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Uses of the Interactive Whiteboard in Distance Education

written by: Janelle Martel•edited by: Heather Marie Kosur•updated: 6/29/2011

Distance education continues to gain new technologies that enhance learning, one of which is the interactive whiteboard. What is the whiteboard and how are interactive whiteboards in distance education used?

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    An interactive whiteboard is an electronic whiteboard that can be viewed and used by more than one person at more that one computer. The tools available differs by the provider of the whiteboard, but most include drawing tools, text tools, and color palettes. Additional tools may include pre-written equations, shapes, the ability to copy and paste text and pictures, and the ability to view websites as a group. The interactive whiteboard in distance education uses multimedia as a way of communication and as a learning tool.

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    General Uses

    Students who are learning by distance often don't get a chance to directly connect with other students or their teachers. The interactive whiteboard provides a few ways to do this. First of all, it is a great place to review for tests and work on practice quizzes. The teacher could provide questions on the whiteboard for individuals to solve after which immediate feedback can be provided. This also allows the instructor to work with the student one-on-one to work on any problems in which they are struggling.

    There are always ways for the interactive whiteboard in distance education to be used to benefit the entire class. When studying for a test, the class can play jeopardy or another trivia game with the instructor acting as the moderator. There are also other interactive whiteboard games. Teachers or guest lecturers can also use the whiteboard and its technology to teach or enhance a lesson. As the whiteboard allows the addition of pictures and the ability to view websites as a group, this media can be used to bridge the gap created by the distance.

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    For Teaching Different Curriculum

    English

    The whiteboard has some excellent uses for English and language arts. In grammar, students can work on lessons such as sentence diagramming easily on the whiteboard. Older students can also work on reviewing and proofreading essays in real-time with their instructor. The ability to use different colors allows the issues to both be identified and corrected in an easy to read manner. Literature can also be enhanced through the use of the whiteboard. Teachers and students are able to view passages together and can write directly onto the work to identify parts of speech, for example.

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    Social Studies

    Geography is often a tricky topic to teach through distance education, but the use of a whiteboard makes this much easier. Maps can be viewed together to help students learn how to read a map, how to read a scale, and how to examine longitudes and latitudes. The whiteboard could also be used for studying history by looking at websites collaboratively and taking digital notes that can be saved to the student's computer.

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    Science

    The interactive whiteboard in distance education can be used to create a virtual lab environment. Students can participate in virtual dissections through the use of pictures and interactive whiteboards. Science teachers will also be able to share diagrams with their students and will be able to provide other visual aids that assist in learning.

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    Math

    Math can be difficult to do on the computer without specialized programs, but an interactive whiteboard solves this problem. As individuals can draw freely, there are no limitations. The whiteboard can be used to easily communicate equations or to draw visual aids when solving word problems.

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    References

    • Creative Ways to Use Interactive Whiteboards: http://www.bestprofessionalspeaking.com/blog/creative-ways-to-use-interactive-whiteboards/
    • Interactive Whiteboards: http://www.online-distance-learning-education.com/article_info.php/articles_id/2