Is this an interactive whiteboard I see before me?

Text manipulation features of interactive whiteboards (IWBs)

In some classrooms, electronic whiteboards are used in a very static and non-interactive way, (arguably an expensive waste of resources) often with only a powerpoint being projected and occasionally annotated; some schools use projectors with a basic whiteboard and pen set-up and many teachers prefer it this way. Many teachers who use the interactive whiteboard regularly have come to see how versatile a tool it is, especially for annotation and text manipulation.


An interactive whiteboard won’t make a weak teacher into a good teacher; it won’t improve exam results or magically make classes behave beautifully – those things are the teacher’s responsibility. But using an interactive whiteboard properly – for those who would like to – using it actively, imaginatively, with planning and with the needs of each class in mind – then it will enhance what a good teacher can do well.

Knowing a number of basic IWB functions can be invaluable –

For subjects where visual appeal, diagrams, maps and charts are integral, the IWB allows simple copy & paste functions to be used either for straightforward illustration (see Enduring Love slides, above,) or with an activity built in, such as a cover and reveal activity in this Y9 poetry activity, identifying poetic techniques

poetic task

Correct answers are concealed beneath panels the same colour as the background and can be moved aside when the class is ready

poetic techs

 Organisation and storage – as resources build up over time, files can be saved, adapted and re-presented.


In just one GCSE folder I can store many notebook slides, all easily retrievable, easily adaptable.


A whole topic or scheme of work can be built up in one slide sequence – my Thomas Hardy sequence has over 200 slides.


The way slides are put together in sequences can also enable and support effective planning, allowing more free time in the lesson for discussion, direct instruction and explanation and dealing with questions. For literary analysis, especially for less secure learners, having a pre-prepared structure can help learners work through different stages of the reading, thinking and paragraphing:


And gradually the sequence can build up, with notes being overlaid onto the base slides-


If I added notes I wanted to retain on later slides, I could simply C&P them on. At each stage, I can add layers, and pupils will work on finding quotations, developing their explanations, and so on-


Each of these is a separate pre-prepared slide…


I can conceal key ideas and check pupils’ learning..


and then check…


 The more interactive aspects of the basic functions are best exploited in sorting and grouping tasks, eg, taking quotations from a poem-


and asking students to group them…before either discussing, assisting, or revealing


Another useful feature is the ability to present slides side by side..


And a final core feature is the ability to include attachments – hyperlinks to other files or to web sources, video files, etc.


If plain text or simple visuals are all that a teacher needs, then an OHP might well be good enough. For some subjects, this might indeed be preferable.

For myself, as an English teacher, I prefer the rich and varied features of notebook, although the ones illustrated here are only the basic functions.





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s