The Amazing Main Hall of the Yeditepe UniversityI was delighted to be invited to speak at this year’s IATEFL LT & TD SIG conference in Istanbul, Turkey. I put in a proposal to discuss IWBs and the lessons I’d learnt from watching teachers get used to using them in my training sessions. When the confirmation came through in early May, I gave a whoop! I’d never been to Turkey before, but had heard loads of good reports from friends who said how friendly and welcoming people there tend to be.

What’s more, Burcu Akyol who is a conference organiser par-excellence, was co-ordinating the team which organised the whole weekend. Basically I need say little more than I can’t wait to go to Turkey or Istanbul again. I had such a great time, the conference attendees were wonderful people, the talks were really top quality and the on the last night, when I went out for dinner… the food… oh the food! It was fabulous!

Anyhow, let’s get to the point, during the talk I promised the teachers present, that I’d post up the IWB slides I used to support my talk. The slides contain useful hints and tips for teachers starting out with IWBs as well as a whole bunch of links to some really handy tools to make teachers lives easier when creating interactive activities.

My talk was very kindly sponsored by Cambridge University Press, which gave me the prefect excuse to promote their excellent Classware – IWB-Ready Materials (by the way – please don’t tell them that I probably would have mentioned them anyway!) The Classware series of IWB resources give you access to all the materials from your coursebook are included in the software, along with all the listening files embedded right there on the page. The Classware software also has a series of typical IWB tools included in it, too like the ability to annotate your pages, to mask areas of the screen and so on.

I think the key thing with ready-made IWB software like this though, is that it takes heaps of workload off of the teacher, allowing them to focus on planning their lessons and teaching their students. At the end of every IWB course I give, I always make a final point about the amount of time teachers spend preparing materials for their IWB (sometimes hours!). I point out how school management almost never expect teachers to write their coursebook before they go into the class to teach it, yet most school managers seem to expect the teachers to write all their IWB materials themselves. I always say to my trainees “Get yourself some ready-made IWB material, so that you can concentrate on making IWB lessons specific to your students’ needs. Cambridge University Press’ Classware is exactly this type of software.

Finally, I also promised those who came to the talk that I’d upload the SMART Notebook file so that they could try out some of the activities I’d discussed. I’ve uploaded the files to a Dropbox folder here: SMART Notebook Files for you to try out. You’ll also need to have SMART Notebook installed on your computer if you wish to do all the activities, but if you’d rather not install software, you can also use their excellent SMART Express software, which does almost everything their full installed version does, but keeps it all online.