almost exclusively from the whiteboard.
Maher et al (2012) describe an IWB as, “IWBs are essentially a large whiteboard-like surface which acts as an ‘input’ device to a computer. When combined with a data projector to display the computer monitor’s image onto the surface of the board, they function as a ‘touch-sensitive screen’. IWBs retain many of the features of a traditional teaching board (i.e. chalkboard, blackboard or whiteboard) including the ability to visually display writing or drawing to a room of students. In addition, however, they add the many capabilities of computer
technology such as saving, editing, Internet access and multimedia In addition, most IWBs are supplied with software that provides tools and features specifically designed to maximize interaction opportunities. These generally include the ability to create virtual versions of paper flipcharts, pen and highlighter options, and possibly even virtual rulers, protractors, and compasses—instruments that would be used in traditional classroom teaching.”
In order to enhance the use of the IWB, several extra components can be added, these include:
• Stereo Speakers
These are increasingly included as part of the standard IWB package and provide the ability for the class to hear the sound generated by the computer connected to the IWB. Obviously essential to the use of video and other multimedia forms.
• Digital/Web Cameras
Allowing the input of photos and videos to be manipulated and displayed on the IWB. Of particular use when you’re thinking about doing a Skype chat (or similar) with classes from around the world.
Originally suggested as incredibly useful because it allows the scanning of student assessment pieces into the computer so you can annotate and comment on them in front of the class. Increasingly being over taken by the use of cameras on tablets etc to do the same.
• DVD/Video Players
Also perhaps showing the age of the original page, since YouTube and online video is playing a bigger part in this task. However, with bandwidth being an issue at many schools, there remain considerations of being able to show videos offline.
• Graphics Tablets
Another form of input, very useful for drawing and more artistic pursuits.
• Digital Microscope
Cheap digital microscopes can open up a whole new world to students (especially in the primary setting) and these can be connected to the computer and the results displayed on the IWB.
• Internet Connection
Perhaps the most useful “peripheral” is an Internet connection that allows you to access the resources and services available on the broader Internet (as allowed by the schools network filtering policy).
• Wireless Mouse and Wireless Keyboard.
Very useful for sharing of control beyond the teacher. The wireless mouse and keyboard can be given out to the students to allow them to control input and output. Somewhat being overtaken by the rise of mobile devices, but still a good and cheap alternative.
As a result of this weeks learning path, I have now also discovered that as our ever changing society continues moving forward technologically, there are new formulations of Interactive white boards, as outlined in this weeks learning path:
– SmoothBoard is an application that’s useful if you have a class with a collection of iPads or similar devices. It allows you to share your computers screen with the class. The students follow along on their device. The videos on the SmoothBoard home page offer a better description of how it works.
Although I have no experience using IWBs, I can already see how they can be used to enhance teaching and engage students. However, I am also aware that they can be used ineffectively, with the teacher possibly having the opposite outcome than was intended.
Maher et al. (2012) wrote, “It is not, however, just the physical IWB that influences the teaching and learning experiences occurring in classrooms. Rather it is the resources that teachers choose to use on their board that will have the most significant impact on educational outcomes.”
To finish up, I found 2 blogs, apps-a-daisy and ICT across the curriculum, that discuss new apps that can be used to support questioning in the classroom, such as blooms taxonomies and DeBono’s 6 thinking hats. I was thinking about how these can be utilised on an IWB as an interactive class activity. Fellow blogger, the adventures of a tech minded teacher, has also included a link to a resource for using Blooms taxonomies with pintrest.