There are many ways an IWB can benefits your teaching. Some of them are summarised here:Motivation: Pupils say that they find it motivating because it is big, bright, and colourful and they can get more involved with the lesson. Teachers find it motivating because it opens up a wealth of resources from which they can select their teaching materials.

Use of images and colour: The IWB/Projector provides a much better quality of image over a traditional overhead projector acetate. This can make diagrams easier to understand. Photographs have more impact. Colour can be used on concept charts/brainstorms to link related ideas.

Use of multimedia: Watching a video has been possible in lessons using a video/dvd player and television but now including short bursts of multimedia is much easier with an interactive whiteboard. These can provide excellent lesson starters or form part of a plenary.

Items can be moved on screen: Text and pictures can be ‘dragged and dropped’ on screen. This can help with a variety of tasks (see below). Using traditional methods, this could only have been achieved through using cut-out pictures or words and blu-tac which was time-consuming for the teacher and may not have been as visually clear for the pupils.

Saving and retrieving materials: All teachers have banks of resources which they use from year to year. However, having them stored as computer files on a laptop or USB stick means that a teacher has all their resources with them all the time. Recapping at the beginning of lessons is proving to be very useful (reload last weeks notes) and saving completed lessons provides a record of work done. The sheer volume of material that can be accessed from a networked computer leaves a well-prepared teacher with a huge bank of resources to draw on. This would be almost impossible in a classroom with no computer.

Hard Copy: It is possible to print a copy of the notes that have been written onto the screen. This means that the teacher can have evidence of work carried out or a group could each be given the results of some collaborative work such as a brain storm task. The screens can be printed for revision purposes too.

Why not just use a Data Projector?

One question often raised is “Why have an interactive whiteboard?” Many teachers have already experienced the benefits of linking a computer to a projector but why not just work at the computer – what difference does it make working at the board?”

Research has provided two answers here:

1) being able to write on the board, either on a blank screen OR over the top of other software is very useful- you couldn’t write with a mouse – you would have to type and this isn’t as spontaneous.

2) working at the board: many pupils enjoy being able to come and work at the board. They perceive the position at the front of the class as being important and enjoy having the opportunity to make their point before their peers.

There is something almost theatrical about working at the board. The fact that a teacher can pick something up and move it in front of an audience and the fact that other events can be triggered by pressing on certain buttons. This could be done on a computer at the side of the board, but the visual impact is not as great and this creates a certain effect on the observer.

Anecdotally, teachers who have taught firstly with a data projector and then with the addition of a whiteboard all say that they would feel very awkward having to return to their computer each time they want to do something on screen. One remarked that he didn’t feel part of the class when working on his computer. The students are looking at the screen while the teacher is talking somewhere else in the class. With a IWB the focal point is both the teacher and the screen.

(source – The Review Project)