UKEdMag: IWBs - Ideas to Keep it Simple, by @DannyNic

-Excerpt from UKEdMagazine, March 2014 - Click here to read full article. By Danny Nicholson.

I am very much aware that for a new user, the average piece of IWB software can be a little overwhelming. Invariably, it has a lot of buttons and tools that can be quite confusing.

In addition, while the majority of schools are using either SMART Notebook or Promethean Activ software there is a lot of other software out there that teachers are using in schools. It can be frustrating to see activities that are reliant on a very specific tool in one piece of software, only to find that you can’t do that in the software you have in school.
Whiteboard software often contains additional tools such as tables, handwriting recognition, interactive resources, maths tools, timers and suchlike. All are fun, but not always essential.

Too many tools can overwhelm the beginner, and if you are just getting started it is better to slim things down and focus on the important features. With this in mind, in this article I am going to concentrate on the 5 most basic tools that any piece of interactive whiteboard software should have, and how you can create a lot of really useful activities for your lessons.
Those 5 tools are:

  • Freehand Pen
  • Text
  • Shapes
  • Eraser
  • Inserting images

With just these tools, there are so many things you can do. It is also good to know how to group shapes together and to lock some objects on the page so they can’t be moved by accident.

1. Rub and Reveal

This is a very simple technique that relies on the fact that the eraser tool rubs out anything drawn with the pen tool, but does not rub out typed text. If you change the pen tool to have a thick line, and change the colour so that it matches the background of the page, then you can quickly make text disappear by simply drawing over it. This is a very quick way to make cloze activities (fill in the gaps) or to hide labels to a diagram such as in the example below.


To make the text appear, switch to the eraser tool and then rub out the pen. The words will appear as if by magic. It’s a simple technique, but very effective.

2. Anagram Keyword Games

At its most simple level, all this activity is made from are two blocks of text – one is an anagram of a keyword, and one is the correct answer. I have then drawn two rectangles and filled them in. These are then used to cover the two words.

In this example I have added text to the two boxes so I can remember which is the anagram and which is the answer.


3. Drag and Drop 1 – matching
A very simple activity to use at different times in a lesson to check on understanding, these are simply text boxes which then need to be matched.

To speed things up, I created one blue box and one yellow box using the shapes tool and then added text. I then cloned these boxes several times (or copy/paste) to get many identical boxes. Then change the text in each one.
The boxes could contain words and their definitions, beginnings and ends of sentences, dates and events, words in one language and their corresponding word in English.

The boxes can be dragged together to match up. Or lines can be drawn to pair them up. As an extension – have a whole load of different words in boxes for sentence rearranging or fridge magnet poetry.


To read the rest of the article, which includes tips and ideas including: Drag and Drop 2 – Sequencing; Drag and Drop 3- sorting; Drag and Drop 4 – matching words and pictures; Drag and Drop 5 – Plenary Circles; Fishing Rods / Balloons, click here for the full UKEdMag article.


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The Editorial Account of UKEdChat, managed by editor-in-chief Colin Hill, with support from Martin Burrett from the UKEd Magazine. Pedagogy, Resources, Community.

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