Tonight was an open evening at my school as part of a celebratory week - Multicultural Week - and classrooms were on show to parents and students to wander through and check out. Every class have been studying different countries and cultures and was expected to showcase their learning in some way. Now the class I share have made the USA our focus (a cultural melting pot like Australia!) and my class have spent the best part of a term, researching and creating Powerpoint slideshows. Besides highlighting the need for improved information literacy skills with my students (the topic for a future post) the kids had produced some very creative digital products. The plan was to use the class interactive whiteboard to show this to the parents. I created a webpage map in FrontPage that had the kids' names hot spotted to link to the Powerpoints. So all the kids had to do was bring in their parents, pick up the interactive pen, click on their name and launch the slideshow. They controlled the flow of the presentation, they spoke clearly about their learning and explained their choice of graphics etc. Although the parents were clearly impressed by the bells and whistles and my critical eye kept looking for improved factual accuracy (keep in mind that these are 11 and 12 year olds), it struck me that the key ingredient to the success, of the IWB is ownership. My class talk about the room's IWB as their board - it's theirs to use, they invite their parents to be a part of it and other students from other classes can use it but it is still their board. That was confirmed in one of my Maths group lessons when a child from another class who had just used the IWB to solve a maths concept said, "I wish we had one of these in my classroom."
See what I mean about ownership - it's theirs so it's important and they want to use it, it is engaging, they demonstrate mastery, they are collaborative with classmates using it (we all have a share in this, y'know) and we can view each other's work on it and our teacher customises things for us and we can show things that are important to us and that whole little learning community thing starts to really buzz along.
And it doesn't stop with the kids, either. One of the reasons staff are working hard to master this tool and take on the steep learning curve is the sense of ownership that comes with the IWB.
"When my kids were using our board the other day..."
Maybe I'll convince Will yet! Having said that, I do believe that IWB ownership could well be a primary school (read elementary if you are North American) phenomenom because of the one room/ one class structure where the bulk of lessons take place in the one venue with the one consistent teacher (or tandem combination). More to come....