To Be Presented in the 11th Asian Technology Conference in Mathematics
December 12-16, 2006, Hong Kong SAR, China

The Interactive Whiteboard in the Mathematics Classroom

Desmond Fearnley-Sander
University of Tasmania


There is already a well-established place in the mathematics classroom for a wide variety of generic mathematical software which can be used either in the laboratory or in the classroom with the help of a data projector. When the computer screen is projected onto an Interactive Whiteboard (IWB), there is a significant enhancement to the functionality of the software. Some software has been designed specifically for the interactive environment, some has recently been enhanced to use with an IWB and some is accidentally interactive. This demonstration illustrates some of the approaches we are using with IWBs in the teaching of high school mathematics at an international school in Singapore.

Many teachers who are using the IWB for the first time think that they will need to learn a lot of new techniques and new software. However, much of the mathematics software we are already using has interactivity built in. We have found that they are discovering how the software they know how to use can be used more effectively with the IWB, without the expected steep learning curve. Examples that will be explored include the full range from graphing, geometry, statistics and algebra. In these examples it can be seen how the direct manipulation of data, geometrical objects, function curves, etc. in the virtual environment of the IWB creates possibilities for demonstrating and improving the understanding of a range of mathematical concepts at different levels in the high school mathematics syllabus. A distinction is made between static presentations, best suited to a more traditional data projector and screen and presentations that are interactive or dynamic, which are suitable for use with an IWB. In some cases the IWBs native software will also provide additional opportunities to enhance both interactive and non-interactive presentations.

In my opinion the IWB will have a far-reaching influence on mathematical pedagogy to develop concepts and improve understanding.

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