Happy New Year! Winter break is flying by, and we are quickly approaching the beginning of another new semester. With these new beginnings, there is no better time to try something new and step out of your comfort zone. Here are a few fresh ideas for you to try in your classes this semester:
Use the Interactive Whiteboards
Those whiteboards in every classroom are more than just a fancy projector screen-they are interactive. Project your computer screen to the whiteboard, then directly interact with whatever is on your computer from the whiteboard. Use the markers to highlight, annotate, and write on the screen, and use your finger to navigate the web or whatever you wish. Take snapshots of the screens and then upload them to Blackboard to share with your students. The possibilities are endless with these interactive whiteboards, and they can definitely make a huge impact in any course. If you would like to learn more about the whiteboards, do not hesitate to contact us!
Create a Class Blog
Last semester, we introduced WordPress Blog Service to the campus, which is available to all faculty, students, and staff. Creating a blog is a great way to share information and stay connected with others. Students are very well connected today, so a blog could be a great way to keep them connected to the class and material even when they are not physically in the classroom.
In the Media Lab, we offer so many tools for students to utilize for class projects. From Flip Cams to video editing software, students have the tools they need to create creative, elaborate projects. This semester, think about encouraging your students to express their creativity with a project utilizing Multimedia tools. If you would like to discuss the tools we have or have any other questions, feel free to come see us in the Media Lab in BRK 180!
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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!
Summer is quickly approaching which for many means sun, fun, and relaxation. It also is a great opportunity to further explore educational interests that may have been put aside during the busy school year. I am presenting you with a “Summer Bucket List”, if you will, to get more familiar with the great technologies available to UIS faculty that can be utilized during the school year. All of these resources can be used to greatly enhance the educational experience for students and educators alike.
Establish new ways to communicate
This spring, UIS launched WordPress Blog Service. Faculty, staff and students are now able to create their own blogs. This summer, dabble into the blogging world and try creating a blog for your fall courses! Blogging is a great way to maintain communication with students throughout the semester, and can be integrated into several aspects of course material. Upload lecture notes, create discussions about topics, post updates frequently, and share current news related to class materials.
Learn how to use an Interactive White Board
Remember that big whiteboard behind the screen in your classroom? It’s not just a whiteboard-it’s Interactive, and everything about it is just that. This summer, check out everything these boards can do, and get familiar with using them. They are simple, and a great way to increase involvement in the classroom with students.
Get familiar with TurningPoint
TurningPoint is another tool that can be very valuable to your courses. It is software that integrates with your PowerPoint presentations or other lectures that allows you to “poll” your class. Through clickers, your students can respond to your questions and you are able to receive instant feedback. Stimulate discussions, conduct quizzes or tests, take attendance, or receive general feedback on students’ understanding of the lecture material. This easy yet innovative tool will be sure to keep students focused and on track.
Be sure to get in some good R&R this summer, but to also check out these great tools! Questions? As always, feel free to contact us!
Well, it’s really more of a screen than a curtain. I’m talking about the Interactive White Boards (IWB) available in all classrooms in UHB and in select classrooms in other buildings.
These IWBs are often hidden behind the projector screen, but they hold a great deal of potential for instructors in presenting their lectures.
The IWBs allow the instructor to move away from the instructor station (often located in the corner of the room) and remain at the front of the classroom. The instructor can control the computer simply by pressing on the board. Annotations can be made on any application run on the computer – commenting on Word documents, highlighting text on websites, annotating images, etc. Screenshots of annotated applications can be taken and converted to a pdf format, thus providing lecture hand-outs for students.
For more information on the Interactive White Boards, please visit our Technology Enhanced Classrooms webpage.