Promoting Intellectual Quality with an IWB

Promoting intellectual quality in a classroom can sometimes be a bit tricky, especially if the work is boring and repetitive. A lot of students need some form of external motivation as well as their own interest for them to really engage in the topic. A way of generating their motivation can be by using an Interactive Whiteboard (IWB). This may catch their attention at the beginning of the lesson, and if the lesson on the IWB is done well, it may keep their attention throughout the whole lesson.

Using IWB’s in the classroom can definitely help promote intellectual quality and encourage deeper discussions of the topic at hand. Many of the activities that a good teacher will choose will be set up in a way that will prompt open-ended questions and classroom discussion.

IWB in the Classroom

Any teachers reading this who haven’t used an IWB before (or very often) may be thinking “But I just don’t have time for that” or “It’s all just too hard” when in fact it isn’t. The most time consuming part is coming up with the lesson, and that has to be done anyway! There are many activities that promote higher order thinking and intellectual quality. The 4 main categories that Kent (2009) states promote these are: labelling, sorting, ordering/sequencing and puzzles, games and simulations.

They are all pretty self-explanatory, but we will go through them anyway.

1. Labelling is an activity where the student must drag the labels to the appropriate locations on a diagram;

2. Sorting is when there are a variety of objects on the IWB that have to be arranged into the correct groups;

3. Ordering/sequencing activities are when the student has to place the jumbled objects into an appropriate order

4. Puzzle, game and simulation activities require the student to use their problem solving skills to complete the activity

Although these are the 4 categories of activities to promote Intellectual Quality, they can be done well, or very poorly. Two aspects suggested to help promote intellectual quality are randomness, and ambiguity (Kent, 2009). Generally, high ambiguity results in higher intellectual quality. It is more likely to generate class discussions, which allow a deeper knowledge base to be built. The random aspect of using the IWB keeps the class interested and on their toes; but it isn’t always possible to have both randomness and ambiguity (Kent, 2009).

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