In the 21st Century, continual developments in technology such as the Interactive Whiteboard (IWB) are replacing forms of technology, including the blackboard and the whiteboard which do not provide the students with an opportunity to be stimulated (Kent, 2012). In contrast, the IWB allows the concept to be displayed in a manner which appeals to all the learning styles, with its ability to move objects, play sounds, and much, much more – the opportunities are endless!
Children are ‘digital natives’ whereby technology is part of their daily lives. Research has found that “those born into the world of digitisation may be neurologically different and much of this is attributable to the technological environment in which they are immersed.” (Churchill et al., 2011, p. 112). These findings suggest that the brain is stimulated by technology and can enhance the learning experience.
For me, the question is not whether an IWB is effective for promoting intellectual quality, but rather, the question is: are teachers equipped with the knowledge and skills to allow the IWB to fulfill its purpose? Unfortunately, many teachers from the older generation do not recognise technology as an important part of their pedagogical framework and therefore opt for the use of traditional methods such as worksheets (Prosser, Trigwell & Waterhouse). In saying this, teachers cannot rely on an IWB to teach the content of the lesson for them. In essence it should act as tool, which will assist to actively promote intellectual quality through its hands-on approach to teaching and learning (Kent, 2012).
On my first practicum experience last year, I had the opportunity of observing firsthand the ability of an IWB to promote intellectual ability. The integration of the IWB into the lesson was beneficial for the Year 3 mathematics lesson. Through reflective questioning and constructive feedback, the teacher was able to use the IWB in a way that allowed her to gain an insight into the class’ overall level of understanding, whilst additionally providing an opportunity for discussion; encouraging critical thought and analysis. There are a wide array of resources available for teachers to maximise the potential of an IWB including games like the one below.
If you are struggling for ideas, below is a link to a website that has a collection of Interactive Whiteboard activities. Also, this website will make it easy for you to create your own interactive activities.
Churchill, R., Ferguson, P., Godinho, S., Johnson, N. F., Keddie, A., Letts, W. (2011). Teaching making a difference. Queensland: John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd.
Kent, P. (2012). Interactive whiteboards: A practical guide for primary teachers. Australia: Macmillan Teacher Resources.
Prosser, M., Trigwell, K., Waterhouse, F. (1999). Relations between teachers’ approaches to teaching and students’ approaches to learning. Higher Education, 37(1), 57-70. Retrieved from http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A%3A1003548313194#