So this morning we gave our training session to around 20 teachers on using Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs). We had an hour and a half, enough time to scratch the surface of what was possible but little more. Hopefully we sowed some seeds that will grow from there.
We split the session into three parts:
- An example lesson on the wonderful Flanimals.
- A demonstration of how to put together some lesson ideas using Word, SMART Notebook and the internet, based around the new 7 wonders.
- Time for staff to go off in groups, play with the software and try and create something to use in a lesson.
The group had staff of all abilities and experiences which added to the challenge. Overall it seemed to be very well received. We tried to approach this from a teaching and learning perspective rather than a technical viewpoint, covering: grouping exercises; show and hide exercises; using the internet; pen relays etc..
I think, given the time constraints, we approached this from the successful angle, however a number of issues were highlighted:
- The number of staff who have received no training or help with their £1000+ whiteboards is staggering!
- Most computers did not even have the latest versions of software installed.
- A lot of staff do need technical help, or at least they think they do.
To clarify the last point, I was asked by a number of staff for an ‘idiots guide’ which would show, on paper, how to access a number of the functions which we had shown. I’m not sure how far to take this, as it is in effect re-writing the manual for the software, and personally I taught myself through playing around with the software. I think trying to set aside more time where staff can ‘play around’ with the tools and share ideas and thoughts as they occur would be far more empowering. And indeed, it was the section where we allowed staff to do just that, that I believe they gained the most. Unfortunately I suppose time is the one thing we are eternally short of in this profession!
Personally it was a rewarding experience in a number of ways. If only because I have become much more acquainted with SMART Notebook myself. Typical luck that in my new school I will be using a Promethean board, time to download ActivBoard and start over!