Using Interactive Whiteboards as Student Centers

I’ll be honest. I have mixed feelings about interactive whiteboards, affectionately known as IWBs.  In the right hands and after satisfactory professional learning, an IWB can be a wonderful instructional tool in the classroom.  However, some of the most common uses that I’ve observed have removed the “I” from “IWB”.  Borrowing from Jeff Foxworthy’s “You might be a redneck,” I’ve come up with a few things to look for regarding how the IWB is being used in the classroom.

Your Interactive Whiteboard may not really be interactive if…

  • Videos and Power Point presentations take center stage.
  • The main interactive feature of most Flipcharts / Notebooks might be a hyperlink or sound effect.
  • Flipcharts/Notebooks feature more words than interactive elements.
  • The board / IWB pen were dusted for fingerprints, not many student prints would be found.

But what if you could breathe new life into the IWB?  Instead of making the IWB the CENTER of the classroom, turn your IWB INTO a center!  Since BYOT has become a staple of the learning environment in Forsyth County classrooms, the IWB has transformed into one of many learning centers in elementary and middle school classrooms I visited.   Take a look at some of the elementary-level examples of how the IWB has become a student-centered activity.

IWB Center1



In this first example, students are given a specific math task to complete in their small group. Notice the rubric at the bottom that students can use to self-evaluate their work.











Students are working together to identify some key vocabulary words in the non-fiction reading selection.












You can’t see the other students who this young lady is working with, but their assignment is clearly defined on the IWB slide.












This Kindergarten student, who was working with a group (not pictured), worked through a series of activities arranging the numbers from smallest to largest.