Interactive whiteboards in library instruction: Facilitating student engagement and active learning

Maureen Richards, Marta Bladek, Karen Okamoto


Determined to keep up with the ever-changing instructional trends, academic libraries have been quick to adopt emerging teaching and learning technologies. Recent literature features many examples of technologies that have found a place in libraries’ instructional programs: learning management systems, clickers, online tutorials, reference chats, and mobile devices, to mention the most popular ones. Curiously enough, despite their popularity in business and K-12 contexts, interactive whiteboards (IWBs) are rarely discussed in the context of academic libraries’ efforts to embrace innovative teaching methods. Offering a rationale for the implementation of IWBs at the Lloyd Sealy Library, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and describing new instructional strategies the addition of IWBs has fostered, this article addresses this omission. Present-day IWBs have evolved to include features that accommodate a variety of teaching strategies, including those appropriate for distance learners, and thus encourage student engagement and participation. This case study shows how IWBs meet the versatile needs of library instruction, at the same time as they offer librarians an opportunity to reshape and improve the ways and formats in which they teach research skills. By providing sample lesson plans and activities developed to incorporate the interactive features of IWBs, this article illustrates the versatility of this underutilized technology. To further encourage academic librarians to consider working with IWBs, we argue that incorporating IWBs, and thus active learning strategies, into classes and workshops has allowed our library to meet new institutional priorities that emphasize effective teaching and student engagement.


bibliographic instruction, interactive whiteboards, academic libraries, learning technologies

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