WOW… Interactive Whiteboards (IWB) and Presentation Software

I never thought I’d be so impressed! Another inspiring ICT session…

Today we looked at SmartBoards and how they can be used in the classroom. Smart Notebook is the software you need to use to prepare anything you want to show on the Smartboard; so you can plan at home and take the prepared document into school ready to use in an interactive way!

It was useful to learn that Smartboards can be used to develop questioning skills. By planning open questions to ask the children and then providing opportunities for discussion, this enables them to elaborate on their thoughts. The children can actively participate and contribute their ideas by writing them on the IWB, which has the ability to turn written words into typed text.

 

I explored the idea of questioning a picture; display a picture on the IWB and use the “5 W’s” questions “Who? Where? When? What? Why?” Use a different coloured pen to categorise the “5 W’s” and write the children’s answers immediately on the picture or let them do it!

You can extend learning by capturing a specific part of a picture to discuss; you use the ‘magic pen’ to focus on an area, here’s my example:

Things to consider about IWB’s:

  • Think about the impact the use of the IWB is having on the children’s learning. It may look good, but there’s no point in using it if it is not helping the children to learn.
  • Consider the position before it is fixed; appropriate height for children, can the area be dimmed to enable a clear screen?
  • Teach the T.A. to use it too!
  • Don’t over-use them……  boring!

Benefits of  IWB:

  • children can see the teacher point to specific area, not relying on a small cursor pointing.
  • a pen can be used to mark areas and highlight important parts.
  • they enhance active participation as children can come up and touch the board
  • can be used by people with communication difficulties using pictures and text.

More advantages are discussed in further detail, along with the disadvantages at:

http://www.kenttrustweb.org.uk/kentict/kentict_iwb_smart_sum.cfm

I found a video I would like to share of an Early Years pupil using an IWB to carry out activities based on The Very Hungry Caterpillar:

Personal reflection on IWB’s:

After today’s sessions I can say that IWB’s are good in great deal of ways: they make children feel special/important, they are engaging, can be used cross-curricular, they are suitable for all ages, can be used to promote teamwork, enhance all areas of development and that’s just off the top of my head! Before today I knew very little about IWB, I have only used them a couple of times. I have now installed SMART Notebook onto my laptop so I can explore it’s features and familiarise myself with it’s potential.

Presentation Software:

I have used MS Powerpoint a fair few times and can work my way around it, but on a very basic level. Here is a ppt about Polar Regions which I created for use with Early Years children to use as an introduction to Polar Regions, to create this I learnt a lot more about the software and developed my skills quite a lot. I learnt how to: edit the Slide Master to give a consistent appearance for each slide, insert a hyperlink which opens a short video about Arctic Animals and how to insert a sound clip which is of Inuit Music. By adding such features it enables the children to learn via a multi-sensory method; catering for different learning styles.

Until today I was not aware of any other presentation software. ‘Prezi’ was mentioned, so I have taken the opportunity to find out a little more about it…

Along with countless other tools, Prezi offers a Digital Scrapbook template, having watched the video ideas came flooding to me about how I could use this in the classroom. A digital scrapbook could be created instead of or alongside a Learning Journey, children could use digital scrapbooks to create projects – independently or collaboratively, or a ‘class scrapbook’ could be created for special events to be recorded.

Personal reflection on Presentation Software:

When presenting to children I would personally use IWB’s so the children can be actively engaged in the session, for example; if you are talking about animals and their habitats, an activity could be created where the children can get up and physically match the pairs by touching and dragging. I fully enjoyed creating resources on SMART Notebook and on Powerpoint and I will definitely be using these more frequently to enhance my skills and to pre-plan activities for potential use in schools.

 

Blogging in the Classroom

As I am new to blogging, especially to the idea of using them within the classroom, I have familiarised myself with the ways they are currently being used and the benefits of blogging.
Blogging offers many opportunities to both staff and pupils, http://theschoolbloggers.co.uk/school-blogs-benefits/blogging-in-the-classroom/ explain these in further detail:

  • Pupils and teachers love it!
  • Showcase your pupils’ best work to a far greater audience
  • Fantastic tool to help the support the raising of levels of attainment across your school
  • Students become independent learners
  • Easy differentiation to meet all abilities
  • Everyone learns and teachers
  • Develop relationships with the local community
  • Incredibly powerful tool for project collaboration
  • Create links with schools both nationally and internationally
  • Foster links with businesses
  • A window into the classroom for parents

Making comments on blogs was another aspect I felt unsure about; the content and tone of the text is also something I have looked into. Comments should be:

  • written like a letter; have a greeting, main content and an ending.
  • correct in terms of spelling, grammar and punctuation.
  • complimentary to the writer, ask a question or add relevant information that is relevant to the post.
  • professional; not identifying any personal information.
  • checked over and edited before being published.

The children in this video explain how to write blog comments:

Reflection:

I think blogging is a great way of sharing ideas and work, with the possibility of receiving comments which could enhance your ideas. I intend to continue blogging and commenting on other people’s blogs so it becomes second-nature to me, so I am completely confident using them in schools with children.