Here’s a quick guide to help you get started with your Interactive Whiteboard, whatever brand you happen to have.

Keep it Simple

Don’t try and overload yourself with all the hundreds of bells and whistles that your whiteboard software can do. There are far too many, and you’ll just end up confusing yourself and your class. Spend a little time to focus on just the basic tools that you can use every day. There’s so much you can do with just those basic tools.

Be sure you know how to use the following tools:

a) Pen / Eraser – being able to handwrite on the board like you would on a regular whiteboard is an essential skill. Look for the colour palette to change the pen colour, and also the pen thickness. The eraser will rub out everything written in pen, it won’t remove shapes or text.

Write a little larger and slower than you normally would. Don’t worry if you run out of space on the board, you can either make the writing smaller after you’ve written it, or just go to another page. You can have as many pages as you want, so don’t try and cram everything onto one.

b) Selection tool – use this tool when you want to interact with something – move something on the page or make it bigger/smaller. Click on the selection tool and then tap on an object to bring up the blobs that let you stretch/rotate/move it about.

c) Text – When pre-preparing a flipchart, it’s better to type in the text than to try and write with a mouse. Click on the text tool then click on the page to add a text box. You’ll have the usual text formatting tools that you’re used to in Word. You can also copy and paste text in exactly the same way that you can in something like PowerPoint.

Each text box can be moved on its own – you can use this to build matching activities – put single words in their own box, and definitions in other ones. Pupils can then match the words to the definitions.

d) Shapes – There will be plenty of ready-made shapes that you can use to create tables, venn diagrams etc. Use the paint bucket tool to fill them in with colour. Have a play and see what is available. Often you’ll find speech bubbles, which are good to use when introducing lesson objectives.

Also think about how you can hide parts of the screen under shapes – maybe important words or parts of an image. Use the selection tool to move the shapes when you are ready to reveal whatever is hiding behind it.

Remember the best way to get to learn how to the use the software is away from the board on your own computer with a mouse and keyboard. Once you’re happy, you can then try it out on the board itself.

For more ideas, check out Interactive Whiteboards 101.


Get hold of the software

SmartBoard Users

Getting hold of a copy of Smart Notebook. Download the latest version here. It will run as a 30 day trial version until you activate it.

How to activate your copy of Smart Notebook  and What to do when the network technician says you can’t have a licence key.

Promethean ActivInspire Users

To get hold of a copy of ActivInpsire : Download here. You will need a serial number from your ICT technician to make this copy work at home. Otherwise it will run as a trial version and then as a cut down personal version.

RM Easiteach Users

To get hold of a copy of Easiteach, visit the RM website here.

Mimio Users

To get hold of a copy of Mimio Studio, visit their website here.

Ebeam Users

To get hold of a copy of Ebeam software, visit the Luidia website here.

Clevertouch / Lynx Users

You can download a trial copy of the Cleverlynx interactive whiteboard software here.

General IWB Ideas

Here’s a summary of blogposts I’ve written in the past that hopefully will prove useful to you.

Here are 8 ideas to keep it Simple when getting to grips with your interactive whiteboard. Stick to the basic tools and use them well.

In addition here are some Lesson Starter Ideas which are simple to make, yet very effective.

Also here’s a simple guide on the Creative use of colour in IWB files.

For some ideas of websites to use on your IWB take a look at 20 Interactive Whiteboard Resources for Teachers and 10 More Cool Teaching Resources for Your Whiteboard.

If you want to add more oomph to your presentations, check out Powerful Images to Give Lessons Punch and 12 Useful Image Search Tools.

For more help on using your Smartboard – get this book!