Editing Internet Texts/Interactive whiteboards for teaching

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Interactive whiteboards for teaching[edit]

Interactive whiteboard at CeBIT


The main aim of my project is to make teachers familiar with functions and techniques that they can use with interactive whiteboards. My goal is to show them the benefits that stem from using latest technologies and encourage them to use them in all possible ways. In particular I would like to focus on unique types of exercises that work only with the usage of interactive whiteboards. The educational component of my project include two exercises for teachers that they will have to come up with after reading all the tips I gave them.


Interactive whiteboard recognising handwriting

What is an interactive whiteboard?[edit]

Interactive whiteboard (IWB) is a large interactive display in the form factor of a whiteboard. It can either be a standalone touchscreen computer used independently to perform tasks and operations, or a connectable apparatus used as a touchpad to control computers from a projector. They are used in a variety of settings, including classrooms at all levels of education, in corporate board rooms and work groups, in training rooms for professional sports coaching, in broadcasting studios, and others. Designing lessons around interactive whiteboards helps educators streamline their preparation, be more efficient in their Information and Communication Technology (ICT) integration and increase their productivity overall.[1].

The first interactive whiteboards were designed and manufactured for use in the office. They were developed by PARC around 1990. This board was used in small group meetings and round-tables. In 1991 Smart Technologies produced an interactive whiteboard that used projection technology.[2]

General operation and use[edit]

An interactive whiteboard (IWB) device can either be a standalone computer or a large, functioning touchpad for computers to use.

A device driver is usually installed on the attached computer so that the interactive whiteboard can act as a Human Input Device (HID), like a mouse. The computer's video output is connected to a digital projector so that images may be projected on the interactive whiteboard surface.

The user then calibrates the whiteboard image by matching the position of the projected image in reference to the whiteboard using a pointer as necessary. After this, the pointer or other device may be used to activate programs, buttons and menus from the whiteboard itself, just as one would ordinarily do with a mouse. If text input is required, user can invoke an on-screen keyboard or, if the whiteboard software provides for this, utilize handwriting recognition. This makes it unnecessary to go to the computer keyboard to enter text.

Thus, an IWB emulates both a mouse and a keyboard. The user can conduct a presentation or a class almost exclusively from the whiteboard.

Interactive whiteboard pen

In addition, most IWBs are supplied with software that provides tools and features specifically designed to maximize interaction opportunities. These generally include the ability to create virtual versions of paper flipcharts, pen and highlighter options, and possibly even virtual rulers, protractors, and compasses—instruments that would be used in traditional classroom teaching.

Uses for interactive whiteboards may include:

  • Running software that is loaded onto the connected PC, such as a web browsers or other software used in the classroom.
  • Capturing and saving notes written on a whiteboard to the connected PC
  • Capturing notes written on a graphics tablet connected to the whiteboard
  • Controlling the PC from the white board using click and drag, markup which annotates a program or presentation
  • Using OCR software to translate cursive writing on a graphics tablet into text
  • Using an Audience Response System so that presenters can poll a classroom audience or conduct quizzes, capturing feedback onto the whiteboard

Common types of operations[edit]

The majority of IWBs sold globally involve one of four forms of interaction between the user and the content projected on the whiteboard. These are an infrared scan technology, a resistive, touch-based board, an electromagnetic pen and associated software, and an ultrasonic pen.

Operation of a infrared scan (IR touch) whiteboard An infrared interactive whiteboard is a large interactive display that connects to a computer and projector. The board is typically mounted to a wall or floor stand. Movement of the user's finger, pen, or other pointer over the image projected on the whiteboard is captured by its interference with infrared light at the surface of the whiteboard. When the whiteboard surface is pressed, software triangulates the location of the marker or stylus. Infrared IWBs may be made of any material, no dry-erase markers are involved, and may be found in many settings, including various levels of classroom education, corporate boardrooms, training or activity rooms for organizations, professional sports coaching facilities, and broadcasting studios.
Operation of a resistive touch-based interactive whiteboard A touch-based IWB also involves a simple pointing device. In this case, the material of the board is important. In the most common resistive system, a membrane stretched over the surface deforms under pressure to make contact with a conducting backplate. The touch point location can then be determined electronically and registered as a mouse event. For example, when a finger is pressed on the surface, it is registered as the equivalent of the left mouse click. Again, such a board requires no special instruments. This leads to the claim of resistive systems manufacturers that such a whiteboard is easy and natural to use. It is, however, heavily dependent on the construction of the board itself.
Operation of an electromagnetic pen-based interactive whiteboard An electromagnetic pen-based interactive whiteboard involves an array of wires embedded behind the solid board surface that interacts with a coil in the stylus tip to determine the horizontal and vertical coordinates of the stylus. The pen itself usually is passive, i.e., it contains no batteries or other power source; it alters the electrical signals produced by the board. For instance, when close to the surface of the board, the mouse pointer can be sensed, giving the board "mouse-over" capabilities. When it is pressed in against the board in one way, the board activates a switch in the pen to signal a mouse click to the computer; pressed in another way, contact with the board signals a click of the right mouse-button. Like a scaled-up version of a graphics tablet used by professional digital artists and designers, an electromagnetic IWB can emulate mouse actions accurately, will not malfunction if a user leans on the board, and can potentially handle multiple inputs.
Operation of a portable ultrasonic, IR pen-based interactive whiteboard This technology uses infrared light and ultrasound positioning technology. The technology works in a similar way to lightning in a thunderstorm by computing the time difference between the speed of light and the speed of sound. An infrared IWB is also available in a portable format. After moving the set-up to a new location, the system acquires connection to the computer with a simple re-calibration of the projected image — again using the electronic pen. The device or bar scans a bracketed area (usually 3m by 1.5m, giving a whiteboard that is 110" wide). Typically, multiple brackets can be added, providing for users at different sites to share the same virtual whiteboard.

A portable IR pen-based whiteboard works on a variety of surfaces — an existing whiteboard, a flat wall, even a chalkboard with dry-erase paint, transforms those surface into an interactive whiteboard. No battery is required for USB signal receiver and the unit can be mounted to the ceiling if a permanent solution is required. Made of a tiny and lightweight material, the PIWB is easy to transport.

Operation of a Wiimote / IR-based interactive whiteboard A Wii-based IR system was invented by Johnny Chung Lee, PhD. in 2007. Lee claimed that the system "[m]akes a technology available to a much wider percentage of the population" (Speaking at TED, April 2008)
WiiMote Whiteboard
by using an ordinary Wii remote control as a pointer and the IR camera on the front of the remote control as tracking device sensing light from an IR light pen. Lee produced several videos on YouTube about this system to demonstrate its operability, flexibility, and ease of use, and pointing out its modest price — the most inexpensive part is the infrared LED of the pen. This is an approach with a shallow learning curve since the gaming system is already familiar to many. A large programming support community may be available, both in opensource and commercial offerings.[3]) However, the system cannot be used near direct sunlight, nor can it share the software of manufacturers of the IWB-types already mentioned. Certain considerations about the Bluetooth connection of the light pen also apply. Two lines of sight are involved (the controller and the pen) in the case of rear-projection case. unlike many others.)
Operation of a virtual whiteboard via an interactive projector An interactive projector IWB involves a CMOS camera built into the projector, so that the projector produces the IWB image, but also detects the position of an active IR light pen when it contacts the surface where the projected image. This solution, developed in 2007 and patented in 2010 by U.S. manufacturer Boxlight [4], like the other IR whiteboard systems, can suffer from potential problems caused by 'line of sight' between the pen and the projector/receiver and, like them also, does not provide mouse-over capability found in other solutions.

Classroom uses[edit]

A classroom with an interactive whiteboard

Interactive whiteboards are an effective way to interact with digital content and multimedia in a multi-person learning envi­ronment. In some classrooms, interactive whiteboards have replaced traditional whiteboards or flipcharts, or video/media systems such as a DVD player and TV combination. Even where traditional boards are used, the IWB often supplements them by connecting to a school network digital video distribution system. In other cases, IWBs interact with online shared annotation and drawing environments such as interactive vector based graphical websites.

Brief instructional blocks can be recorded for review by students — they will see the exact presentation that occurred in the classroom with the teacher's audio input. This can help transform learning and instruction.

Learning activities with an interactive whiteboard may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Manipulating text and images
  • Making notes in digital ink
  • Saving notes for later review by using e-mail, the Web or print
  • Viewing websites as a group
  • Demonstrating or using software at the front of a room without being tied to a computer
  • Creating digital lesson activities with templates, images and multimedia
  • Writing notes over educational video clips
  • Using presentation tools that are included with the whiteboarding software to enhance learning materials
  • Showcasing student presentations

Student engagement[edit]

Most people need to reinforce their beliefs and understandings by asking others questions, thereby making learning an inherently social activity. Current education theories are grounded in the notion of the social learner and position student engagement as a key component of knowledge construc­tion. These learning theories are shown in the following chart.

Social learning

A common thread between these three learning theories is the understanding that student engagement is crucial to learning and, as a growing collection of international research proves, interactive whiteboards promote student engagement. Educators can use digital resources while maintaining dynamic interaction with the entire class, provide computer-based learning without isolating students and encourage a higher level of student interaction in both teacher-directed and group-based exchanges. Perhaps one of the biggest challenges of integrating ICT into learning environments is maintaining dynamic interaction with stu­dents as they focus on their individual computer screens. Interactive whiteboards promote interaction among the students, the learning materials and the teacher, and enrich ICT by providing a large work space for hands-on work with multi­media resources. Having a display surface large enough for everyone to see encourages a high level of student interaction. A teacher and a student can interact with the interactive whiteboard at the front of the class and the rest of the students remain involved. As research[5] from the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia indicates, the functionality of the interactive whiteboard and its accom­panying software allows for the development of classroom activities that are engaging for students, so they encourage greater focus, participation and interaction, and improve student learning outcomes as a result.

Tips for teachers[edit]

  • Record lesson activities:

Educators who are at the beginning stage of using interactive whiteboards can start their implementation with this activity. Interactive whiteboards include a software that enables users to create presentations and take notes. Educators can utilize this feature by recording their lesson activities and notes, encouraging students to come up and jot down few works, saving all these works for future references. You can also print and publish them for your students.

  • Encourage students to work on IWB:

While progressing through several activities on interactive whiteboards, you can get the expertise in its operation. Once you feel comfortable in navigating it, just spend more time giving your students’ the chances to work on it. Encourage your students to create interactive presentations for their own works and also ask them to create resources that contain all learning objectives required for a lesson concept. Many smart board software include screen recording tools. Educators can capture them to provide previous lessons to students within no time.

  • Explore & Exchange your knowledge by joining many Smartboard communities:

In recent days, collaboration has got increased attention as a great way to improve one’s expertise. There is no doubt that communication with other educators brings new innovations and practices. Many interactive white board vendors have recognized this fact and formed numerous smart board communities. Join such smart board communities, explore smartboard resources and exchange your knowledge with others.

SMART Board Revolution is a very good web platform for all SMART Board educators. This is an effective online tool for sharing your ideas, tips and lesson files that can maximize student learning. This website includes so many teachers across the world, groups , lesson files, video tutorials, blogs shared by teachers and much more.

Smart Exchange enables educators to share resources which optimize student learning. We hope this information is useful for you to know about a few great strategies of interactive whiteboard usage. We’d like to know about your personal ways of using smart boards in your classroom. Please feel free to share with us in the comment box.

Leading brands[edit]

There are now many interactive whiteboard companies to choose from, and most feature video, image, and lesson libraries. Here are some of the leading brands:

  • SMART introduced the first interactive whiteboard in 1991 and it is the world’s best-selling interactive whiteboard. A leader in introducing touch technology into the classroom, SMART boards allow teachers to access 6,600 learning objects and customizable lesson plans. http://smarttech.com/
  • Promethean now offers an integrated system that packages the interactive white board, Learner Response System, lesson design and delivery software and online support and professional development. http://www.prometheanworld.com/
  • Mimio is a system that creates an interactive whiteboard out of a standard whiteboard. For districts that are trying to manage tight budgets and already own whiteboards, Mimio is a good option. It also includes online training and certification. http://www.mimio.dymo.com
  • Numonics features electromagnetic technology and a multimedia pen to utilize a full range of cross-curricular activities and training. Their website, http://www.interactivewhiteboards.com/, offers the following research statistics:
  • eInstruction’s newest product offering, Interwrite Workspace, includes more than 4,000 digital, K-20 teaching resources from math to language arts and science. Publisher-independent, Interwrite Workspace includes 50 tools to create, display, organize, record and share teaching materials. http://www.einstruction.com/
  • Polyvision’s eno board can be used as a traditional marker board, a magnetic board, or an interactive white board with no plugs or cables. It promises the lowest total cost of ownership for schools and districts looking for the most affordable interactivity. http://www.polyvision.com/

Free Interactive Whiteboard Resources[edit]

Here is a list of some great interactive whiteboard resources and activities guaranteed to stimulate learning:


On the basis of the information that you've read on this page try to create an exercise on any subject with the usage of an interactive whiteboard. Prepare a short description of your exercise that would provide:

  • the target audience
  • the techniques used
  • tools needed
  • problems that you've come across when creating the exercise

Once you are ready share your ideas by leaving me a personal message here.

Further reading[edit]

  1. CBCI Telecom blog
  2. Teach Hub


  1. Basmah Issa Ahmad Al-Saleem. (2012), THE INTERACTIVE WHITEBOARD IN ENGLISH AS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE (EFL) CLASSROOM. European Scientific Journal February edition vol. 8, No.3 2012
  2. https://www.thestar.com/business/2016/11/12/google-releases-jamboard-a-high-tech-whiteboard-for-office-meetings.html, Toronto Star, November 12, 2016. pageB4. Steven Overly.
  3. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1lfLMJTBOcO-UHU4_9XHraZRec3PGSdkkdZCZSgKFPe4/edit, Overview of Developments in the Wii
  4. U.S PATENT No: US 7,703,926 B2. April 27, 2010,CMOS cameras embedded inside of a projector
  5. http://downloads01.smarttech.com/media/education/pdf/interactivewhiteboardsandlearning.pdf