I love a good IKEA shop. I live for a browse around Tiger. Wandering around a Wilko makes me ridiculously happy. Why? Because they are a goldmine of fantastic teaching resources. There’s one resource, however, that I recently purchased that is my most invaluable piece of equipment: the visualiser. Read on to find out the ten reasons I think this is the best resource.
1. Modelling Handwriting
I despair every time I try to model handwriting on the interactive whiteboard. I don’t know if it’s the vertical surface or the fact that I’m a cack-handed, left-handed individual, but my letter formation is very questionable when writing on the board – to the point where my children (quite rightly) call me out on it. With a visualiser, I can model handwriting with a book resting on the desk. This allows my handwriting to be far more presentable. Furthermore, I can zoom in on the page to make any joins or formations really clear.
2. Editing Writing
A visualiser helps to alleviate any worries towards the messy process of editing. When modelling writing using a keyboard, it’s all too easy to just press backspace thus suggesting that editing should leave your page looking perfect. This therefore dissuades children from editing their writing to any great degree as some children don’t recognise the reality that editing should be messy. By using a visualiser, you can promote crossing out ideas, inserting new ideas and tweaking thoughts. This hopefully encourages the children to do the same in their own work. It is also a great way of sharing a piece of work in order to promote discussion as to how it can be improved.
3. Reading Books
Popping a book underneath your visualiser eliminates the need to faff around scanning any pages of the book. It also allows all children to read the text as opposed to just the teacher, who holds the book, whilst the pupils struggle and squint to decipher anything on the page. Sticky tabs can also be added to hide words or images, which can then provoke children to make predictions and justify their reasons.
4. Science Experiments
Science experiments that are demonstrated at the front of the class are rarely visually accessible for all students. Even if they all crowd around, the activity may not be clear and therefore the children cannot gain any scientific understanding from the demonstration. Instead, sharing the experiment on the interactive whiteboard allows all children to view easily. It is also possible to annotate different pieces of equipment or processes during the experiment on the whiteboard. Furthermore, zooming in on the experiment can allow for close, detailed analysis and observations that aren’t possible when children all gather around one desk and fight for a good view.
5. Maths Demonstrations
Although there are some fantastic interactive measurement activities on Smart Notebook, such as manipulable protractors and rulers, demonstrations using these resources will never be 100% effective as the children cannot see you modelling the approach with your own hands – a skill that is incredibly important for measure in particular. Instead, using a visualiser allows the children to see how you manoeuvre your hands to achieve the correct measurement.
6. Sharing a WAGOLL (What A Good One Looks Like)
I used to take photos of impressive work on my class camera, retrieve the cable from one of the parallel classes (I never acquired a cable myself), plug the camera into the computer and then call the class together to share a great example of the current learning objective. With a visualiser, I just have to open up the visualiser app and pop the work underneath the lens to share work with the children therefore saving a great deal of time and effort. Additionally, myself or any student can then edit the work at hand in real-time.
7. Modelling Presentation
I love work that is well-presented. It adds an extra layer of quality to the piece, regardless of whether the child has wholly grasped the learning objective. No matter how many times you verbally explain your expectations, however, there’s always some child who will fail to listen or will completely misinterpret your instructions. By modelling the layout of the work using a visualiser, there is no excuse for any child to not at least attempt to consider their presentation more carefully. Honestly, a well-presented piece of work makes me so much more enthused to mark it!
8. Sharing Show and Tell Objects
Why yes, that is a lovely rock you’ve collected from the playground. But no, there’s not much point you doing a ‘Show and Tell’ about it, because I can already predict that you’ll clutch it so tightly in your hand that the ensuing few minutes might as well just be called a ‘Tell.’ Let’s be honest: at the end of a long day at school, no child wants to be lectured by a peer who stands at the front of the class assuming each and every child is enthralled by their mumbling explanation. (I’m well aware that no child wants me to do that either!) They want to be able to see the object that is being discussed. They want to see it being manipulated. They want to link the words that the ‘Show-er and Tell-er’ is producing with something tangible and visually stimulating. Therefore, the visualiser makes Show and Tell much more engaging.
9. Recording Reminder Videos
I can use the visualiser to record a modelled demonstration of a particular skill. This can be done prior to the lesson or during the modelling section of the lesson. Then, if I am working with a particular group of children, pupils who get stuck can independently re-watch the video to remind themselves of the steps to success. I’m hoping for my children to have more regular access to iPads to allow them to scan QR codes around the room to watch videos to help with their learning. That would certainly have engaged me if I were a pupil and it’s a great piece of cross-curricular learning in regards to coding too.
10. Pulling Funny Faces To The Class
The first day I used the visualiser, one of my pupils begged to pull funny faces at the lens to share with the class. I refused during the lesson time, explaining that it wasn’t important to our learning. However, a group of children had a great time playing with the visualiser at break-time -(under my supervision) pulling silly faces and exploring their nostrils with the lens. The cackles of joy they produced were fantastic and if this were the only benefit to having a visualiser, I’d still be pleased to have bought it.
The visualiser truly is my one resource to rule them all. I bought a ‘like new’ Hue HD Pro from Amazon for about £45 out of my own money. I understand many people don’t spend their own money on resources – I try to prevent myself from doing this as much as I can. However, I couldn’t resist because my head was spinning with all the potential benefits of this purchase!
Can you think of any other uses for this piece of equipment? Do you have a more important resource that you utilise in your classroom?