Minimally invasive interactive whiteboards

The rain in Spain

The rain in Spain, as presented on an IWB by 5 teams of kids

Here's an activity I designed for the interactive whiteboard which has gone down well (thanks, Sandy, for trying it out and providing feedback).

An elementary pre-intermediate level class of kids aged 11 and 12 "doing the weather" in a unit in their coursebook, were divided into groups of 4-5, with each group representing and picking a name for their TV channel. Each day of one week, having written a weather forecast as a collaborative piece of homework, they had to take turns to present the weather on the IWB, with one being the TV anchor, one the weatherman/woman.

In fact, use of the IWB was limited to (1) displaying a map of Europe; (2) appropriate weather symbols being dragged into place on to the board by the weatherman; (3) the timer limiting presentation time to 30 seconds per group; and (4) any language feedback necessary.

To add a competitive element, the "viewers" (anyone neither an anchor, nor presenting the weather) had to watch and then vote which channel had presented best, with audience share being calculated and there being a winner at the end of the week.

During his talk at the recent IH Barcelona ELT Conference, Scott Thornbury referred to Sugata Mitra and his notion of minimally invasive education; we should also, I believe, be planning lessons to involve only minimally invasive technology.

Sandy got the use of the IWB down to around 4-5 minutes for the daily presentations but found that the kids wanted to put in a huge amount of (non-tech, IWB-free) rehearsal time. Time was spent using it for further language work (with a lot of fun, and practice, being had with getting intonation right, of sounding like TV presenters), but the technology wasn't getting in the way of the language learning.

Technology shouldn't be allowed to do that.

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3 Comments

  1. Don Escéptico

    Elementary? It must be higher than that I would have thought.

  2. That should be pre-int, rather than elementary, Tom, though there's a huge mix. Cool, cool activity, thanx so much for the idea.

  3. Oops, sorry, that's now corrected.

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