Interactive Whiteboards in Australia

News, ideas and discussion about interactive whiteboards in education

Posts Tagged ‘secondary’

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.


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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Visuwords online graphical dictionary and thesaurus

Posted by rosiemacalpine on December 7, 2008

For a dictionary with a difference, have a look at Visuwords.

Type a word into the search bar and a beautiful web of movable, colourful words will appear. Here’s a  screenshot of a portion of the results for “milk”.


The words bob and sway gently. You can zoom in, drag the screen around to view different parts, grab the words or hover over them with your pen/ mouse to see a pop-up definition.

I love the idea of using this to introduce or explore a topic, to find out about new words, imporve grammatical understanding and discover links between different subjects. It also has some encyclopedia type functions – typing in Perth produced some information about our beautiful state capital (but no results for Perth, Scotland).

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