My first piece of advice that I give to all educators no matter what level and what area you work in is don’t try to reinvent the whiteboard. Use the resources that are already out there at your disposal. Just take a look at the variety of links in the side bar. I’m sure you can find some that are very useful and offer a lot more guidance than I can cover in our time together during a training session.
I spent an afternoon in December training a handful of Media Specialists from the Menasha Joint School District. They were a joy to work with and were very enthusiastic about learning how to use the SMARTboard and Notebook 10 software. We also looked through a variety of websites you can find in the sidebar of my blog. (Look on the right side of the page).
Many of those present at the training had already used a IWB but in small doses and really wanted ideas on how to create lessons to use with students as well as how they can best help the teachers in the various schools around the district. It seems that many educators view the Media Specialist as the “go to” person. If a teacher has a question about technology they expect the M.S. to know all the answers. I however have a different view… I believe a Media Specialist is there to help my students learn about the library and the wonderful resources available to them. After all, they work in the library and often times the computer lab. If my students need to write a research paper or do a project on a famous person I go to the M.S. and ask them to help me gather the right materials for my students to do the research. At the elementary level I hope the M.S. is taking time to read books to the kids and introduce them to new authors, teach them about the Caldecott and Newbery Award, talk about the Dewey Decimal system and teach them about the many genres of literature. Not that these are the only things a media specialist should be teaching, but a M.S. should be able to teach using the interactive whiteboard just like a classroom teacher.
The group of specialists and I went through the variety of tools available using the SMART Notebook 10 Software and how they can best create interactive lessons and games to teach library skills. We also worked on creating lessons that they can use to best support the teachers in their buildings. As the afternoon went on I spent some one-on-one time with those attending the half-day training addressing specific questions and needs. I feel one of the best ways to learn how to use an interactive whiteboard is to actually stand in front of it and have a knowledgeable person guide you through creating lessons and activities.
By the time our training session was over all of the media specialists had a good understanding of how to use the IWB in an effective manner as well as resources and ideas to find lessons that are already done. Also, as a result of the afternoon I was able to make some contacts with the principal of the school that hosted our afternoon together. Hopefully he’ll be asking me to come in and work with his classroom teachers and help them with using their IWB. I also hope to be one of the presenters at the MJSD Staff Development session in mid-February. I have found yet another passion to my new position at Marian University, School of Education – I love to teach others about using an IWB in an effective way, whether it’s with students or staff.