Over the years, the interactive whiteboard has become an integral part of classrooms. Still, its usefulness often gets overlooked, resulting in the technology not being utilised to its full capacity.
We’ve compiled this guide to help you and your class get the most out of your classroom technology. Here, we highlight how you can use your interactive whiteboard more effectively to cater to the individual learning styles in your class and ensure the learning process is accessible to all students.
Discover how teachers and educators can use interactive whiteboards to meet the needs of individual learners. But first, let’s remind ourselves of the different learning styles in the VARK model and what they mean in practice.
A recap on learning styles in the classroom
The VARK model, theorised by Neil Fleming, identified that everyone learns in one of four ways or styles. These learners are:
- Visual learning style – People in this category prefer to learn by using visual aids, like diagrams, charts and graphs.
- Auditory learning style – These learners will retain information better through talking and listening exercises, like group discussions.
- Reading/writing learning style – a reading/writing learner prefers to read information and take notes.
- Kinaesthetic learning style – These people are hands-on learners and will benefit from experiential activities and moving around.
Why is it important to cater to different learning styles when teaching?
The crux of Fleming’s theory is that everyone learns differently, so it’s crucial to ensure lesson plans remain tailored to each learning style. Doing this can create an inclusive learning environment that increases student engagement and benefits student outcomes.
Additionally, you should cater to each learning style in the VARK model for these reasons:
1. It aids student engagement
When a lesson is exciting, and tasks align with students’ preferred learning styles, they are more likely to engage with the course material. Traditional teaching methods, i.e. reading from textbooks or presenting a slideshow, can make it hard for students who don’t have a reading/writing learning style.
By comparison, if your lesson plans have tasks tailored for all four learning styles, students are more likely to participate and take a positive attitude toward learning because course material is presented to them in an accessible way.
2. It builds confidence
Changing your teaching process to suit all learning styles helps students to understand and apply concepts and theories. If students feel like they ‘get’ a subject matter, it can boost their confidence and instill belief in their abilities.
3. It prepares students for life after school
As students prepare to leave school and start their careers, they will encounter information presented in different formats. Exposing them to different learning styles will prepare students to adapt to different situations and contexts.
Helping students find their learning style can foster a positive attitude to learning, meaning students leave school with a passion for self-improvement and development.
4. It makes your lessons more interesting
Diversifying how you deliver lessons benefits student learning as it freshens the learning experience. Varying how you provide information can increase student engagement and make it easier for pupils to retain information.
How to craft lessons that cater to all learning styles
Planning tasks and games that appeal to and engage each style may not be possible in every lesson. However, you can create inclusive and engaging lessons by employing different teaching methods and techniques.
To appeal to each learning style, try these methods:
1. Integrate multimedia
Maximising the use of your interactive whiteboard will help to engage with the individual learning styles in your class. For example, incorporating different elements into your lessons, like pictures, diagrams and videos, will help you to engage visual learners.
You can use music, podcasts or recorded lectures to appeal to auditory learners. Meanwhile, kinaesthetic learners will benefit from hands-on experiences like playing classroom games on an interactive display.
2. Organise interactive activities
Instead of organising more formal testing, you can use digital tools, like online quizzes and polls, to ascertain how well your classes understand topics and themes. Additionally, you can encourage group debates and collaborative assignments to promote social learning.
3. Personalise learning and assessment experiences
Giving pupils the choice of how they approach assignments and explore topics allows them to learn more freely. Similarly, offering different assessment methods, like allowing pupils to deliver oral presentations instead of writing essays, lets them demonstrate their understanding of topics in ways that align with their learning styles.
4. Gamify tasks
Incorporating game elements adds fun and competitiveness, motivating students to participate in quizzes and games actively.
How do interactive whiteboards meet individual learner needs?
Educational technology, specifically interactive whiteboards, can help you simultaneously appeal to each learning style. Here, we explore how an interactive whiteboard can benefit each child’s learning styles.
How do interactive whiteboards benefit visual learners?
Interactive whiteboards are a convenient way of appealing to visual learners. Visual aids like diagrams, presentations, charts and images look impressive on these large screens and help visual learners understand concepts and theories.
With their dynamic, interactive displays, interactive boards effectively engage visual learners and can help them understand and retain information better.
How do interactive whiteboards benefit auditory learners?
As the focal point of the classroom, your interactive whiteboard is positioned perfectly to aid teaching and learning. One way you can do this is by integrating lectures, podcasts and even sound effects into lessons. These formats help split up long monologues and allow auditory learners to do outside research.
Utilising the features on an interactive whiteboard enables auditory learners to access new content and concepts and listen to various voices – making lessons more dynamic and engaging.
How do interactive whiteboards benefit reading and writing learners?
As well as helping to engage visual learners, the large screen of an interactive whiteboard is perfect for displaying text-based content that benefits reading and writing learners.
The various software available on interactive whiteboards makes group exercises easy, too. You can annotate text and summarise notes with the whole class instead of in smaller groups.
The versatility of an interactive display helps you accommodate all learners’ needs, including those with a reading and writing style. Tasks traditionally undertaken individually, like note-taking, can become collaborative efforts, making lessons more effective, especially for those with a reading and writing learning style.
How do interactive whiteboards benefit kinaesthetic learners?
Interactive whiteboards offer kinaesthetic learners the chance to be hands-on and engage physically with tasks and learning materials. The displays do this by enabling students to touch, move and manipulate objects on the screen, providing a tactile experience that enhances kinaesthetic learners’ experiences.
Further to this, group activities, like problem-solving exercises and class games, are an excellent use for whiteboards
Promethean interactive displays
Regardless of your class’s age, appealing to each learning style outlined in Fleming’s VARK theory will increase student engagement and help your students learn more.
In addition, lesson planning becomes more straightforward and creative as you tailor tasks to
suit your class’ learning styles.
More creative lessons and increased engagement ensure positive results for your students, who will retain more information, and for you, as you feel more fulfilled by the classes you plan.
If you’re not using an interactive whiteboard, isn’t it time you started? Discover the Promethean ActivPanel 9, our easy-to-use, secure, and adaptable interactive whiteboard. Whether you want to record lessons for remote students or create incredible presentations that cater to all learning styles, you can do it all on ActivPanel 9.
For a more budget-friendly option, check out the ActivPanel LX.
Looking for more tips on boosting engagement and appealing to the four learning styles?
Our blog is brimming with content to help you develop your teaching strategies in line with the most up-to-date research into education. Explore Ultimate Guide to Learning Styles in the Classroom for a complete overview of the importance of identifying learning students’ learning styles.