Monday, May 10, 2010

The Ten No Nos of Teaching with a Projector or Interactive Whiteboard

Teacher at Green BoardI spend a lot of time visiting innovative classrooms in New York City. As I do, there is something that I've noticed in many classes I've visited - there are still some educators that don't seem to know the no nos for teaching with a projector or interactive whiteboard (IWB). Perhaps it's easier to notice when you're sitting as an audience member or an observer which is not often the case for teachers. If you're an innovative educator teaching with a projector or IWB, you too might be engaging in a no no or two.

Here are ten no nos to avoid as you teach with technology.

  1. No no: Don't have your back to your participants
    Description: This is one of my biggest pet peeves and something I see all the time. The teacher sets her laptop up so that to use it she is facing the screen or whiteboard. The teacher then instructs the class with her back to them. Awkward! Educators should not be talking to a board. They should speak to a class.
    Solution: By simply flipping the direction of the laptop the teacher can see the entire class. Additionally, the laptop becomes her teleprompter as she addresses her students.
    Advantage: The teacher can maintain eye contact with her participants providing for a more authentic discussion. She can also see their reactions and level of interest.

  2. No no: Do not make a shadow on the whiteboard or screen with your hand or body.
    : In many classrooms the teacher is standing in front of the board pointing to things or speaking about things that are being projected. The problem is he's in the path of the objects projected and students can't see what it is he's speaking about.
    Solution: Be aware of the projection light. If you feel you must be at the board, perhaps you can use a pointing stick. You can also verbally tell students what part of the board you are discussing i.e. if you look in the top left quadrant. Finally, you don't need to go up to the board. You can engage the class directly from your laptop.
    Advantage: The students can see what it is you are sharing.

  3. No no: Don't project a small and/or crooked image
    : I often go to classrooms and am perplexed as I see a tiny and/or crooked image displayed on the screen. It's as though the instructor has turned on the projector and doesn't realize it may need adjustment.
    : Make sure the image fills the entire space onto which you are projecting and adjust your projector manually or using the keystone feature to make sure it is not crooked. You can make the image larger by placing the projector the proper distance from the screen and/or using the adjustments on the projector. You can make the image straight by manually moving the projector left or right or by using the keystone feature on the projector.
    Advantage: A small or distorted image is a distraction that most teachers want to avoid. By ensuring your image fills the screen and is straight you're participants will more easily be able to see and focus on your presentation.

  4. No no: Don't leave your audience in the dark.
    Description: Teaching and learning should not occur in the dark. Don't turn off the lights during instruction. This does not encourage interactivity and engagement, but instead it makes some people rather sleepy. Additionally, it's difficult to have eye contact and see student reactions in the dark.
    Solution: Leave the lights on. In most rooms you can still generally see projected items with the light on. If your room has multiple light switches, just shut off the front lights. If you have windows, close the blinds in the part of the room where you are projecting. If it's really difficult to see with the lights on, get a few lamps for your classroom. Not only will this accomplish the goal, it will add a nice atmosphere to the room.
    Advantage: Your students will be more alert, engaged, and likely to participate in the lesson. Teachers can see their students and their students can see one another.

  5. No no: Don't point with your finger.
    This is a big mistake I see all the time. Teachers think they need to point directly on the screen so they end up doing a dance between their laptop and the screen.
    Solution: Every computer comes equipped with a free electronic pointer. It's called your cursor. You don't need to run to the board to point at the screen. Students know what a cursor is and can follow it if you instruct them to do so.
    Advantage: If you point with your cursor rather than your finger you can maintain eye contact with your audience allowing you to better gage their interest and understanding of the lesson. You can also avoid doing the unnecessary dance between your laptop and the screen or board onto which you are projecting.

  6. No no: Don't waste instructional time fumbling with projector set up
    Description: Classroom time should not be wasted with equipment set up. Instructional time is valuable and it's important that technology using teachers are not robbing students of instruction with equipment set up. We never want students ready to learn with a teacher who isn't ready to teach them.
    Solution: It's important to become very familiar with equipment set up. Teachers often use tape on the floor so they know exactly where the projector, computer desk, and or screen should go. Many savvy teachers have a student responsible for setting up the projector at the start of the lesson while the teacher is beginning instruction. This is an elegant solution that involves your tech-savvy students.
    Advantage: Student learning is increased. Students with an interest in technology become more confident in their abilities and recognized for their talent.

  7. No no: Don't assume your audience can see what you can see
    Description: The person presenting is usually close to the laptop or interactive whiteboard and can see everything clearly, but those in the back of the room may not be able to see things as well. It's important that you remember to zoom in and out so that your audience can best view what you are projecting.
    Solution: While specifics may vary from computer to computer, they all have zooming features. On some computers you can use "ctrl" or "command" and "+" or "-" on other computers you can use the scroll wheel on your mouse. If these options don't work visit the help menu.
    Advantage: Participants will be able to see and hear what you are sharing. You may want to assign a student responsible for reminding you if you need to zoom.

  8. No no: Don't be a sage on the stage
    Description: While I often hear educators proudly discussing how engaged students are with interactive whiteboards, and I often hear sales folks boasting of the interactivity of whiteboards, I almost never see them used interactively with students. The same is true for a teacher with a projector. It's time for teachers to get off the pulpit and let their students shine.
    Solution: There are many ways to encourage interactivity of students with an IWB or projector. This should be worked into the teaching and sharing. Recently I saw a teacher projecting and presenting to students video clips of various classmates sharing. It was time for the teacher to step down and let the students share their own videos. They could have played their video and discussed it rather than the teacher doing that. Another class I visited had students working in groups. After wards they shared their learning from their desks while some irrelevant information was projected on the screen. This teacher also had access to five laptops that were in the corner of the room. The teacher could have given each group of students a laptop and let them put something together to project in a fun an interesting format rather than have each student go around and share in a bored tone what they had worked on. They could have placed their work on a shared space, a thumbdrive, or brought their laptop up to project. When students know their work will be shared and displayed, they are more excited and accountable. In another class a teacher was showing students how music and sound could affect the mood of a dialogue. He played the audio of various student's pre-recorded dialogue and then put different sounds and music as a background and discussed how it affected the mood of the piece. Again. Teacher, get off the stage. Let each student group present their work and select the sound they want to use. They love using these tools. Not watching you use them.
    Advantage: Students find an interactive classroom more engaging. When students know that their work is going to be shared and displayed, they are excited and more invested in the work. Share the limelight and let your students shine. Your students will love it.

  9. No no: Don't use your projector as a blackboard or replacement
    Description: If a blackboard/whiteboard would do, don't waste your bulb. They are costly. I've often gone into rooms where there's just an aim projected on the screen. Not necessary. Teachers need to know the tool for the cause. If you just have a sentence to project, turn off the projector and put it on the whiteboard. I've also seen a projector left on with assignment directions that were also handed out to the class or, each student has a laptop where the assignment is displayed. Again, turn off the projector and save the bulb.
    Solution: When developing lessons determine if you really need to leave the projector on the whole time. If you are just projecting a sentence, use the blackboard. If your students already have the work in hand on their laptop or paper, you don't need the projector.
    Advantage: You'll save hundreds of dollars on projector bulbs.

  10. No no: Don't waste money on an interactive whiteboard without some smart reasons
    Description: More often than not I go into a classroom and see a teacher not using their interactive whiteboard or I see them struggling to use it, but not quite knowing how and relying on another adult or student to assist. Many educators believe that you need a costly interactive whiteboard to teach engaging lessons with a projector, but you don't. None is required.
    Solution: Before wasting thousands upon thousands of dollars on costly interactive whiteboards take a moment and think. Will my teachers really utilize these boards to enrich instruction in a way that justifies the cost or might my students be better served by having access to technology in their own hands. A school can start with just a projector and save thousands of dollars. You can always purchase IWBs at a later time. In fact while IWB companies fund research that shows they are effective, more and more people are finding that student achievement is no higher in classrooms with IWBs than those with projectors only. To date in five years of searching and upon visiting many classrooms, I still have not seen instruction enhanced with an IWB. It may be happening somewhere, but I haven't seen it. Smart principals should ask those teachers who want interactive whiteboards to write a proposal to justify the expense and that proposal should clearly explain and state compelling reasons explaining how IWBs will result in more effective instruction than if they used a projector alone. If they can make a case, consider the purchase. If you find, as I have, that they can accomplish most of what they are talking about with a laptop (ideally a tablet) and a projector, you may want to reconsider.
    Advantage: You'll save thousands of dollars that you can allocate to technology that instead can go directly into your student's hands.
Related Posts:

Why Smartboards are a Dumb Initiative
Erase Unnecessary Costs by Getting Smart about Interactive Whiteboards


  1. Excellent tips! Thank you for sharing. I hope to find a way to share these with teachers in my school district where we are fortunate to have a projector in every classroom. If only they were all ceiling mounted; that would help with several of the issues in your list.

    One other tool I suggest is a laser pointer. It keeps the presenter from having to stand in the way of the projection by enabling them to be farther from the screen/board.

  2. Excellent post! I cannot believe you actually witnessed this going on in classrooms. I always instruct with one eye in the audience watching me; I am aware of how I would need it to look/sound if I was a student/seminar attendee.

    Perhaps some 'train the trainer' is needed?!

  3. @EdTechSandyK you are welcome! I hope you can share these tips too. Kudos to your administration for providing your teachers with this necessary professional tool for innovative educators.

    Regarding the other suggestions, for me I find it most effective to have the projector and screen behind me and the class in front of me. Even a laser pointer results in a loss of eye contact with participants. I can just use the cursor to achieve the same goal and maintain eye contact with my participants. The benefits are: No costly ceiling mount. Mobility of the projector if I want to project from various places in the class or if I'm a traveling teacher, and I don't need added equipment of a laser pointer that I personally am likely to lose.

  4. Also to add to #7, when you are projecting text to a group, the font size needs to be size 24 or larger so that those in the back of the room can read the text. This is my personal pet peeve, when teachers use a size 14 font which looks fine on the laptop BUT is way too small when projected to an audience.

  5. Great post!! I especially enjoyed number 1, 3, and 6.

  6. @Carolyn:
    Your advice is crucial. I try to make the fontsize >30, if possible 36, but then again, i am already getting older and my eyes are getting weaker :-)

  7. There are some great tips here. I especially like not teaching with your back to the students (You're practically asking them not to pay attention and something silly) and using the right tool for the job. Many seem to feel like we have to use whatever tools we're given all the time. We need to plan an instructional objective and find the best tool to match to that objective.

  8. Great list of "common sense" ideas that apparently are not as common as they should be! I think the "sage on the stage" point is a good one, but I believe that direct instruction is still a necessary part of teaching(particularly in elementary school). I do agree that may teachers use technology solely to enhance lecture rather than having that be one mode of instruction used in conjunction with other methods.

  9. @Emily Starr, Thank you and yes, often not so common. Re: your "Sage on the Stage," while it is sometimes necessary, it's not always necessary that solely the teacher should be involved. A teacher doesn't need to share a student's work to teach. A student can share and the teacher can, as they say, "Guide on the Side." I almost never see the teacher having the student's projecting/sharing/explaining/celebrating their own work, and that, needs to change.

  10. I completely agree that students should share their own work. That definitely needs to change!

  11. Just as a note: the wii interactive whiteboard has "come a long way baby", (I wrote a list of the various programs and evaluated them at and you can show your students how to make their own... for whatever purpose you may need.

    Then you are not forced to use it simply because it is expensive, and the remote control wii function in Smoothboard presenter can allow you to scaffold students as well, or have them get their hands all over it.

    An ir pen can be made for about 3 bucks, in whatever form you want... pen, graffiti spray can, magic wand... and students can make them. So you can have the whole system for less than the price of a normal iwb pen, and the students will

    1. respect you for not just being given cool toys that you are afraid of sharing.
    2. learn to be producers, not just consumers.

    I agree that 90% of effectiveness of the system is the light projected on the wall. But the last 10% doesn't have to cost thousands of dollars.


  12. @Matt Ledding, great feedback and insight. I love your list too. Can I cross post it here on my blog with your byline?

  13. Here on my thoughts on your excellent list, Lisa.

    Re: #8 - No Sage on the Stage: Make your students become your hands. That is, once you've written a good standards-based, content-specific IWB lesson (that includes a pre-assessment, vocabulary development, interactive piece and writing piece as formative assessment - see the "Six Slide Lesson" at - STAND BACK AND LET THE STUDENTS INTERACT WITH THEIR HANDS ON BOARD! Too many times, I've see teachers keep the SB all to themselves as a teaching tool, not a student-learning tool. Don't hide the IWB behind a desk that only you can reach. Put it in the open where students can interact directly. Make it a center! It's being done in Kindergarten! See Mary Lehman video ( of a Kindergarten teacher in York, PA who uses the Smartboard for EVERY lesson.

    Just my thoughts

  14. As I scroll down through these ten DON'TS and am happy to say that I don't do any of these things. Whew! Mind you, I don't have an IWB, but I do use my laptop in conjunction with a document camera. I have been using a document camera for the last few months and, in my opinion, is a great stepping stone for the IWB. The doc cam allows me to zoom in, capture documents or pages in a book, demo objects all in color. My students are comfortable with it and feel they are able to learn easier when I use it. I often have students come up and demonstrate the work or ideas using it. The students feel more at ease using a regular pencil or pen on regular paper and when I demo concepts, I am able to use the same tools I expect them to use - the overhead just doesn't cut it. I also connect it to my laptop and toggle between them using IWB type software or youtube or internet access. How wonderful it would be to have an IWB, but we can afford it. The doc cam is affordable and wonderful!

  15. another tip, particularly for people who use their computer in class a lot but not necc a projector. Don't forget that your screen can be seen - in other words, don't get distracted & check emails or your electronic marksbook etc..

  16. These are all no nos for IWBs, but. in my opinion, so are most of the others you suggest. The IWB is not a presentation tool, it's not a big TV screen to display children's work and it's not a lesson delivery tool. Sure it can be used for those purposes, but so can any white wall. It's an INTERACTIVE white board. INTERACTIVE! That means that students need to use it...wait for it...INTERACTIVELY. If you haven't got the teacher/student use ratio at about 20%/80% you may as well just have a projector and a whiteboard. Of course that's just my humble opinion.

  17. Would note that with google docs readily available the teacher can use groups and simply have them share to the teacher and thus have the students work at their computer to share AND try a wireless tablet with a free virtual keyboard and you can control, interact, a present anywhere in the room as well as archive for about $200 (the poor man's IWB) You might also look at the original DYKnow software (free version) to enhance all of the above.

  18. This list of "no-nos" should be included in any IWB training provided for teachers. Many schools are currently installing IWBs in their classrooms. Teachers are given one or two days of training and then set loose to use the IWB in their classrooms. It unfortunately loses the interactive part when this happens because teachers themselves aren't sure how to use them effectively. If a teacher gets an IWB in his/her room then s/he should receive ongoing training in using the IWB effectively and interactively with students.

  19. This is a great list. I am reading it with sadness, however. I am having to move schools due to declining enrollment and my new classroom has no technology other than 2 old desktop computers. I am moving from a classroom with a mounted Smartboard and 6 new computers and I was planning on getting a document camera. A smartboard was out of the question at my new school, so I asked for a projector and computer and they said no. My question is what is the basic equipment I can get by with in a classroom and still be able to project interesting things. I am thinking of buying a projector myself, and maybe even a cheap web cam in place of a document camera and scrounging a computer. Does this seem like a good setup? I am open to all suggestions. Thanks everyone.

  20. Your No nos did make me chuckle as I was guilty of some of them when I first started using IWB. How true your statement is that we need to sit in the audience in order to see ourselves. It wasn’t until I had a student teacher recently that I found my font was too small to be seen in the back of the classroom. I agree, the font does need to be 24 or bigger. I think this is a list that all teachers need before even attempting to use any type of projection to teach. Thanks!

  21. To anonymous and others who are interested in a creative, less expensive way to make any surface or digital screen into an interactive surface. Given the idea that good teaching is good teaching with or without technology, if you want to try to incorporate technology for our technology-savvy students, watch the video by Johnny Chung Lee ( about how to create an interactive whiteboard system using a Nintendo wii remote and homemade infrared light pens. Mr. Lee is from Carnegie Mellon Univ. and his software download is free. I am taking a course on the use of IWB's and higher order thinking skills and this was one of our readings.

  22. Wow! I never realized that there are so many things to consider while using a projector or an IWB in the classroom. I use a projector everyday and believed I was quite proficient in the use of the technology, but I now realize that there are many procedures that I need to improve on.
    I loved your idea about having lamps in the classroom. I never realized that I could be making my students sleepy when turning off the lights. I was doing it to make the words more clear and colorful. I'm happy to no longer be "in the dark" when it comes to turning off the lights.
    I also really liked your comment on how the IWB is not vital to utilizing technology in the classroom. I used to think that I absolutely needed a SmartBoard, but realized that many of my objectives could be reached with just a projector and "regular" whiteboard. It is easier to write on, the picture is clearer, and depending on the size of your IWB, the projection is larger.
    Finally, I could not agree more with you about knowing how to set up the equipment. If you are "fumbling" with the set-up while trying to keep the kids engaged, you will lose them. When I first used technology in the classroom, I spent many hours practicing and failing when the kids weren’t there, so distractions would be decreased during instructional time. Confidence with technology will increase the confidence of your lesson delivery.
    In closing, a SmartBoard is only as smart as the person using it...

  23. I really enjoyed reading this list of the top pitfalls related to using technology in the classroom. Though I have been utilizing technology for some time and have managed to overcome many of them at this point, I must admit, that on occasion, I do fall into some of these traps. First, I never realized that turning the lights off could actually be a distraction for my students. Very often, when using the Smartboard or the projector, my natural habit is to hit the lights in order to provide students with what I had thought was the best ambience possible. Secondly, I loved the notion you shared about not being a "sage on the stage" and allowing students to benefit from all this technology has to offer. When I initially began to use technology in the classroom, I was uneasy about allowing students to be active participants. Once I began to allow students to take part in its use, I found that they were more engaged during my lessons and got so much more enjoyment out of the learning process. Lastly, I completely agree with the idea that time should not be wasted setting up technology. This not only takes away from instructional time but it also loses student interest and makes the teacher seem incompetent. Just like with every lesson, if a teacher is planning on integrating technology into their day, they should be sure to plan it into their schedule accordingly and allow for set up time prior to having the students ready. This will allow the students to get the most out of the lesson. Thanks for all the tips!

  24. Being the proud new owner of a projector and an interactive whiteboard, I found this article to be quite informative and useful. While reading this article I could picture myself making some of the “No, No” mistakes clearly described by the author. I am thankful for the heads up and the solutions. I can definitely see and understand the advantages to taking the authors suggestions. Thanks again 

  25. Well said Jason, a Smartboard is only as smart as the person using it. And apparently, I’m not so smart. I found that I make many of these mistakes myself, and never realized they were wrong. Some of them I find unavoidable as I do not have my own classroom so I do waste time setting up the projector and quite often I leave my audience in the dark. I would love the opportunity to find new and innovative ways to use a whiteboard in my teaching!

  26. Thanks for the article. I found the article helpful, as I was victim to a few of the "no-no's" listed. One that I am particularly a repeat offender of is number 1. The way that my classroom is set up, I need to have the laptop directly behind the projector. I wish there was room on the side of it, but the cart that I have does not have the room. I know that it is not best practice to have my back to them, or to the side, but sometimes it is inevitable. One way to help overcome this problem is to use a laser pointer. I sometimes will project my image, and then walk up to the screen. I use the laser pointer instead of my finger (so I don't cast shadows) and I now have complete view of my students. I also assign a student to assist with the laptop so I don't have to be walking back and forth too much. When I first read about casting shadows, number 2, I initially thought you were talking about hand puppets. It seems that every time I first use the projector in my room, some students try to make hand puppets. I instantly put an end to that right away before I even begin. I have been in other rooms where teachers joke around and make hand puppets as well, and their students take that as a cue that it is acceptable. Then they wonder why they have trouble controlling them in future lessons. Thanks for the article.

  27. I enjoy your blog. Thanks for reminding teachers of the basic things to be aware while teaching with a projector. Some are obvious but those are some times overlook. My favorite ones:
    Don't have your back to your participants
    Do not make a shadow on the whiteboard or screen with your hand or body.
    Don't project a small and/or crooked image.
    Don't waste instructional time fumbling with projector set up
    Don't assume your audience can see what you can see
    Don’t leave your audience in the dark.
    Don't point with your finger.
    The most important one is: do not be sages on the stage.
    My students love using technology tools themselves. They do not like watching the teachers use them. They can participate in the activity and do it themselves. All this interactive activities are fun, exciting. Students like to show their classmates their work.

  28. Glad to find this article, those points are matched to what we always believe about this kind of technology! Pedagogy shift is just what's needed in classrooms, not expansive IWBs.
    If teachers can make the best use of their projectors, only a small device can turn the projectors into interactive, so they can have IWB from all kinds of surface, which cost only a small fraction of an IWB.

    More and more open and shared resources and tools make education contents easily available, how teachers use and customize them through collaboration with other educators or engagement with students is what really matters.

  29. #10 is by far the most important concern on this list in my mind. Why by an IWB in the first place?

  30. I have had my Smartboard for years, and you would think #1 would be a no-brainer for me! LOL My principal came into my room for a PLC meeting and wanted to use my Smartboard. He turned my laptop sideways so that he could face us and the board. "Hmmm..." I thought, "I could do that too." As embarassing as this is to admit, some times things are not as obvious as we think they are.Thanks for sharing!

  31. lwall@3village.csd.k12.ny.usJuly 6, 2011 at 10:41 AM

    There were some great tips that I never thought of! I especially like not teaching with your back to the students. When I usually use the Proxima in my room to take notes with the students, I am sitting at a student computer typing where my students are behind me. I have also used the Smart Board, Proxima, and Document Camera in the library where the laptop is facing the Whiteboard and not the students. How do I expect the students to pay attention when I am not facing them? I will flip the computer around so that I can see the whole class while working on the board. Don’t be a Sage on Stage I am usually the one who is using the technology in my room while the students are watching me use the Whiteboard. At times I have the students come up and write on the board or touch a part of the board that is interactive. This year I am going to try and integrate the Smart Board, the document camera (video) and microphone into my oral projects. The students get so nervous in the front of the room when they need to present their projects that they look at the ground and mumble/whisper. If I have them record their presentation with the document camera and microphone they will be able to present their projects to the class with just the use of a computer and Proxima. I think they will feel more comfortable and put more into their presentations.

  32. Lisa Wall said....There were some great tips that I never thought of! I especially like not teaching with your back to the students. When I usually use the Proxima in my room to take notes with the students, I am sitting at a student computer typing where my students are behind me. I have also used the Smart Board, Proxima, and Document Camera in the library where the laptop is facing the Whiteboard and not the students. How do I expect the students to pay attention when I am not facing them? I will flip the computer around so that I can see the whole class while working on the board. Don’t be a Sage on Stage I am usually the one who is using the technology in my room while the students are watching me use the Whiteboard. At times I have the students come up and write on the board or touch a part of the board that is interactive. This year I am going to try and integrate the Smart Board, the document camera (video) and microphone into my oral projects. The students get so nervous in the front of the room when they need to present their projects that they look at the ground and mumble/whisper. If I have them record their presentation with the document camera and microphone they will be able to present their projects to the class with just the use of a computer and Proxima. I think they will feel more comfortable and put more into their presentations.

  33. Suzanne Luhmer said...
    This article is a great introduction for someone like me who is new to using projectors, documents cameras and interactive whiteboards in the classroom. In my few experiences with these technologies I have been guilty of several of these “no-nos”, especially #6 and #8.
    When fumbling to set up a projector not only is time lost but the attention of the students is lost as well. I have many goals but “mastering” the set-up is at the top of my list.

    I think that the tips for not being a “sage on the stage” are also very important. No one enjoys a “lecture” and reflecting on myself as a student, this style of teaching to me has always been least effective and most boring. As I thought more about this tip I realize that when I do have students share their work I am guilty of not correcting their own “no-nos” in their presenting. As I become more comfortable following some of these guidelines myself, I intend on making my students more accountable for them as well.

  34. Mike DeRosa said...

    I definitely see myself in some of these “No Nos.” Although I have only used an overhead projector, I am guilty of numbers 1, 2, 4, 5. I will often go to the screen (or board) and point to something to emphasize it, and right there I have violated three no nos! Back to students, cast shadow, and point with finger. I know exactly what the author means when he says “…doing a dance between their laptop and the screen….” Back and forth, back and forth…
    I have also shut the lights off when the students complain they can’t see. Usually just the ones in front but there have been times when I’ve shut them all off.
    Seeing these listed as “No Nos” will make me more aware and more careful of not doing them in the future

  35. I use a projector all the time and now I feel like I have some food for thought! I am a big offender of having my back to the class when I use a laptop. It's all on one cart so whatever way it faces is the way I set it up. I also agree with #6. I make sure I get equipment early for set up so I do not have to fumble during teaching time. Sometimes setting up the system does not go so smoothly, more so with the IWB. I love using the IWB but feel that the only way I can justify the set up time ( they are mobile in our building) is to really have an engaging lesson for the students. They love to go and use the board and actually get aggravated when they do not get a turn if they are not involved in the lesson. Designing lessons that are engaging for the students allows me to be fun and creative with my teaching. I like the idea of having a IWB in my classroom but you can do many of the same things with a projector.

  36. An amusing but important article. I was eager to read the 10 tips to find out if I was a culprit of any. I was relieved to find out that I have just one "no no" to take care of- turning off the lights. Typically I turn off one set of lights in our classroom because it appeared to make it easier to see. I certainly wouldn't want to put anyone to sleep! Fortunately the rest I appeared to have figured out.
    The writer has a good point- "Don't be a sage on the stage". I agree that the idea is to have the students interact directly with the activity. What would be the point if we just lecture? Another good point made is to not waste instruction time with set up. No need to say more!

  37. Jenn Valentine said...

    Guilty! When I first read the title of the article, I thought what No Nos could there possibly be. While some were quite obvious to me, others made me think, "oops, did that." #6 is definitely a challenge for me, don't waste time fumbling with set up, since I am in different rooms and the classes before mine didn't use the rolling SmartBoard. I definitely had the setup down to a science, but I loved the idea of the tape on the floor - simple yet genius. #8 will be next year's goal. As I was learning how to master the SmartBoard this year, I definitely need the students to interact with it more and have them present their projects/homework instead. And again, I loved Jason's summary "a SmartBoard is only as smart as the person using it..." Guess I'm not as smart as I thought I was.

  38. Lisa, this is so different from many of your "IWBs are useless" posts (of course, I like those, too).

    Love your tips. I was having this discussion with some novice IWB users recently. Many of your tips came up.

    Thanks for your usual smart stuff.

  39. Love tip #8. All the kids I've worked with love using the IWB! Anything that gets them up and interacting AND incorporates technology is a major yes for me.

  40. Very good article. Here are few tips that might be useful.

    1-There is a product called "Gaffers tape"" . You will see the title of "Gaffer" at the end of many movies. Gaffers are people who do the "rigging " for movies and concerts. Gaffers tape is a "quick release version of Duck tape. It works to hold cables and wires in place. But doesnt leave a residue like Duck Tape. If you cant find gaffers tape( It is for sale on line), the non stick blue masking tape readily avaiable at home/office supply stores will also work.

    2-Most currently avaiable projectors come with at least 2,000 lumens of brightness. So leaving lights on/off is not as big a deal as when schools could only afford 1,000 lumen or less projecors. However, a "trick" I have used and suggested when you dont have the ablity to dim "some " of the lights is a simple floor lamp or two..avaiable for about $15 ....that lets you turn off the lights in the class but still have enough light for kids ( or people in a conference room) to see to write etc. Only caution there is the lamps that use halgen bulbs get HOT, so care is needed in where you place them.

    3-Many projectors now have an "eco" Mode. It lowers the light by only a couple of hundred lumens, but will extend the life of the lamp. Some projectors will get as much as 6,000 hours of use in eco mode.

    4-Check the filter on your projector. While we are now seeing projectors with Hybrid filters that will not need to be changed or cleaned for 2 or 3 thousand hours, some projectors recommend cleaning /changing the filter every 100 hours. A clogged filter will cause the lamp to overheat and shorten the life of the lamp.

    5-There isa product called Screen goo( I dont sell it but have recommended to many schools. Screen goo is a special coating( not a paint, but applies the same way) that can turn any paintable surface into a high quality projection screen. A kit ( with roller and tray) that will do a 10x10 area sells for under $200. If you have a wall that is "paintable " you can turn that into a projection screen that kids can tear or etc. The average classroom is 12" , ceiling to floor. I will leave other to debate IWB vs no IWB...I think it is like any have to use it for it to be effective...but the average IWB is 4x6 . If your wall allows a bigger screen, 8x8 or 10x10 is bigger than 4x6. Screen goo also makes colors POP. It is often used for home theatre for that reason. If you dont have a sheet rock or otherwise paintable wall, Plywood or particle board can be used.and removed or moved as needed. I do not sell or have a connection with Goo systems.

    6-Be informed about the upcoming "Analog sunset" ..Up until now, most projectors have been connected to computers via an RGB( 15 pin male to male) cable. It will depend on the computer manufacturers, but must have announced plans to go to a digital ( HDMI) interaface by the end of 2013. As with the transition from 5.25 floplies to 3.5 floppies to CD no CD drives in some cases, it wont happen overnite. But it is coming so make sure any new projectors you acquire have an HDMI input to be ready for that transition.

    I hope these tips are useful.


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