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Week 13:Using Interactive White Boards: Creating lesson plans


Interactive whiteboards: How shall we use this available technology? Or shouldn’t we? Does it help engage students? The one thing I find these days in almost every classroom I visit is an interactive whiteboard. What I also find is that although they are there in the classroom, they are NOT used nearly as often as I’d expect.

See email: Re-scheduled LIVE CHAT TONIGHT MONDAY 4/8 AT 8pm! Hope you can make it!

Task 1:

Please give me 2 specific reasons you found online of why you think that these available technologies are NOT being utilized or are under utilized in the classroom. Then, please suggest how to change these 2 reasons for the better. Again- see if you can see answers to problems online and share & comment on link where possible. Here is an article I found from a veteran teacher against using this technology to get your juices flowing:

Task 2:

-Find a video online of a teacher’s math lesson using an interactive whiteboard that you find would work with students you’re teaching currently OR students you’d like to be teaching eventually. It can be simply using the different highlighting concepts on the white board and/or using website videos or quizzes or games through the SmartBoard to show in class, etc

Here is an example:
(this is clearly a wonderful aspect of being able to use a whiteboard to really visually enhance graphing a rhombus and ALL that you can see within the rhombus.

-Please share the link & comment 2-3 sentences online on their lesson with specifics about what you like in the lesson. Then, list 2 specific changes or additions you'd tweak or add to the this lesson (assuming the same technology is available to you) to make it more interactive for the students & specific to what your teaching style, and say why or why not you'd use the technology.

Task 3:

-Come up with a concept of a math lesson plan activity and/or instruction using any version of SmartBoard or interactive white board where you are incorporating this technology into your lesson. Try to think of how you can have the students also interacting within the activity. Briefly explain your lesson instruction and activity & say 3-4 features that you will use on the interactive white board to enhance your lesson. For this part, please be specific as to what you will specifically do to enhance what the students are seeing on the interactive whiteboard- for ex: if you are going to highlight something or go to a website, or use any visual or audio aid, please let us know what you will be doing to make the lesson more engaging. And include any links to videos or websites you may show students.


- the goal of your lesson plan
-the 3-4 features you are using on the SmartBoard (or any Interactive white board)
-in a paragraph explain why you decided to use these features.

Here are some YouTube videos for using SmartBoards:
Basic Tips:

Here is one for creating games:

& here is an example of a Math Lesson using interactive white boards and online technology:

Task Discussion

  • Green Machine   April 24, 2013, 3:53 a.m.


    Task 1

    Many of the reasons I have found online, support the fact that many teachers are unequipped or reluctant to incorporate technology into their classes and that they do not possess the proper training. Other web sites also stated that schools get a lot of money to purchase technology, so majority of them buy the most noticeable thing, which happens to be a Smart Board. I believe this could be fixed by appropriating some of the funds to something they could get more quantity of and in turn quality (tablets, iPods, iPads, scientific calculators, etc…) and they could have pilot classrooms with Smart Boards where other teachers could receive training from fellow team members who have successfully integrated the board into their daily plans.


    Task 2



    I enjoyed this video because it would be a great way to introduce scholars to scientific calculators and all their capabilities. Makes me want a Smart Board because I am a techie and I would utilize it to its fullest capacity.  I would tweak her lesson by actually showing me using the emulation software with an actual class.


    Task 3

    My lesson would focus on multiplication and sets & arrays. The goal of the lesson would be for the scholars to express multiplication exercises using sets & arrays. Scholars will use interactive squares and drag them into equal sets to visually show multiplication. Scholars will play Math Jeopardy to review concepts covered in class. Scholars will use the Smart Board to review symmetry of objects. Scholars will use pictures and objects to create visual sentences to represent word exercises.


    I would use these features because it allows the scholars to get up and move around while being immersed in their work. It allows for everyone to see what they think, may or may not be correct, it allows for whole class dialogue, and it creates pockets of fun. I would use it as a station while other activities are happening around the room and the scholars would rotate to create arrays during small group instruction. 

  • Lisa Ritt   May 5, 2013, 6:29 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Green Machine   April 24, 2013, 3:53 a.m.

    Here is what I had replied/emailed previously :)


    Task 1:
    I agree. I do think the combination of ipads, scientific calculators,etc is important when funds allow it. The training on IWB's MUST come along with the implementation of them in any classroom. A teacher is really setting themselves up for failure if they don't know how to use any equipment they have in their room. The decision of how to spend $ for tech wisely has to take into consideration the cost & time of training everyone who will have them available to them for sure!
    Task 2:
    I love that I can do this on an IWB. I havent seen this and didnt know thats its even available! LOVE being able to see the calculator on the IWB ...especially the part where the keys come up to se the history of what has been pressed. This is HUGE for the learning curve. I've seen so many students struggle when trying to figure out this stuff so what am amazing tool!
    Task 3:
    I love the activities to work on with understanding multiplication. Jeopardy is always exciting, isnt it? I like to think of it as a reward for hard work bc the kids really enjoy it and in certainly reiterates the lesson :) The students dragging the squares to the correct places gives them good concept understanding in a way that may not come as quickly without the IWB. Symmetry is also one of those things that makes so much sense on the IWB to be able to compare and contrast how something is symmetric.
    Thanks Atiba :)
  • Katherine Hanisco   April 21, 2013, 5:24 p.m.


    Task 3:

    I decided to plan a Smartboard lesson on scatter plots and correlation. For this lesson, I would start out by introducing the definitions of scatter plot, correlation, positive correlation, negative correlation, and no correlation. I would list some examples without graphs (such as hours spent studying and grade earned, temperature and number of space heaters sold, etc.) Students would have the chance to use the Smartboard to choose from positive correlation, negative correlation, or no correlation on the touch screen. I would then have students look at various scatter plots and do the same thing. Using examples of scatter plots, I would have students come up and use the Smartboard to draw what they think is the line of best fit. I would have a few students do this on the same graph using different colors and then discuss which one the class thinks is best. After discussing, I would generate the line of best fit and let students compare it to the ones they drew. I would also incorporate some kind of creation of a scatter plot, where students could each plot various points on a graph and then decide what kind of correlation (if any) there was for the data.

    I think this would be a good choice because letting students draw in their own lines of best fit gives them a chance to get used to the idea of trying to make a line that represents all the data. Letting different students draw lines on the same graph gives them the chance to compare, and then actually drawing in the calculated line of best fit gives them a chance to compare even more. I think that letting them get their hands dirty with drawing lines of best fit before they actually just see the formula, gives them a chance to really understand the concept. 

  • Lisa Ritt   May 5, 2013, 6:26 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Katherine Hanisco   April 21, 2013, 5:24 p.m.


    In reply to Katherine on Week 13, Task 2 & 3:
    Task 2:
    The IWB scale video to give an example of an equation. I saw this video a few months ago and thought the same thing. I agree, you have to explain how he got the 7 and I think also, show the math with real #'s as well. But, I do like the way the scale works and I think it give you the whole picture of what an equation really is. I would definitely use this tool! I think the AHA would be there much sooner using this visual, then simply talking about numbers without seeing an example like this.
    Task 3:
    Nice lesson here :) The scatterplot really makes sense on the IWB, YES! The color combinations and the students ability to see the contrasts makes a huge difference in getting that concept. I can see the students enjoying even making the dots too :) If they see this on the board, it will really come to life for them!
    Thanks Katherine!
  • Katherine Hanisco   April 21, 2013, 5:03 p.m.

    Task 2:


    I found this video of a lesson on solving equations. I like that it provides such a nice visual and it was a great combination of virtual manipulatives and a Smartboard. The idea of showing how to solve equations by balancing scales is such a great way to really make the concept clear to students, so I like that this lesson focused on that and showed the visual representation. I feel like the lesson could be improved by giving the students opportunities to use the Smartboard as well. Obviously this is just a video to demonstrate the lesson, so perhaps the goal of the lesson is for students to have a chance to manipulate the scales as well. I also felt like the last step of the equation wasn’t clearly explained. The instructor got to the step where there was one pawn and a 2 on one side and a 9 on the other, and he just said something like, “that means x must be 7.” I feel like especially with the capabilities of the Smartboard there would be some really great visual ways to show the idea of subtracting two from each side to isolate the variable and keep the scale in balance. 

  • Katherine Hanisco   April 20, 2013, 11:16 p.m.


    Task 1:

    I found this blog post arguing against Smartboards. The author’s main argument is that Smartboards dumb things down and reinforce the dominant teacher/passive student classroom dynamic. While I can see why this argument has some merit, I think it comes down to how the tool is used. A Smartboard is a tool, but the goal is to enhance student learning, not make a teacher’s job easier. Of course a Smartboard lesson could involve the teacher lecturing for an entire period while the students just sit there, but so could a lesson using just a chalkboard. I think the way to prevent this is for educators to plan lessons thoughtfully. Sharing ideas and participating in communities with other educators involving an exchange of ideas is a great way to learn from each other about what works and what doesn’t.

    Last year, I did fieldwork in Upper Dublin High School, which is a brand new school that was built with a Smartboard in every classroom. I observed multiple teachers over a period of several months and saw almost no Smartboard usage in the classes. I had an opportunity to talk to the assistant principal and I asked him about it, and he said that they had a few teachers who really knew how to use them, but they don’t provide any kind of training for teachers on how to use them. The technology is useless if people don’t know how it works, and so I think that if schools do not provide the training, then teachers should get together to learn from each other. As with the above suggestion, I think that learning from each other is one of the best ways to grow as educators.

  • Lisa Ritt   April 21, 2013, 7:45 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Katherine Hanisco   April 20, 2013, 11:16 p.m.

    Hi Katherine,

    Its just crazy to here that in a school district with plenty of money compared to so many others that their would be little to no training for IWB's. I wonder if the community know about this. They would be up in arms about their tax $ being spent on thousands of IWB's that no one knows how to use. UGG! Anyway, yeah, Dr. Gary.. he's interesting read, isnt he? I read this article before. He makes good points. But, did you find that he really backs up his BIG WORDS with true statistics?  ..ya know?

    I think a good teacher using an IWB properly does much more than stand in front of the classroom. In fact, quite the opposite with good student participation. He doesn't talk about being able to show video clips in the middle or any of the many tools, especially math tools available for teachers that give such visuals of concepts. however, I do find his writing entertaining. He gets a good bit of comments I agree with as well.

    Cheers! & Thanks for this!



  • SueSullivan   April 18, 2013, 7:15 p.m.

    Task 3:


    The goal of my lesson plan is to introduce students to transformations in the Cartesian plane. 

    I would use this IWB activity (using the IWB desktop projector feature) to allow students to experiment with transformations:

    Students would take turns and experiment individually.  Then, students would work in small groups (consisting of students at all levels of learning) to complete the worksheet provided at

    After students complete the worksheet, it will be displayed on the IWB (desktop projector feature).  Representatives from each group will use the IWB to fill in answers during a group discussion.  When using the 'write' feature, students will be encouraged to choose their own preferred colors and fonts.  The notes from the IWB worksheet will be printed out and also posted online for students' future reference.

    I feel that this interactive activity provides a good, age-appropriate demonstration of what happens during transformations.  Giving students the chance to provide their own input during the group discussion of the worksheet increases student involvement and choosing colors/fonts gives them a chance to personalize their input.  Providing copies of the worksheet to students provides a 'quick reference' for students in their own words; it can also be used as a benchmark to measure future progress with this concept, as well as allowing absentees/homebound students to follow along.

    The main reason why I chose to discuss using an IWB for transformations is due to my own educational experience.  There were no IWB's when I was in high school (I'm 44), nor when my children were in elementary school, and they were just being introduced when they were in junior high.  When I started college, I had a couple of math classes that used IWB's as one would use a chalkboard, but I never realized their power as a learning tool until I saw them used to demonstrate transformations (via dragging).  That was an 'AHA' moment for me as to how tech can easily provide visual perspectives that are difficult to model in real life.

  • Lisa Ritt   April 20, 2013, 7:31 a.m.
    In Reply To:   SueSullivan   April 18, 2013, 7:15 p.m.

    Hi Sue,
    I unfortunately didn't have the proper plug ins to really explore the fullness of the visual of this lesson but I feel like I get the jist for sure! Sorry about that. issues. I get nervous to do an update on a plug-in because they seem to take HOURS longer than you think. Any suggestions? ..Anywho... the VISUAL on the IWB's with showing reflections, transformations, etc is fantastic. Its a TRUE testament to how IWB is an incredible tool when used in lessons like these. Within the lesson somewhere I saw how the teacher can connect the dots on a pattern to show examples of polygons within patterns which was very cool as well. 

    Posting the notes online is a great idea. Having a student be able to go back when they're doing their homework is wonderful and I haven't thought much about that either. When I was in school, I struggled to keep good notes so the idea of going back online and seeing what the teacher and classmates did during class would have been a huge help for me. Im sure students would really benefits from this!

    Thank you for all your great ideas! Your tasks have given me great TOOLS for the future!




  • SueSullivan   April 16, 2013, 10:52 p.m.


    Task 1:  I felt that this 'Advice Sheet', published by Ireland's National Centre for Technology in Education, was pretty concise:

    This article doesn't seem much different from other IWB articles that I've read, as lack of teacher training and lack of technical support seem to be two significant disadvantages of IWB use. 

    For the first issue, a sensible approach would be to make funding for teacher training a fixed and required part of the IWB budget, rather than putting the responsibility for training upon the teachers themselves.   I also think it might be helpful to have an 'open house' for parents to see how this technology will be used in the classroom (for math and other subjects), as constituents might be more at ease knowing that their tax dollars are spent on such useful learning tools (though that's only my opinion!).  My sons' schools did this; I think it's great to give parents/caregivers opportunities to become familiar with what's going on in their student's classroom, especially when it's something so revolutionary yet expensive (in my opinion, anyway).

    As far as the second issue, my opinion is that technical support should be provided by whoever is responsible for the school district's other tech tools.  If a district has someone to provide IT support for other tech (which many of them do), that person is probably capable of learning how to support IWB's.  I say this because I've so often observed students giving teachers valid/workable suggestions about how to optimize IWB use (whether it's to solve a problem or just maximize the window to make it larger); if students can pick up on this, adults can too.  Whoever takes on the responsibility for being a tech problem-solver should be compensated, whether it's a teacher who specializes in IWB use or the district IT person. 

    Thinking outside the box, having students assist with IWB tech support could be a valuable part of their coursework.  I think this would be a great interdisciplinary learning experience, as students would learn problem-solving skills in real time: A trouble call comes in; do you give it to the maintenance people (problem with power supply) or do you give it to the IT people (software/hardware problem)? After that, how are decisions made, and on what basis?  Regardless of who is responsible for fixing the problem, various learning opportunities exist, and all relate to math in one way or another.  Practicing the social skills necessary to work with various professionals and discuss math in each occupational context is a valuable learning opportunity.


  • Lisa Ritt   April 20, 2013, 7:15 a.m.
    In Reply To:   SueSullivan   April 16, 2013, 10:52 p.m.

    Hi Sue,
    Boy- this article really gets you thinking that it may be worth it to think abt a digital projector and tablets instead of an IWB, doesnt it? Honestly, of course BOTH would be ideal and a truly go back n forth as to what is best for schools on a tight budget. This article also reminded me about the one thing I always seem annoyed at with the IWB which is how small the dislay typically is. For a class of 20+, the display IS HARD TO SEE on the average size purchased by a school. As much as I think their wonderful, I also think..whats the use if you're NOT going to get the bigger size so the WHOLE class can SEE it. Hopefully, all our problems will be solved when the IWB cost lowers significantly and we can get the best of both worlds...which some schools do...but then they still sit there under utilized...CRAZY! 

    I also though alot abt the IWB pens. They arent the easiest to use sometimes...I think when you have the ability to use fingers, that REALLY helps when having students participate at the board. Its a struggle when you're NOT using the pens regularly to get them to work properly...its takes practice and lots of students struggling with it can take up too much time in class sometimes. 

    I did some digging on the links and this UK national archive link was really great...with tons of lessons, and teacher tips... you can search almost anything and get good is what I found when looking for a geometry lesson:

  • SueSullivan   April 21, 2013, 8:56 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Lisa Ritt   April 20, 2013, 7:15 a.m.

    Thanks so much for sharing this link - love the detailed instructions.  Also loved the visual of using a curved arrow to represent the transition to another step in problem-solving!  I'm a very visually-oriented person, and love having something to clearly deliniate one step from the next.  This would be a great way to help students organize their work - thanks so much for a tool that I will be using in the future!

  • SueSullivan   April 15, 2013, 4:31 p.m.

    Task 2:


    I found this video on Teacher Tube, which gives brief lesson about fractional exponents:

    Though I think the teacher/actor is a bit corny, there are a couple things that I really like.  First, he uses his pointer to point out the words as he is reading them, which might be helpful for ELL students.  Second, the interactive whiteboard makes the visuals a little more stimulating than they would be if written on a chalk- or whiteboard.  What I liked the most about this video was the use of the pointer (actually a Wii sword, as explained here  Using a pointer rather than a standard 'pen' makes it easier for students to see what's being discussed.  While standard pointers have been used for ages, they don't have the ability to 'write' or launch other actions (the writing can be seen in, the author's video on the associative property, which I didn't find impressive except for the use of the elongated pen/pointer).  This elongated IR pen can be used for either, but I personally feel that being able to write without impeding students' visual field is wonderful.  I know this sounds trivial, but, as a student, it always irritated me to not be able to see the entire problem while a teacher happened to be writing something (arms and chalk/markers are only so long).  This is a lot harder to explain than it is to visualize.

    I would certainly use an interactive whiteboard (I think they're wonderful teaching tools), especially with the pointer/sword/elongated IR pen.  I would improve on the lesson by first using more interesting visuals/interactives, which would also show more steps in how to calculate numbers with fractional exponents.  My second modification would be to give the students more opportunities to participate by having students use the IWB and long pen during the lesson to give examples to the rest of the class.


  • Lisa Ritt   April 20, 2013, 6:54 a.m.
    In Reply To:   SueSullivan   April 15, 2013, 4:31 p.m.

    Hi Sue,

    I think the guys on the video is pretty entertaining. The bow tie and lab coat create a FUN persona :) I agree...the fractional exponents could use more va va voom. Its a tough concept that needs plenty of examples I think as well! Yes- this "stretch your writing utensil" tools are perfect for what you described. In math, if you get lost in the explaining of a problem, its hard to catch up and near impossible if you can't see what the teacher is writing. This is crucial, so yes, its sounds trivial, but truly is NOT. Its something I haven thought about much yet and for sure something to keep in mind. And yes, although, this is a video example minus the students, I'd say with this concept of fractional exponents, the students REALLY need to participate. Thank you for these videos!


  • Maria Droujkova   April 15, 2013, midnight

    Task 1

    The article I found (via Google Scholar) is:


    Australasian Journal of Educational Technology
    2012, 28(8), 1451-1465
    Reasons for using or not using interactive whiteboards: Perspectives of Taiwanese elementary mathematics and science teachers
    Syh-Jong Jang and Meng-Fang Tsai
    Chung-Yuan Christian University
    The article reports results of a survey that found differences between types of teachers in reasons not to use IWBs. Male teachers found it harder to design of search for IWB materials than females. And both males and females found the tech too expensive for their schools - the main reason not to use IWBs. Also, student engagement dependent on teacher experience (I am not surprised) - with novice teachers finding IWBs hard to use well.
    I hope IWBs will get cheaper with time, just like the rest of the tech does. The fact it takes a long time to design or find good resources also gets better addressed as more and more users share their resources online. Hopefully, depositories of open and free resources will continue to grow, and to become easier and easier to search.
    So, people in Taiwan seem to have the same issues with IWBs as people in the US, pretty much: lack of budget, time, sources, training, and tech support!
    Task 2
    I found a one-minute snippet, where a teacher and a student rotate a piece under a function around a vertical line (AP Calculus). I am starting a large project about calculus, so such topics are on my mind.
    I liked two parts. First, the teacher told the student to keep moving the rotation axis... keep going... keep going... The communication and the corresponding movement of the axis was very immediate, very hands-on, very visible to the rest of the class. Then, when the piece rotated, there was the "wow moment" of seeing it happen, on a large screen. This effect can be achieved with projectors and simply large computer screens too. But something about the girl standing there and touching the model as it unfolded felt more sci-fi and impressive than other tech I've seen. 
    Task 3
    This task is re-designed from an activity I always do at the start of math clubs. It's a combination of a scavenger hunt and storytelling. It works for students ages 4 to 10 or so, because they are eager to share what they love.
    1. Students bring something they loved that week. It can be a toy, a sacred object, a book, a vegetable/animal/mineral, a poster they designed, a model they programmed... anything! The reason and the point: math is everywhere.
    2. The owner of the object photographs it, so that it appears in the growing collection on the whiteboard. The reason: so students can review all their past accomplishments.
    3.  Everybody finds and explains math in the object. For example, there is usually some sort of symmetry or pattern in human-made objects. Things from nature often have fractal patterns. Modern toys frequently have applied math or scientific aspects (sources of energy, robotics, functions, etc.) Students can drag past tags (like "symmetry") to the object, or add a new tag to the collection if they happen to go into math that nobody has found yet. The reason: the same math is found in many objects. Once a math idea is found, students start seeing it everywhere, in everything. We had this happen to ideas like "infinity" - where students dared one another to find infinity in any random object, and did!
    4. If new math is found, students can do online image search by that keyword to see where else that math appears. Reason: there is much math serendipity in seeing math art, objects, graphs, etc. (images) by keywords. It's the next round of scavenger hunting, this time for common visual themes.
    We've done a version of this using a regular bulletin board to keep the growing collection of math terms, and a computer+projector to look things up online. I think a whiteboard, if you set it up right, can be a good tool for all the aspects of the activity in one package!
    Here is a photo of a student explaining the math of her dream catcher, next to the bulletin board with all the math keywords found so far.
    And here is a young mathematician demonstrating wonders of a prism:
  • Lisa Ritt   April 19, 2013, 9:48 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Maria Droujkova   April 15, 2013, midnight

    Hi Maria!

    Ok- where do I begin on your tasks! So much to enlightening :) So- the much as you don't want to hear that anyone has a problem, but knowing that other country's have similar issues, somehow I take some comfort in, ya know? ..It was interesting in the article to read that the male teachers felt they more attentiveness from students than their female counterparts..hmmmm that was an interesting fact. Research never ceases to amaze me! I agree too that the price will come down, the kinks will keep getting worked out and we will see IWB's continue to mainstream with less headaches and cost....OR... I hope so! I also never thought much about chalk being an environmental issue...who knew? :)

    On task 2, what a great image of the formation coming to life. I agree...seeing it in this manner...touching the screen...I was WoW'ed seeing it on YouTube! This is such an example of something I want to learn how to do! 

    The interactive in task 3 sounded like such a great community builder. Students of ALL ages I think could really get into this. I love to idea of the history of what everyone brought over time can get added to and shown together. I never thought ti do an activity like this, but I get it...I LOVE IT! I'll totally use it! You could turn it around too to say..hey ...try to find an object with symetry, fractal, etc and bring that in! I also love calling students mathmeticians. I am working with a teacher who says that constantly..."Well, this is how us mathmeticians refer to that!" 

    Thanks for all this great stuff Maria!

  • MgnLeas   April 13, 2013, 10:34 p.m.

    Task 3: I mentioned in the meeting that you are able to download a 30 day free trial of smartboard notebook. I did this while student teaching so I did not think I could do it again. But it was notebook 10 then and notebook 11 now, so I was able to download it and play around. I put the link to the download in a separate comment. You can use the software even if your computer is not connected to a smartboard! Have fun!

    For my lesson plan I choose to go with a geometry topic. I wanted to do something with polygons and the formulas that go along with them. I would start the lesson going over some terms associated with polygons; Side, Vertex, Diagonal, Interior angle, Exterior angle. So for this I would first have several shapes on the board; both polygons and nonpolygons. I would have the students choose which group they belong in. In notebook 11 there is a tool called activity builder. I can make it so the students would drag the shape to the correct box (polygon or non), if they are correct the shape will disappear, if they are wrong it will stay on the screen. If someone got one wrong, we could use the opportunity to talk about why it does not go in that box.

    I would then go over the terms listed above. This would be a lot of words on the screen at once, so the tool I would use would be the shade tool. It works like a window blind. I would cover the whole screen and move it down as we go over the terms. I would use this simply to make it seem like more manageable information.

    I want the students to figure out the formulas by discovering them. So to start I would have a rectangle. I would ask what the sum of the interior angles is and how they know that. Then ask how many diagonals it has, and how many triangles there are (when all the diagonals are drawn from one vertex).  We would also do this for a pentagon and hexagon. The students would come up and draw in the diagonals for questions 2 and 3. I would use the tool that allows the lines to be different images, like stars or smiley faces. The students could pick. They would do this by choosing tools then choose creative tools, highlighter, or crayon (this is my favorite). This will help to ensure they draw all the diagonals to question2, plus the students love to use different colors and designs. Side note: Under tools there is one called magic pen. When you write using this tool it looks just like normal, but after a few seconds what you wrote will disappear! A student showed me this while I was student teaching. I would select it if I felt students were not taking notes or paying attention. Then when they would ask me to rewrite it, I would tell them they should have been with me instead of where ever they were. Mean but funny smiley .

    Next I would have them discuss what, if any pattern they are seeing. From here they would come up with the formulas for sum of interior angles (N-2)*180. (where N = number of sides) The number of diagonals ½(N)(N-3), and the number of triangles (N-2). I would have the formulas on the screen, but covered by solid rectangles. I would use the drag feature to move the rectangles once they discover the formula. This is a simple feature but nice.

    To draw the shapes I would use the polygon shape builder. This will save oodles of time trying to draw each line and make sure they connect. This will also make it easier to move the polygon around the screen if I need to. In the math tools, there is an option to draw irregular polygons. You are able to simply put dots on the board and end where you started and the lines would connect making the polygon. I figured this out after spending more time than I had trying to group lines segments and making sure they all connected.

  • Lisa Ritt   April 19, 2013, 2:41 p.m.
    In Reply To:   MgnLeas   April 13, 2013, 10:34 p.m.

    Hi M,

    I LOVE all the tips for different tools to use within the IWB. This sounds like a lesson that would be truly fun and fantastic visually for the students to understand what makes the shapes like and unlike. And, as far as being mean, I don't think so, its another game for kids to be in tune with...I think its a good time management skill test for them :) ...helps them take timely notes...which, if they don't, it  can take away precious time during the lesson. And, Im sure the challenge of that helps them to stay motivated and engaged! Very cool!

    The lesson sounds very organized and active. I really enjoyed it. I'm so glad it will be here FOREVER for me to refer back to!

    Also- I am hesitating to do my 30 day trial now...I'm thinking I'll do it this summer :) even though its driving me crazy not doing it now!




  • MgnLeas   April 13, 2013, 9:21 p.m. Here is a link for free trial notebook software for smartboard.

  • MgnLeas   April 13, 2013, 5:39 p.m.

    Task 2:

    In this video, the teacher is teaching probability. She uses many different tools on the smartboard. At one point they are picking items out of a jar. She has a jar on the smartboard and the students can see what is in the jar. So they get a great visual of what is happening. One way I would try to improve that part, would be to be able to actually have the students pick an item out of the jar. You can move things on the board by dragging them, this would help to see what they are doing. She also uses the zoom tool to help to see what she is writing. At one point, see has a video camera on a table and a girl rolls a die on the table and the other students can see it on the smart board. I thought that was cool, because everyone can see the result at the same time. I would use these tools because they help to see what probablity is.

    These next two are just cool and I wanted to pass them on! Math tools for smart board. This is the first I am learning about these smart tables. Not sure how if they would be as impressive in middle school, but I think they are cool.

  • Lisa Ritt   April 17, 2013, 9:37 a.m.
    In Reply To:   MgnLeas   April 13, 2013, 5:39 p.m.

    HI M,

    Ok- that last video, with the 2nd graders from Davie Cty, NC...I could listen to their accents all day long...great southern accent! I've only seen a SMART table at the Philadelphia library. I havent seen it anywhere else. ...but it got me thinking..wouldnt it be amazing if teachers could CHOOSE what technology goes in their classrooms (or at least part of it) 

    The Math Tools that you can download to SmartBoard seemed fantastic. I've seen a few videos of different tools like this and wondered if its something that automatically comes with the IWB OR is it an added expense. Hopefully once you have the IWB, you can download new software without too much cost. The ability to create easy graphs and shapes so easily would be fantastic!

    The probablity lesson medley was cool to see on the first video. Although, the kids seemed very camera shy...hopefully when the camera isnt in the room, the kids are more inclined to participate with more excitement :) The graphics were so great. Probablity is really tough wihtout the visuals and not bringing in a boat load of items and being able to show it in combination with live maniplutives as well I think is a great way to present Probability and really have some fun with it!

    Thanks for finding these great resources!




  • MgnLeas   April 13, 2013, 4:27 p.m.

    Task 1:

    The first article I came across was “Why Smart boards are a Dumb Initiative”.  The author starts off by saying he rolls his eyes every time he hears about smart boards going into classrooms. He agrees they are “cool” but “the least cost effective way to improve leaning”. The arguments for why they are so great, he sees as just ok. Like the fact that lessons can be saved, there are less costly ways to do this. He suggests transparencies, or taking pictures of white boards and uploading them. The smart boards are not fixing anything that is broken in classrooms. They are basically doing the same thing as chalkboards, according to the author. He calls them an “administrative cop out”. They spend money on these technologies because they are easy to define. It would be hard to gets funds by saying “I would like an extra 200K to experiment with ways to improve learning outcome”.

    I feel like this is perhaps someone who has not spent much time playing with the smart board software. Yes, it can be used just like a white board (which replaced chalk boards that did the same thing) but it is more than that. It is really up to the teacher to learn all the uses of smart boards and utilize them. The author talks about how the teacher is still “controlling” the classroom and flow of activities. However, with the interactive nature of the board, if a student asks a question instead of simply telling the answer, the teacher or a student could find an article, or you tube clip, or blog, or whatever to help find and explain the answer. It is more than just an expensive whiteboard.

    My second article is “Breaking my Silence on Smart boards”.   This author of this blog says when he first started teaching (07-08) his schools introduced smart boards. He spoke to an administrator about using web tools to engage students. He was talking about getting technology into the hands of the students. What he got instead was a smart board. He talks about how these are not the interaction he was hoping for. Only one or few students can ‘interact’ with the board at once. It would worth the money to spend it on laptops or ipads for each student. This would allow for more exploration and student centered learning.

    I think that if the smart boards are viewed as merely “glorified white boards”, the teachers has already shut door on all that they offer. Smart exchange, for example, is where teachers can post lessons they have done for others and see what others are doing. This is great collaborative learning. I do agree this is more for the teacher than the student though. I tried to find articles on combining smart boards with student laptops or ipads. I am sure the software is already in the works. This would allow for the individualized needs of students as well as interactive classrooms be met.

  • Lisa Ritt   April 17, 2013, 9:15 a.m.
    In Reply To:   MgnLeas   April 13, 2013, 4:27 p.m.

    HI Megan,

    What I like about this 2nd article vs the first is the teacher is explaining how he'd spend the $500k spent on IWB's and what he thinks the students would benefit from more than the IWB's, ya know! He is presenting his argument not against technology enhancement, but more so about trying to accomplish technology driven project where ALL the students can have a more interactive learning environment. I go back and forth with the idea of having tablets/laptops    vs IWB ...there truly are good and bad on both sides. I think I personally also lean more towards having the IWB I think. 

    The first article, the teacher seems against technology in general more, which is kind of ignorant to the real world we live in. I truly think its important to change with the times & anything that is flashy and will keep a students attention, I have to admit, goes along way for engaging them into the lesson sometimes :) 

    Thanks for your thoughts here! 

  • Gina Mulranen   April 11, 2013, 11:17 p.m.

    Task 3

    The lesson that I will be using the interactive whiteboard for is on polynomials. The goal of the lesson is for students to identify polynomials, find the degree of a polynomial, simplify a polynomial (with like terms), and write a polynomial in standard form.

    • After learning about what a polynomial is, the teacher will have a Venn Diagram with two non-intersecting circles on the interactive whiteboard. One circle will be labeled Polynomials and one circle will be labeled Not Polynomials. There will be a box of different expressions on the whiteboard as well. The teacher will ask for student volunteers to come up to the whiteboard and drag expressions to the correct circle and explain why they chose that classification.
    • After learning about how to find the degree of a monomial, students can come up to the board and use the highlighting feature on the interactive whiteboards to highlight all the exponents, drag them out of the monomial , and add them together. This is a great visual for students to add JUST the exponents by pulling them out. Students can use this process to find the degree of a polynomial as well.
    • Students will have already have learned about like terms so the teacher will offer students to give ideas on how to simplify a polynomial. The teacher will invite students to come up to the interactive whiteboard to explain how to simplify an example polynomial. Students can drag and rearrange the terms in the polynomial so the like terms are next to each other. Then they can add or subtract the like terms to simplify.
    • After students learn about writing a polynomial in standard form, the teacher can put up some examples of polynomials not written in standard form. Students can drag and rearrange the terms in the polynomial and highlight the exponents to show that they are in descending order.
    • To conclude the lesson, the teacher can show some real-life examples of a specific type of polynomial with the highest degree being 2 using this video: The teacher can use the highlighting and pen features on the interactive whiteboard to show the shapes and explain some basic characteristics of these types of functions. The students will be learning about these types of functions later on in the year.

    I decided to use the drag and drop and highlighting features of the interactive white board in order to help students physically move or isolate the important aspects of the concepts being taught. For example, the degree of a monomial focuses just on the exponents. By pulling the exponents out of the monomial, you can help students isolate what they are adding. By moving the like terms together, students have a hands-on approach to combining like terms and can see the importance of carrying negatives with the terms as well. You can also ask the students to come up to the board to highlight the parts of the expression that illustrates the concept. For example, when putting a polynomial in standard form, the students would highlight the degree of each monomial and drag the terms to rearrange them. I think these aspects of the whiteboard are the most effective because the students are able to move and interact with the terms instead of writing and rewriting a problem on paper.

  • Lisa Ritt   April 14, 2013, 7:21 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Gina Mulranen   April 11, 2013, 11:17 p.m.

    Hi again Gina,

    Great Parabola video. The real life aspect presented in this way I think really motivates students to want to learn about how something like a parabola works :) And...what a great lesson for understanding polynomials, like terms and really visualizing how to add them, put them in descending order, etc. LOVE IT. The drag feature is definitely one that I think is fun and helps kids GET what they're doing!
    Here is an interesting video showing the difference of monomial, polynomials, etc:

    I thought this video would be fun to start and stop and it has scary music in it basically telling you NOT to be afraid of polynomials :)

  • Gina Mulranen   April 11, 2013, 11:16 p.m.

    Task 2

    HandsOn Equations for the Interactive Whiteboards:

    I have Hands-On Equations in my classroom and I have always used the physical manipulatives. I have just learned that there is a way to use the interactive whiteboards to set up and solve equations using the balance scales! I have a hard time using the physical scale because a lot of the students have a hard time seeing it when I have it set up on the table. However, the interactive whiteboard allows the students to see all the materials and the balance scale so clearly! I really like the ability to drag and drop (without dropping pawns on the floor, which I have done!) and I also think it is very visually appealing as well.

    One change I would make is I would still have the balance scales, pawns, and blocks for each student to use as they follow along with the lesson. Then I would ask for volunteers to come up to the board to show us how to solve a problem on the interactive whiteboard.  That way the students are not just watching, but also doing the problems at their seats to get more practice.

    Another thing I would use is iPads for the students, if they were available to me. There is an iPad app for the HandsOn Equations so the students can be using the same tools I am and be practicing on their iPads as I do the problems on the board. The students can also easily share solutions on the iPads as well when they are finished.

  • Lisa Ritt   April 14, 2013, 6:54 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Gina Mulranen   April 11, 2013, 11:16 p.m.

    Hi Gina,

    this is great! I hadn't seen the Hands On Equation thing before. I have seen teachers use actual scales but so cool to be able to show it on the IWB. It for sure helps understand what EQUATION means...THIS ...has to EQUAL that. Have you seen something similar for inequalities?Inequalities are always more challenging for me. I will definitely incorporate this Hands On Equations.

    Having students using ipads, notebooks, etc is wonderful training for them as most jobs have tech in place for folks to do work on so having students understanding software and apps is incredible training for the real world I think!

    Thanks so much!

    Here is a co that provides webinars on IWB usage/lessons: (some free...some not :)



  • Gina Mulranen   April 11, 2013, 10:22 p.m.

    Task 1

    Article 1: “Do Smartboards make Smart Students?”

    I found this article to be really interesting because the author is a technology teacher who already has an appreciation for technology. However, her question is “But are we using them to enhance our students’ ability to solve problems, or are we using them to babysit?” Before answering that question, she first gives some credit to how great interactive whiteboards can be since the students can use their hands to click around and learn. Her worry is that these whiteboards are just being used to show videos, which could be seen as babysitting the students instead of teaching. Another point she makes is about 21st century skills. She references an article that stresses the “importance of creativity and problem-solving skills in the world labor market.” The author believes that the ways the interactive whiteboards are being used are not fostering these types of skills.

    In order to make students successful based on this author’s standards, we need to be using the interactive whiteboards to promote creative problem solving and group work. This can easily be done! You can put a challenging problem on the board that is a level above what the students have been working on so far. Have the students get into groups and problem solve together. Each group can have a chance to come up to the whiteboard to show and explain their solution. Since the writing can be saved on the interactive white board slides, the teacher can scroll through and compare each group’s work. Each group will also be able to learn different ways to approach and solve the same problem.

    Article 2: “For the love of learning – the case against Smartboards”

    This blog caught my eye because of the title and the fact that I could read comments and post my own on this author’s opinion of Smartboards. What kept me reading was how opinionated he is! Wow! This is someone who I feel like needs to see a good interactive white board lesson!  He believes that students’ engagement with whiteboards is basically going up to the board and clicking the answer. I think there are a lot of new, innovative ways for students to interactive with the whiteboard than just clicking things. However, I do not think they are as common, which might be why this teacher has a strong opinion against them.

     I do agree with his point that it all depends on how the teachers use it. In the chat that Lisa had this week, the issue of whether teachers should be required to use Smartboards if they have them was brought up. I think that teachers should have to attend trainings and be willing to incorporate the whiteboards into their lessons on a consistent basis in order to be able to get an interactive whiteboard. I think that if the whiteboards were given out on a selective basis, then teachers would be more inclined to use the whiteboards in creative ways to incorporate activities that promote creative problem solving and hands-on learning.  Refer to the post I wrote on this teacher’s blog for more of my opinions on this issue. 

  • Lisa Ritt   April 14, 2013, 6:37 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Gina Mulranen   April 11, 2013, 10:22 p.m.

    Hi Gina,

    Interesting articles. I definitely agree with your post on the 2nd article about how much you can enhance visual learning....especially in the example you used with like numbers. The thing about so many of these articles against Interactive Whiteboards (IWB)..(I will adopt this abbreviation) is that they act as though all any teacher ever does is the simpler stuff...kind of using it just as a projected white board which is frustrating.

    I have seen wonderfully prepared lessons that students absolutely benefited from seeing in on an IWB. I've seen the other scenario as well where I can't believe a teacher has the technology and doesnt use it and generally has not been trained on it.

    I absolutely agree that training should be mandatory if a teacher is going to have an IWB in their classroom. The expense of the technology is hard to justify if educators don't know how to use them.