Using interactive whiteboards in mainstream primary classrooms motivates pupils by offering educational tools with a strong visual learning aspect.
For deaf children who learn visually, whiteboards facilitate inclusive teaching and learning styles in many ways.
- Interactive teaching directly at the whiteboard is possible, instead of the child missing instructions while at a classroom workstation
- The child easily switches their attention between a teacher and a whiteboard to receive information from one source at a time
- All the children absorb information visually, not aurally
- Literacy and numeracy teaching can be made more interactive
- Children with sight issues benefit from large screens, text and icons
- Videos can be used to teach children with text and visuals
- Whiteboards facilitate interaction between children in groups
- Classroom presentation skills can be developed from an early age
- Younger pupils can use their fingers to “drag” screen elements, create pictures or to see websites before mouse use is learned
- Whiteboard teaching results in longer attention spans from pupils
Teachers can be challenged when introducing new curriculum topics into a technology-driven learning environment. Creating interesting, interactive lessons is an acquired skill that needs ongoing training and development.
Pupils cannot become IT-literate unless teachers have the skills to teach in their classrooms. On this basis the NCTE (National Centre for Technology in Education) website and e-zine provide teaching resources. Several online resources (Irish and overseas) also offer tips for teaching with whiteboards.
Only a few schools in Ireland have whiteboards in every classroom, in direct contrast to Northern Ireland or the UK where every primary school is said to have a whiteboard. To achieve full inclusion, all pupils and students deserve access to technology to gain essential skills for their future workplaces.
Interactive whiteboards are a direct introduction to multimedia learning tools that hold pupils’ attention to develop their educational experience. Put simply, using twenty-first century learning tools in the classroom is the best way to give the country’s future workforce (including differently-abled employees) the necessary skills for the country to compete internationally.
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