Interactive Whiteboards: Technology That Makes A Difference

2087 words - 8 pages

The interactive whiteboard has become a popular technology in recent years because of its potential. Educators are able to meet the learning styles and different intelligences in their class by using this one tool. The use of the interactive whiteboard has inspired teachers to expand and extend their interaction and involvement with their students and the technology itself.
Interactive whiteboards (IWBs) provide a variety of benefits to students. Most of these benefits are in the area of the affective domain (DiGregorio & Sobel-Lojeski, 2010). IWBs tend to improve students’ motivation to perform academic activities. Students usually enjoy the pictures and interactive activities and eagerly await a turn to use the board themselves. As a result, students are often more engaged and attentive when learning via an IWB. Studies have found that using an IWB can improve students’ attitudes towards many subjects, even those they do not like as much (Wall, Higgins, & Smith, 2005).
Interactive whiteboards also provide the students with greater access to digital technology and resources. Via an IWB, an entire class can view a website, complete an interactive activity, watch a movie, or play a game. In effect, IWBs provide a class with access to the world of the internet (Starkman, 2006). This allows learning to be more up-to-date. While using IWBs, students learn how to use the IWB technology as well as how to navigate the web. Using IWBs also makes learning more portable. IWBs make it easy for teachers to make PDFs of in class assignments that can be easily shared with students. This allows students to access class work from anywhere (Genesi, 2009).
Interactive whiteboards can also help students learn. By providing multimodal representations, IWB learning can target a variety of learning styles at once (DiGregorio & Sobel-Lojeski, 2010). For example, visual learners may benefit from the pictures and graphics, while kinesthetic learners are engaged by the ability to manipulate objects on the board. Unfortunately, those hoping that IWBs will increase test scores are out of luck. At this point, few studies show learning gains directly as a result of the use of the IWB. This may be because IWBs target students attitudes rather than cognition (DiGregorio & Sobel-Lojeski, 2010). As a result, the greatest gains are in motivation not achievement. Regardless, additional studies are needed before research can be considered conclusive.
Additionally, interactive whiteboards can provide scaffolding for students with special needs. One study found that using an interactive whiteboards helped students with intellectual disabilities to learn sight words more efficiently (Mechling, Gast, & Krupa, 2007). Another study concluded that IWBs can be beneficial in helping students with autism to learn new behaviors. Social stories are a typical method for teaching students with autism new positive behaviors. When IWBs are used for these stories, students can...

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