Is there a real added value to using the IWB in class?
The IWB is another resource that we can use to improve the learning experiences in our classroom. As any other tool, it can prove to be beneficial. It all depends on how we use it. The mere presence of an IWB is not sufficient to engage students in their learning.
This being said, although there are no formal studies have shown this, it appears that in some contexts, teachers have reported that students have a more positive outlook on learning when an IWB is used.
Are my students engaged in learning?
The IWB can be a great tool for teachers but it doesn’t necessarily mean that students will be more engaged in learning.
To engage students in their learning, it may be best to vary our pedagogical approaches (cooperative, oral interaction, strategic teaching, project-based learning…).
(Note: the pedagogical approaches should not be confused with second language acquisition (SLA) theories which focus on how learner’s language is developed. For more information on the SLA theories, please read Tarone & Swierzbin, 2009, chapter 2.)
Here are a few pedagogical approaches, some of which tend to involve students more:
Images : Steve Quirion, Service national du RÉCIT, Domaine de l’univers social
Teachers need to find the proper match between the different approaches, the needs of learners and their pedagogical intentions.
Example: students are expected to memorize a list of words (behaviorist) and reinvest this newly learned knowledge when they create a poster (using the socio-constructivist approach).
Research has shown that meaningful situations that can be connected to the REAL world tend to motivate students (Rolland Viau1). The IWB can prove useful here as it can be a window to the world.
Allowing students to interact with the technology puts them in the center of the learning process. Teachers need to find a balance between teacher-centered and student-centered learning. Letting students use the IWB to perform specific tasks can increase their level of engagement with the task at hand.
1 : La motivation : condition au plaisir d’apprendre et d’enseigner en contexte scolaire, 3e congrès des chercheurs en Éducation, Bruxelles, mars 2004.)
Do I vary the complexity of the learning activities I plan?
In order to reach and challenge all learners, it is essential to vary the level of complexity of the tasks. Starting with lower-level tasks and moving up to higher-level tasks appears to be more effective (J.T Guthrie & S.L. Klauda, Making Textbook Reading Meaningful, educational Leadership, March 2012, p. 66).
See http://recit.org/bloom/Accueil for more details and ideas (in French).
See Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy Wheel and Knowledge Dimension
What more can I do with my IWB?
Remember that your IWB is connected to the Internet which gives you access to a vast quantity of useful tools. Here are other technologies that can be used with your IWB.
Remember that your pedagogical consultants or your RÉCIT counsellor can give you support. Please do not hesitate to contact them.
How much time should I spend creating learning activities for the IWB?
It is not necessary to develop and program “interactive activities” to have an efficient lesson. Opt for more spontaneous uses (but planned) of the IWB by starting with the blank page or the open canvas.