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What are interactive whiteboards?

What are interactive whiteboards?
Find out what interactive whiteboards are and how they enhance learning in the classroom.

What are interactive whiteboards?

Most schools now have interactive whiteboards (IWBs) in every classroom. Interactive whiteboards are the size of a usual class whiteboard, but are connected to a teacher's computer, which means that whatever the teacher is doing on the computer will appear on the interactive whiteboard.

The teacher has an IWB pen which they use on the IWB, which is either put into 'pen mode' for writing and drawing, or 'cursor mode' for clicking on items on the screen, just as you would do on a computer.

Special software is provided for interactive whiteboards which offer a range of mathematical drawings and equipment, pictures and paint tools.


Benefits of IWBs are as follows:

  • Teachers are able to create several 'pages' of a lesson in advance. This may include word problems with pictures, passages of text or bar charts etc. The alternative to this, would be that children would need to have everything on a sheet in front of them or a teacher would have to write or drawn things in advance on large sheets of paper. The IWB means that their desks can be clear and all eyes can face forward to look at stimulating and eye-catching images on the screen.
  • Teachers can show children very explicitly how to carry out various mathematical tasks. With a large virtual protractor, for example, teachers can show children how to measure angles. Teachers can demonstrate how to group items for division, draw bar charts and symmetrical lines or show children the moving hands of a clock to demonstrate time intervals.
  • Shared work that has been done on the board can be saved. For example: if a teacher may want to save the work done in a shared writing session for the children to look back at on a later date. In maths, they may have drawn up a bar chart from results collected by the class, which they want to look at and analyse later in the week.
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