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IWBs in Lectures

Betcher and Lee (as well as other authors whose work draws from theirs) identify three stages in work with IWBs in courses:

  1. Doing old things in old ways

The most obvious application is to simply use an IWB to replace a blackboard. This is easy to do using writing software like SMART Notebook or Windows Journal; in-depth knowledge of the functions of an interactive whiteboard are not necessary for this purpose.

The potentially endless writing surface offered by the SMART Notebook software is advantageous, as there is no need to erase markings after writing.

The IWB is less advantageous compared to a blackboard or whiteboard if one would like to draw pictures and sketches on the panel. Even current SMART Board models are only able to register a few points of contact simultaneously, and as such working with a ruler or compass is not possible, or is only possible to a limited degree. Although SMART Notebook does feature corresponding tools, the IWB is simply outclassed by traditional boards in this area.

  1. Doing old things in new ways

As one becomes increasingly familiar with the IWB, one’s willingness to take full advantage of the technical possibilities offered by the board also increases. More complex panels with interactive options such as links to websites, integrated videos, movable objects, etc. can be created in advance and further developed during the course of the lecture. Existing panel pictures can be saved at any time and later called up in subsequent session, inviting project based sessions that extend beyond the limits of a single lecture period. Copying down panel content becomes unnecessary if the files with IWB content are made available to students via WueCampus2; the students can then direct their full attention to the content of the lecture. Furthermore, lecturers can consider sharing their IWB lesson content with one another.

  1. Doing new things in new ways

The true additional educational value of IWBs lies in their ability to act as a catalyst for new teaching concepts, for example when lecturers take a backseat and provide students with the opportunity to lead the course. Students can access the internet to find answers to questions that they themselves have raised, and can collectively structure their acquired knowledge into mind maps. SMART Notebook software is particularly suitable for this purpose because each word written on the board is saved as a movable and resizable object. A completed mind map can subsequently be saved and made available to the students. Furthermore, the SMART Board acts as a “Trojan Horse for media and technology” (cf. Betcher/Lee), inviting the incorporation of various applications. On the internet there exist a variety of interesting apps which may be suitable for use in university teaching. They are free, do not need to be installed locally on PCs, are generally accessible via any current browser and allow students to make creative contributions. Their functions range from advertisement-free viewing of YouTube videos to cooperative writing or the creation of one’s own screencasts or radio shows. A list with app recommendations can be found here. With the powerful speakers and the large projection surface of the SMART Board, guest lectures via Skype are a further interesting possibility.

However, group work, extensive usage of apps in lectures, remote presentation of video content in real time, or even the organization of collective knowledge via mind-mapping are time-consuming and usually difficult to integrate. One solution to the issue of time constraints is the Inverted Classroom model – this may once more be realized with the aid of the SMART Board. By using teaching videos to outsource the transfer of knowledge, nearly all of the time spent in the classroom can be used to employ new teaching methods.