Week 8/9: Introduction to Interactive Whiteboards


from Wikipedia:

An interactive whiteboard (IWB) is a large interactive display that connects to a computer. A projector projects the computer’s desktop onto the board’s surface where users control the computer using a pen, finger, stylus, or other device. The board is typically mounted to a wall or floor stand.

How about an anecdote…

Interactive Whiteboards used to be very expensive and rare in Yukon schools.  Many of us worked out convoluted systems using Apple TVs, Ipads, styluses and projectors.  One friend across the hall created his own system using a Wii controller, a soldering iron and some candles.  Due to some ‘bureaucratic –  legalistic’ requirement of not setting kids or the school on fire, he was forced to abandon this very innovative ‘hack’.

For many of us, the projecting element was the most pragmatic function.  This allowed us to incorporate various media into lessons (relatively easily).  We could use many different kinds of software to mind map, brainstorm and share content with students during our lessons.  This work could then be saved and posted to homework sites.  For teachers with terrible spelling and atrocious board writing, these tools make it easier to be more coherent and effective.  It is also easier to share with parents (who want to support their kids at home) to see what is happening in the classroom.

What is most compelling, and often underutilized is the interactive part of the Interactive Whiteboard.  Beyond physical interactivity (having students use the board to do work – as a station, part of a dissection lab, etc.) most current set ups allow teachers to connect many of the things we have been discussing in class (google apps, social media) to extend the Interactivity of the interactive Whiteboard.


In Yukon right now, this setup Epson setup is becoming the norm.  The new FH Collins building has this interactive projector in every classroom.  For around $2000 (far far more affordable then old smart-boards or Promethean set ups- $8000-$10000).  You can basically use any Software.  You can also project right onto an existing Whiteboard, not requiring any new ‘board’ to be mounted.

Like anything, using the Interactive Whiteboard effectively takes a little bit of extra reading, exploration, practice and experimentation.

Yukon Education is training teachers to use the ‘Active Inspire’ software.  This software is part of the ‘disk image’ on all Department computers, including Laptops purchased by teachers through the ‘Cost Share Program”.  You can also download a free ‘trial’ version of Active Inspire at HERE.

Here a an unadulterated promo video for Active Inspire.  Rest assured, that I receive no remuneration from the Promethean Company, and that I only post this video so you can get a sense of how it works.

One cool feature that I have seen used with Active Inspire, is that students can use their own devices (or school provided devices) to answer questions posed within a lesson.  Their answers, are then fed in real time (via a web based platform) to the teachers computer and is visible on the screen.  The teacher can then adapt their teaching, right away based on data that comes in during mini check in quizes. The software here is called “Class Flow” –  it integrates into your active inspire.

Check this out:  Again, I receive no benefit from the ‘Class Flow’ corporation.

Notice that the tech allows for individualization, teacher feedback, differentiated instruction, student accountability and initially it may promote engagement.  These are good things?

You can set up a class flow account for free.

Required Reading:

Check out Youtube, Blogs, teacher sites for ideas of how people are using Interactive Whiteboards in their classes.

Share your research:  Add information to this Google Document – “Cool Ideas for Using Interactive Whiteboards in class’


Tech Task:

Your job this week will be to create and deliver an Interactive Lesson, utilizing an Interactive Whiteboard.  I would encourage you to try our the Class Flow option.

During the second lab of this module, you will deliver your lesson to the class.  Lessons will need to be no longer then 15 minutes.  I will explain this in more detail in class.

A good basic overview of the basic features of Active Inspire can be found at the Promethean site.