Teacher talk: Interactive whiteboards

Interactive Whiteboard

Classrooms have become more technologically savvy in the past several years. More and more schools are becoming equipped with Promethean boards, often referred to as interactive whiteboards. I was fortunate enough to have one installed in my classroom this past year. As excited as I was, I was also completely nervous as I had no idea what to do with it, much less how to even turn it on. I immediately decided to enroll in an online course offered by the school district and learned several tools that I am now capable of sharing with my students.


A look at the Promethean interactive whiteboard

For those of you who do not understand what a Promethean board is, it's a large white screen that's connected to both a computer and a projector on a table nearby. Gone are the days where I have to roll a cart full of media equipment along the classroom floor afraid of my students tripping over the cords. The Promethean board has replaced drawing and erasing on whiteboards, and has long surpassed the stone age of utilizing a chalkboard.

As I suffered through six weeks of Promethean board training, I was enthralled with all of the possibilities that this board was going to offer me in my teaching. First of all, I am now able to project web pages, word documents, and videos from my computer onto a large screen for my students to easily view. The board also has speakers that work great and my students are able to hear so much easier than trying to listen to a short video from my laptop or desktop computer. By utilizing the projector, I am able to display examples of student work or assignment criteria by simply laying it on the projector. This instantly pops up onto the large screen in front of my classroom.

A Promethean board is also an interactive whiteboard, meaning that my students and I can interact by the usage of various tools. There is an interactive pen that comes with the board, enabling us to write and draw directly onto the screen. There are tools that allow us to choose pen colors, an eraser, shapes, highlighters, and many others. As a class, we've had much more fun brainstorming ideas, creating graphic organizers, and practicing note-taking together. We can also use tools such as protractors, calculators, and dice which give us the ability to play interactive games on the board.

Teachers can find a wide range of pre-made interactive lessons for use on a Promethean board. There are amazing Jeopardy games available that I like using for reviewing concepts in subjects such as reading, math, and science. I have also tried using Power Point presentations to introduce new concepts to my student. These presentations have questions for the students and require them to click on the correct answer.

Thumbs-up for the whiteboard

The Promethean board has enabled me and my colleagues to bring learning to an entirely new level, and we look forward to exploring more ways to incorporate the tools readily available to us. Of course, there are many other tech tools in the classroom, but my experience with the whiteboard is that it's a tool well worth having. Plus, there are no erasers that need cleaning.

About the Author:
Christi Wilson is a credentialed teacher of highly-gifted students in Northern Nevada. She has 11 years of classroom teaching experience, a bachelor's degree in elementary education, a master's degree in education leadership, and has even taught K-12 education online. A mother of three busy boys, she knows how important it is to keep students engaged in the classroom and interested in a lifetime of learning.