To the classroom in which every student works by themselves behind desks aligned in symmetrical rows, to the classroom where the teacher, in front of the class, writes extensive notes with a white chalk on the black board and to the classroom in which students spend time and energy copying texts and information with their pencil and lined sheet, I say it is time to change. Just like anything else, the way in which learners learn is in constant evolution process to which us teachers need to adapt. Black boards, chalks, sheet and pencils are not good anymore for what we call the era of digital learners.
Indeed, we are now facing generations of young learners of which the majority started using technologies before reaching the age of 2. In 2011 in Quebec, it was estimated that over 81% of Quebec families had access to Internet at home. I feel like it is a reality that really stands out in the classroom. Today’s learners already are advanced users of technologies, so why not make it to our profit and insert it into the school’s program? I don’t think it is any use to keep them so backward. Let’s all use technologies to reach out to the students and make them engaged and interested in going to school.
To do so, I came across many resources available out there to any teacher who desires to get involve in making the use of technologies in the classroom. One good starter would be to replace the traditional blackboard by an electronic device that can display anything we want; interactive white boards (IWB). As IWB are more and more popular in Quebec’s schools, I think it is worth taking a look at it.
I would describe IWB as giant tactile interactive screens to which teachers can digitize documents, and if connected to a network, navigate through the Internet from the device just like a computer or a tablet computer.
In my opinion, IWB provide me with limitless opportunities to be more creative in the way I teach. When I was first introduced this device, my initial reaction was to look at it as not more than an electronic version of the well famous black board. However, after looking up for more information about them, I realized that IWB could take me kilometers away from what the traditional board can do. Not only does IWB allow to gather all the class material in one place, but they are time saving, allow for a more organized teaching, create an atmosphere in which the students feel engage, and make teaching more creative.
I did not realize how much having all documents and resources gathered in one place could make much of a difference, but when you think about it, IWB make us teachers’ life much easier. It avoid lost of time setting up the projector and its screen. All that is needed is to power on the board and that’s it. Also, for quite forgetful people like myself, it allows to keep any document that is covered in class all in one place, which would eliminate the possibility of losing papers. I would not imagine myself losing my interactive board… The various functions available on IWB include the possibility to save class notes, to record you talking and to upload and save files to the board. Everything is stocked in one place and it is easy to go back and retrieve the information at any time!
One other thing that strikes me as time and energy saving is the fact that it allows teachers to prepare everything in advance…EVEN THE CLASS NOTES! Indeed, it allows me as an English teacher to prepare a document on which I put all the course materials, class notes, and digital copies of the sheets that are to be handed in to students. Afterwards, I will only have to upload it to the board in order to have it displayed on the screen and that is it! I can reuse the file from groups to groups, no need to rewrite everything on the board or to re-set the projector. How easy!
It also gives an opportunity to let on my creativity and create interesting class notes layouts that will catch the students attention such as original ideas organizers.
I also believe that IWB can help to create an atmosphere that will elicit students to feel more engaged in the classroom. Indeed, IWB put at hand a countless amount of resources that will serve to match the various kind of interest of each student in the classroom. I think that IWB allows for innovative techniques and tools to teach limitless amount of information coming straight from what the learners are well familiarized with; the Internet. With its easy access to the Internet, teachers can easily renew their information and material by presenting new videos to the student or simply by finding new useful educative websites that can be displayed onto the screen. Interactive boards allows for personalized and unlimited teaching methods that will arouse the attention of students. This new device is an excellent way to reach up to every student’s specific interest.
The interactive board is just what I need. It allows for multiple layout tools such as mind mapping software, which enable the teacher to create fun and attention seeking way to display course notes and new material for the course. In addition, the access to websites, videos, and images is easy; we simply need the help of Google, YouTube, and other similar websites. Such websites are usually well known by most learners and will contribute to engage them in the willingness to learn. They might even happen to teach us information as they are very knowledgeable with the Internet.