Tag Archives: Blackboard

5 ways you can use…Interactive Whiteboards!

Those boards behind the curtain do a lot more than you may think. They are interactive, and very smart. While these boards offer wonderful features, one may not know exactly how to use them and incorporate them into their classrooms and lectures. Kicking of our “5 ways you can use…” series, here are 5 ways you can use Interactive Whiteboards:

  1. Interactive whiteboards allow users to directly make annotations on any document, webpage, etc. that appears on the screen, and then take screenshots of these annotations and notes. Instead of using a regular whiteboard to jot down notes for students, try writing with the interactive whiteboard and then upload the screenshots of the notes into PowerPoint for the students to view later on as reference.
  2. Another idea is to jot down notes directly on an image or painting being discussed in class. This makes it easy to circle, annotate, and point out specific characteristics of the image.
  3. If you have a class requiring students to write papers, you probably have a grading rubric with marks for students to identify. Try annotating a paper with the interactive whiteboard with students so they can see not only what is looked for in grading, but also the various grading marks being used. Capture the annotations and upload them to your Blackboard or class website for students to use as a reference.
  4. Interactive boards are also a great way to reduce the use of paper. If you teach a course with complicated mathematical problems or equations, try using the interactive whiteboard to go through each problem step-by-step, and then capture the screen and upload it to Blackboard or your class website to share with students. This will save the handout you may pass out to your students including the step-by-step directions!
  5. One of the best features of SMART boards is the SMART Exchange. Check out this website to view templates created by other users, then download them to use them for your own use! This is a great location to find interactive games to spice up reviews for exams.

There are so many fun and exciting ways to incorporate interactive whiteboards into your class. If you would like any more ideas, or have any questions, feel free to contact us!


Create your own Avatar

Today I came across a free online tool that kind of blew me away with its implications in learning. It is not something that will revolutionize higher education, but it just might revolutionize your Blackboard, your blog, or your website.

Voki is a website that allows users to create their own avatars, and then add voice to relay messages. Voice can be recorded by phone or microphone, can be uploaded as an audio file, or can be entered in text and converted to a selected speech.  The avatars can then be uploaded essentially anywhere-to your Blackboard, to your course website, your blog, etc. Imagine relaying your messages to your students with your very own avatar-the “virtual you” can remind them about due dates, assignments, whatever you wish!

So try your hand at making your own avatar today! From creating someone who looks just like you to creating the alien version of yourself, Voki will keep you busy for a while!

Save a Tree-Use Technology!

No, it is not Earth Day, (although we could all use a little spring weather in our lives right now) but we should always make an effort to reduce waste and find alternative ways to carry out our daily routines. And as members of a campus community, it’s pretty safe to say we may use paper like it’s water. So why not use some of the great technology we have to help reduce the amount of paper used in class? Here are a few ways you can reduce waste and add a little ease and convenience to your busy schedule.


Use your SMARTBoards! Not only will these boards mesmerize your students like they are magic, but they are fun, convenient, and extremely useful. Instead of writing notes on paper or distributing endless copies of exam reviews, use the SMARTBoard to write on internet pages, documents, PDFs, PowerPoints (really anything!), and then SMARTBoard can capture your notes so you can upload them to BlackBoard or send them to your students in PDF format.

Poll Away

Ahh Turning Point, another tool that may mesmerize your students. Do you use paper for quizzes? Attendance? Participation responses? All of these can be easily incorporated into a presentation and used through Turning Point. This audience response system allows instructors to ask questions in a presentation and receive responses from students. The best part is Turning Point actually reduces the work for you! No more having to fumble through papers to grade quizzes-simply import the results into Blackboard and your grading is complete!

Make your classes a little greener and check out how these quick tips (all available to you!) can help save some trees while making your life a little easier. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or would like to learn how to start using these tools in your classroom.

A Technology Resource at your Fingertips

Did you know you have an incredible tool available at your fingertips for free?  If you haven’t checked out Atomic Learning yet, make sure you do so you don’t miss out on all it has to offer! Atomic Learning is available 24/7 to UIS faculty and students at no charge and has 30,000+ videos and tutorials to guide you through the computer applications you use every day (and a ton more you may want to learn about!). Atomic Learning offers several 2-minute tutorial videos for each application, providing assistance in completing specific tasks and learning new features. Atomic Learning videos can also be embedded in your Blackboard courses to assist your students.