By Toni Hosman
Interactive whiteboards (IWBs) have become more and more prevalent in the classroom over the years. And it’s no wonder—the benefits are vast and offer teachers new, inventive ways to demonstrate core and supplemental concepts. As children become more familiar with smart technology at home, the classroom is catching up and teachers are using the benefits of technology to their advantage. Even more exciting are the advantages this technology offers students.
Visualization of Concepts
Using interactive whiteboards, teachers can create stimulating lessons with more opportunities for students to engage. Videos, moving diagrams, interactive stories, and online content can be combined with existing curriculum and provide visual examples to better explain difficult concepts. Almost 65% of the population are visual learners which means they use images, colors, and pictures to organize and learn information.
This means incorporating effective visual aids to teaching plans will increase the likelihood of students retaining information since most people are visual learners. IWBs can add stimulating visual aids to new and existing curriculum. If used properly, teachers can increase student interest and retention of the material being presented.
Interaction with Concepts
Students can take a more active approach to learning. In fact, IWBs allow students to be a part of the learning experience by manipulating objects on the board, or using handheld devices to interact with the lessons in real-time. Programs that utilize flash technology for story-based learning let students follow along and engage as the story unfolds, either by clicking on new plot points or concepts. This type of multisensory learning is one of the best ways to engage students.
Another benefit of allowing students to interact with the lesson means that it can be taught at the student’s pace. Teachers can use IWBs to teach at a more personalized level and give each student individual attention to correct mistakes more immediately. This holds true and has been proven highly effective for students with learning disabilities.
Reinforcing already learned concepts can be a challenge for students especially if the material isn’t presented in a new, exciting way. IWBs eliminate many of these challenges. Interactive stories offer teachers a variety of ways to touch on multiple subjects within the same lesson.
“The interactive whiteboard is a tool where a teacher can control the content and pace of the lesson. Anything that can be done on a computer can be replicated on an interactive whiteboard, which motivates students to learn and allows teachers to make learning meaningful,” says Maritza Mascarenhas Sadowsky, who currently teaches in the Arlington, VA area and author of eBooks The Tale of Guido d’Arezzo and JP’s Sousaphone. “The reason I wanted to create Guido was to fill in gaps about music, especially about Solfège. But these books aren’t specific to music education and can be easily integrated into any classroom. The possibilities are endless, it’s up to the teacher to decide how the books can be implemented into existing curriculum or used as a stand-alone lesson.”
The Tale of Guido d’Arezzo and JP’s Sousaphone are historical-fiction eBooks that take students on a journey as they follow the interactive story. As it develops, there are key points where students can interact with the plot. These pauses could easily allow a teacher to reinforce previously taught curriculum such as language, geography, music, math, and more.
The benefits of incorporating interactive technology into the classroom applies to both teachers and students. Visuals can engage students’ interest, while multi-sensory learning encourages engagement and promotes retention. Teachers can take advantage by implementing a cross-curricular approach to reinforcing subjects. Whatever the reason, the entire classroom benefits from interactive technology to promote a holistic learning approach in any subject.
Toni Hosman is the School & Solo Performance Marketing Manager at Alfred Music and a private piano and vocal coach. She attended Westmont College and performed with the College Choir and Women’s Chorale. She has also worked as a tutor and Liberal Arts Ambassador to underprivileged children in the Santa Barbara charter school community.