Although interactive whiteboards are only recently introduced, they are an extremely useful resource in the classroom when used properly. They are a prime example of how children are immersed in the modern world as they are an example of the use of technology in the classroom and education.
They can be used in many ways, for example, whole class activities such as showing videos or images and input or plenary sessions, individual work including writing practice and colouring, and group work such as presenting. They are a helpful aid to teachers who know how to use them to their full potential, so teachers need to be educated in how to use interactive whiteboards. Many resources that are designed to help teachers in learning to use an interactive whiteboard can be found online, such as BBC Active (http://www.bbcactive.com/BBCActiveIdeasandResources/Whatisaninteractivewhiteboard.aspx).
Some specific examples of the use of interactive whiteboards are using games and quizzes such as ‘PhonicsPlay’ (http://www.phonicsplay.co.uk) and TESiBoard (http://www.iboard.co.uk) . This is especially useful in plenary activities to assess what children have learned in a lesson, or to review what was learned in a previous lesson as a starter activity for the next lesson.
In our ICT seminar on interactive whiteboards, we were given the opportunity to explore a software called ‘ActivInspire’ and look at how it can be a useful resource in the classroom. We were able to discover all the different functions that can be used, for instance, children can use electronic pens to draw or write on the board. This is especially helpful for Reception children in letter writing because they can have a large version of the letter as a reference, along with a big space to write in.