Thursday, March 22, 2007

Dave Miller - IWB For Classroom Teachers

Pressed against tight time constraints I managed to get myself to Flinders University on time to hear Dave Miller, UK interactive whiteboard expert from the UK, and then to present a workshop to interested teachers using the ACTIVboard. It happened to be the board he was using in the Sturt Theatre and he started with a "wow factor" show of Google maps overlaid on each other, and he then used the erase tool to reveal the satellite image under the map version.

He first started working with IWBs since 2000. These are my notes from his presentation with my observations in italics.

Use time wisely when designing resources - not uncommon for teachers to spend a lot of time (excessively) designing tools that are low level. He showed a rabbit and a dove coming out of a hat and highlighted the time and effort used to create a one or two answer flipchart.

He talked about the use of colour to draw attention and how placement of stuff on the board can impact on the viewer.

He showed some popular sites for resources - Woodlands Junior School, BBC - and he incidentally kept showing some of the tools like the camera as he worked through some other resources. Interestingly, he kept using the acronym IAW, as opposed to the common Aussie acronym IWB. Wes Fryer tends to use EWB as his preferred acronym and it's important to be aware of all of them especially when tracking resources.

Talked about three stages - supported didactic, then interactive, then enhanced interactive. Involves a change of thinking. That compares in a similar way to the Marc Prensky model that I have utilised with our staff.

Says in his teaching he uses the board for everything - bit doesn't ignore the hands on, group work aspect of the classroom. Suggest that resource links are embedded in the flipcharts - teacher guides to interactive teaching in the UK. Demonstrated the use of other Software programs (ie. Word) as well as part of the board use.

Demonstrated the use of varied objects for sorting and classifying - objects are hidden or revealed according to their properties or whether they will or won't go into a box. Sound files can be used to construct learning - three phrases and optional conjunctions to join them together.

Maybe this is what the audience wanted but a lot of time was spent on "the board can do this " which can be frustrating for someone already familar with the IWB interface - but as Paul Luke from Craigburn pointed out to me after my workshop, you can always pick up some new ideas for use in your own classroom and it's important to know where the majority of teachers are with this stuff. The UK is a logical place to look as their interactive whiteboard usage predates Australia where general use of this technology is still fairly recent.