The Digital Classroom: Using Interactive Whiteboards with the CyArk website

Exploring Rapa Nui in 3-D with an Interactive Whiteboard Lesson Plan

by Nicole Medina
August 21, 2009
The long, lazy days of summer are slowly winding down...which means that the start of the 2009—2010 school year is just around the corner! The start of a new school year brings fresh opportunities for teachers to incorporate technology in the classroom. This year, some teachers may find themselves with access to a relatively new education tool: the interactive whiteboard.

Across the nation, an increasing number of schools are adopting interactive whiteboards for classroom use. Interactive whiteboards can be used by educators to replace the traditional chalkboard with a digital, interactive instructional tool. Interactive whiteboards, often referred to as IWBs, allow educators to show anything that can be presented on a computer desktop and also provide a technology platform to enable a number of interactive features. An IWB can be used by classroom teachers to rapidly develop multimedia presentations, games, classroom polls, interactive simulations and classroom activities. The touch-sensitive surface of an IWB allows students to manipulate materials, encouraging active and engaged learning. The multimedia capabilities of IWBs also provide an opportunity for teachers to cater students with different learning styles, including visual learners, auditory learners and kinesthetic learners.

Some of the more widely adopted interactive whiteboard brands are SMARTboard, Promethean, e-Beam, and mimio. In addition to these commercial brands, a number of educators with a do-it-yourself ethic have developed inexpensive, homemade interactive whiteboards. These whiteboards can be made fairly easily and inexpensively using a Nintendo Wii remote. A tutorial for creating a Wii based interactive whiteboard can be found here.

As an increasing number of teachers integrate interactive whiteboards into their classroom, so increases the need for digital resources and interactive materials. CyArk has developed a number of lesson plans and activities that compliment the interactive nature of of an IWB. Covering and wide range of subjects and addressing many California State Education Standards, a full list of CyArk lesson plans can be downloaded here.

With an interactive whiteboard and the CyArk website, a class can journey to a number of ancient sites, such as the far-flung island of Rapa Nui, famous for the giant stone Moai. Teachers can begin the class with an slide show or video introduction to the island of Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island. For teachers who are interested in creating their own Power Point or IWB Flip Chart, the CyArk website has detailed and extensively researched information on Rapa Nui. The Gallery contains photographs and videos that can be used for a slide show for a class introduction to the site. On the introduction page, a short documentary video produced by CyArk provides a great introduction to both Rapa Nui and the laser scanning process at the island.

Rapa Nui's stone monoliths were once a mystery-just how did the builders hoist the enormous and heavy stones into the upright position? Using CyArk's 3-D viewer and measuring tools, students can conduct their own investigation and discover the height of the Moai. Ask the class to estimate the height of the Rapa Nui Moai. Teachers with a learner response system can quickly use their IWB to create a classroom poll and have students buzz in their predictions.

To begin the investigation on the Moai height, teachers can use the CyArk 3-D viewer. The CyArk 3-D viewer compliments interactive whiteboards by allowing students to use their hands or the IWB pens/tools to gain an tactile, immersive experience by virtually manipulating the Moai. On the Rapa Nui project page, click the "3-D Content" icon and then click the thumbnail of a Moai to launch the CyArk 3-D viewer. In order the view the 3-D content, your computer should have Java and a high speed Internet connection. Once inside the 3-D viewer, students can use the IWB pen tools or their hands to rotate the Moai and view the monoliths at any angle.

To measure the height of a Moai in the 3-D viewer, select the ruler icon at the top of the tool bar. First, select a point at the base of the Moai. This is your starting measurement point. Next, select a point at the top of the Moai head. The length of the distance between the two selected points will appear on the screen. Using the ruler tools, you can also measure the width of the statue, or measure the size of a Moai's nose! The 3-D viewer allows for any measurement to be made on the object. With an IWB, the CyArk 3-D viewer measuring tools encourage kinestethic learners to engage with the materials. With the ruler tools in the hands of students and an IWB, measuring the height of the famous Moai heads can feel more realistic.

Once the Moai heads have been measured, an interactive whiteboard can be used to encourage a classroom discussion about why the builders might have created the Moai. Ask students to think of reasons why a culture would want to spend so much time, energy and resources in constructing these monuments. Students can also suggest their reasons they would have for building a monument and what that monument would look like. Using the the IWB drawing tools, students can use the board to draw their version of a Moai head for the class. For teachers who want to incorporate math and science extensions, a lesson on levers can be integrated into the discussion about the construction techniques at Rapa Nui.

CyArk would like to encourage all educators to browse the CyArk website for resources, as there are many more opportunities for teachers to use an interactive whiteboard. For teacher without an IWB, all of the lesson plans on the CyArk website can be used with a computer and projector set up or in a computer lab setting. Teachers without computer and high speed Internet access the classroom can also browse the website for well-researched information on variety of sites and explore the teacher lesson plans-many of which can be completed without classroom access to a computer! Check out CyArk Education throughout the school year, as new lesson plans and activities will be added.

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Interactive whiteboards can be used to engage students of different learning types. Photo credit: Jorgen Schyberg
<a href="">Rapa Nui</a>, also know as Easter Island, is famous for enormous stone Moai. A lesson plan on Easter Island can be used to teach history, geography, math and science with an interactive whiteboard.
Using an interactive whiteboard and the <a href="">CyArk 3-D viewer</a>, students can investigate and measure the size of Moai from Rapa Nui.
Related Projects:
Rapa Nui