10 good, productive uses of an interactive whiteboard

A map of our internet
A map of our internet: see (2), below

For those of you coming to a quick session this morning on using an interactive whiteboard (aka an IWB), here are 10 previous posts with ideas for productive IWB activities that have worked well with language classes.

By "productive" I mean that they will produce a lot of language but won't require the teacher to spend hours preparing material — so, in this case, the teacher won't have to create half a dozen or more IWB pages. Note how many of the activities below would mean using a single page, often beginning with nothing or very little on it.

In no particular order:

1. | Using a single IWB page to jot down doubts arising in discussion, and then using those as the basis for a mini-webquest

2. | A map of our internet (see example shown above), collaboratively produced on a single IWB page

3. | Grammar casino, a grammar revision game which I first played in class perhaps 25 years ago, using a piece of chalk and the blackboard

One my main doubts about IWBs:
Could we do the same task just as well without an IWB? If so, why are we using one?

4. | Importing stills from a video on to an IWB page as a starting point for digital storytelling (see also a second example)

5. | Using an IWB page to script what we think happened in a video

Infographic on an IWB
Infographic on an IWB

6. | Importing infographics, blanking out the captions (as in the image above), providing a few clues and then getting learners to speculate on what exactly it shows

7. | The IWB for weather forecasting, possibly the most fun I've ever had with the beast

8. | Another old favourite: using an IWB page for dictogloss (with or without an IWB a wonderful activity for language classes)

9. | An IWB page for brainstorming (another of my favourite classroom activities, something else which of course doesn't require an IWB!)

10. | An IWB page for mind mapping (and other things that could have been done on an IWB)

Important things to note

My #1 tip for using an IWB in class
Move quickly from the interactive whiteboard to interactive students and an inactive (sic) whiteboard

  • To learn to use an IWB, spending 20 minutes hands-on playing with it, on three separate days, is much better training than spending an hour on it on one day. You want to learn how to use things, forget them and then rediscover them. It's a bit like learning a language: class three times a week is way better than just coming on a Friday 😉 !
  • Classroom technology — any technology, not just the IWB — is NOT about what YOU, the teacher, does with it: what matters is what your learners do with it
  • KEY question How to make your interactive whiteboard truly interactive

See also ||| All previous posts with IWB activities

Other ideas that work? Or don't… ! If you have some, I'd love to hear about them! Pop them in the comments…

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