Interactive Whiteboards in Australia

News, ideas and discussion about interactive whiteboards in education

Posts Tagged ‘primary’

IWB Maths, English, Science, SOSE and IT for K-3

Posted by rosiemacalpine on March 2, 2010

Until recently, iboard software produced high quality, engaging software for any brand of interactive whiteboard for paid subscribers. Now TES (Times Educational Supplement, an UK education newspaper and website) have bought the activities and made them available FREE, without signup, for anyone!

These are really lovely activities which are well organised and cover a wide range of topics. For example there are 93 numeracy activities for Year 1 alone with titles such as ‘Adding Two Dice’, ‘Comparing Jungle Animals (Height)’, and ‘Months of the Year’.

The activities are split into Reception, Year One and Year Two so you should find suitable activities for K-3 in Australian schools.

Click here to visit the iboard site. Thanks to The Whiteboard Blog.



Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Crayola brings art to life on the IWB

Posted by rosiemacalpine on September 11, 2009

I was very excited to discover this beautiful online drawing and painting site from Crayola. Unlike a lot of online drawing sites, the tools look realistic. Crayons make a waxy line on the page, and paint strokes can be built up to create a darker line.


The Crayola wheel lets you choose from nine different drawing tools. Each tool has colour and line thickness options.

I also loved this site because it reinforces, rather than tries to replace, traditional art tools. After a few minutes on the site, I was itching to buy some glitter crayons and nice white paper to recreate childhood memories!

You can print your artwork – I would also suggest teaching your students to use the camera/ capture tool that comes with your IWB software to take a screenshot of their work. Then you can create a gallery of student’s art work in your class.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Using Prezi on the IWB

Posted by rosiemacalpine on June 18, 2009

Prezi is a presentation tool (similar to Power Point). But instead of following a linear format, Prezi viewers can choose the part of the presentation that they wish to see and zoom in – then zoom out to see an overview of the whole topic.


On the Prezi showcase board, there are some education examples but most of the ones I’ve seen are examples of secondary topics. I wondered if there is a value in using this in primary education, particularly for storytelling?

The screenshot below shows the overview of Miss Muffet. If you click on the picture, you can view the actual presentation on the Prezi site (or click on this link Click on the arrows in the bottom right corner of the screen to see the presentation in order, or zoom in (click on a word or picture) and zoom out (double click elsewhere on the screen) to visit the images and text in any order.


If you watch a Prezi on your computer screen and click through quickly, it can be a bit nauseating as it zooms from one topic to another. But when you are using it with a class on an IWB, this wouldn’t be a problem as the pace of the presentation would be much slower.

Like a lot of people, I have an aversion to using Power Point or other static presentations on an IWB. But I think Prezi could be a bit different as it offers choice and ‘links’ which make it much more interesting and interactive. It’s also possible to use it a bit like Deep Zoom and hide images and text by making them very small then zooming in.

Possible other educational uses:

Asking children to prepare presentations/ interactive tutorials using the software

Showing the layers of the earth, the food chain, etc by using the zooming feature

Using it with a desktop overlay function to predict the order of something e.g. events in the Civil War, sentence structure – then playing the presentation to see if they are correct. I’ve played with a basic sentence structure example here.

Posted in iwb | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Poisson Rouge – a site without language

Posted by rosiemacalpine on May 14, 2009

There are lots of lovely websites for young children that you explore in a class setting. But what if you want your children to navigate the site independently? Most website rely on some language prompts such as instructions or labelled buttons or menus to guide navigation.

Poisson Rouge is different. This flash based site opens with a colourful playroom. Click on the toy you’d like to play with, then explore! Sometimes you need to hover, sometimes click and drag. It’s a wonderful opportunity for children to work in small independent groups to solve problems. So fire up your board, stand back, and let your children investigate!


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Making interactive 3D prisms in ActivInspire

Posted by rosiemacalpine on April 13, 2009


This idea was suggested by some maths teachers at a local high school. I was intrigued by the connectors (lines which ‘glue’ shapes together) in ActivInspire, but hadn’t quite worked out what to do with them! I think this was a really clever and useful idea.

Click the video below to see how you can use the shapes. Remember that a personal edition of ActivInspire can be downloaded from Promethean Planet and can be used by any teacher, regardless of the type of board you use.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

If you want to see an ActivInspire flipchart with these shapes, click on the link below to download the flipchart. You will need to install the ActivInspire software (if you haven’t already done so) before you can view the flipchart.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Great websites for exploring 3D shapes

Posted by rosiemacalpine on February 20, 2009

Technorati Tags: ,

Recently I posted on Google Sketchup, and how this program could be used to explore the properties of 3D shapes with primary or secondary students. Today’s post focuses on websites that work well on an IWB and provide an introduction to 3D shapes for primary students. They are listed in order of difficulty for students, starting with easy.

1. Buried 3D shapes

This one has been around for a while but is still extremely popular. It features half buried or obscured shapes which need to be matched with their name. By clicking on the name, students can also listen to the correct pronunciation of the word. And the images used are unusual and intriguing – a nice change from the usual primary colour scheme.


2. 3D shapes

This flash resource from Birmingham Learning Grid is the best one I’ve seen for the concept. It starts with an comparison of 1, 2 and 3D (which increased my understanding of the concept too!) and then provides 11 different 3D shapes that you can take a closer look at – not just the usual 4 or 5 shapes. When you click on each shape, you get a written description of the shape, the net and a 3D model that you can rotate to view.

image image

3. Mathsnet interactive geometry

There’s two activities on this site that I find particularly useful with teaching 3D shapes. Both of the them look at different ways of viewing 3D models (particularly those constructed from cubes). In both activities, you can grab the pen shape with your finger or pen, and rotate it until it matches the silhouette view shown on the right hand side. The website itself is not very clear to use, but these activities are very good.



Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Recording your work on the IWB with Jing

Posted by rosiemacalpine on February 11, 2009

Jing is a free piece of screen casting software. A screencast is a video which records everything you do on your computer + your voice. The embedded video below is an example of a screencast which I made showing how to make a jigsaw in Activsoftware.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

If you use Promethean Activsoftware or SMART notebook, you might have used the recording tools in the software to make your own screencasts. Jing has a similar function. The big advantage of Jing is that your screencast is automatically uploaded to the internet (at a site called and the link of the video copied on to your clipboard. You can make a screencast, paste the link into an email to students or add to the school’s portal, and students can watch your video at home.

You can also use Jing for student assessment. Students can record their work at the interactive whiteboard and narrate their activities, then upload them to the website where you can review them later (HINT: get each student to start their assessment by speaking or writing their name on the board!) This can provide really valuable feedback about their understanding of a concept. Here are five ideas of how to use recording in different subject areas:

1. Science. Draw 3 containers and label them solids, liquids and gases. Students fill the containers with dots to show the difference in distribution and how the particles can move.

image 2. SOSE (social studies, geography). Provide a page with oceans and clouds. Ask students to add arrows and pictures if necessary to show the five things that a hurricane needs.

3. Primary numeracy. Provide pictures for students to tell a number story to illustrate a concept. This can be used for addition, division, fractions, negative numbers etc.


4. Secondary maths. Students record how they can rearrange an equation or complete a maths problem, explaining their reasoning of each step (e.g. ‘when I put the five on the other side of the equals sign, it becomes a negative number’).

5. ICT / computing. Jing will record any thing that happens on your computer. Students can demonstrate how they would complete a task in any piece of software or within the OS.

This is a really valuable assessment tool. If necessary, you can watch these videos back with the student to explain any errors. You can pause the video at the right spot (‘you see where you took the five to the other side of the equation? What did you need to change there?’) These videos can be watched by anyone with an internet connection, so the web link of the video can also be sent to parents for review.

Posted in iwb | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Viewing a 3D interactive model of the human body on

Posted by rosiemacalpine on February 6, 2009


Visiblebody is a fantastic website that allows you to contrast and compare the systems of the human body.

It’s free to register and can be used on an interactive whiteboard very effectively.

As you can see from the screenshot, you are able to view any combination of systems on a human body. You can view, hide, or see a transparent view of the systems. This is a particularly useful function. Many anatomy resources only display the organ systems in isolation, but this site develops understanding of human biology by showing the relationship between different parts. You can rotate, pan, and zoom in to any part of the body. This website would be suitable for a basic look at human anatomy in lower primary, up to advanced work in upper secondary and tertiary courses.

This is one website where it’s well worth watching the tutorial video to see how it works. The functions are simple, but not intuitive. I had used it for a while before I realised that I wasn’t getting the full functionality.

Posted in iwb | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Exploring rare words on an IWB

Posted by rosiemacalpine on February 4, 2009 is an interesting dictionary website that would work really well on an IWB in a primary or secondary English class.  I came across on the Cool Websites blog post on

It has a simple but attractive interface, made up of magazine cuttings of rare or out of date words that are no longer used. Hover over a word to see it enlarged, click on the word to see a definition. (There’s a rather irritating sound of ‘ooh, pick me!’ as you hover over the words, but luckily there is a mute button at the bottom of the screen).

Here are five ideas for using it in the classroom:

1.  Choose a student to pick a word. Hover to enlarge but don’t write it down. Ask students to write down possible definitions (silly or sensible) then check the real definition.

2.  Predict the word type: noun, adjective, verb? Predict and hold a class vote before clicking on the word to reveal the answer.

3.  Choose ten words, read the definition for each one, then choose an alternative word or phrase that has a similar meaning.

4.  Use the camera tool to take a snapshot of the word and send to a flipchart, then the definition. Repeat this for about five words. Then challenge student to match the correct word to the correct definition.


5.  Each definition features a sample sentence. Ask students to write another sample sentence featuring the word. 

The language used in the sample sentences are provided on the site make it better suited to an upper primary or secondary students. 

Posted in iwb | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Picture books on the IWB (Part 1 of 2)

Posted by rosiemacalpine on January 13, 2009

One of my favourite things to do with a junior primary class and our IWB was to read books on the whiteboard. There are two main ways of doing this:

1. Finding online books.

2. Scanning an existing book and turning it into a flipchart

Today’s post will focus on online books. Here are some good sites I’ve found.

1. Big Universe

This site contains a mix of teachers/ class-made books, and professional books. It’s also got a nifty book creator, so your class can have a go at creating your own and share it on the site.


2. Storyline Online

The books on this site are well known children’s books read by members of the Screen Actors Guild. It gets an extra thumbs up from me for featuring Sophie’s Masterpiece which is a former favourite of my class. The site features streaming video of the actors reading the texts. The pictures in the book are shown and you also have the option of captions.


3. BBC Cbeebies Stories

There’s a great collection of online books here, with clear interesting pictures and some animation. This is the site that I used most with my Year 2 class.


4. International Children’s Digital Library

I only found this site yesterday, and I think it’s an absolute treasure. It has a huge number of books in many different languages. Audio isn’t included, but the text and images are clear, the pages can be enlarged and it has a simple filter function which lets you look for books by age group, length of book, and genre. This link takes you to all the books in English.


5. Lookybook

Lookybook has hundreds of well-known, high quality pictures books. It’s free to register and you can create your own bookshelves with your favourites. The site is designed to attract you to buy the book after having a preview. So the image quality isn’t the best, and the text can be hard to read. Books with minimal text and large pictures work best, so it may be more useful for kindy/ pre-primary teachers.


The next post will explain how you can scan your favourite book to view it on the IWB.

Posted in iwb | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »