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From chalkboards to overhead projectors and whiteboards to smartboards, educators have looked for clever and effective ways to engage their students in learning.

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At the Ara Institute of Canterbury Woolston trades campus, a new era has arrived in the form of the LightBoard.

This simple but inspired technology allows the presenter to stand behind a clear pane of glass facing the students and to then project material onto the glass board and write notes as well. The cleverest part is that the notes appear to the students as a mirrored image (writing on an ordinary pane of glass would appear the wrong way around to the class).

Lessons can also be captured as videos, which become valuable student resources. Perfect for quick-fire mini-lessons, calculations and flipped learning modules, tutors can post these lessons quickly and efficiently onto Moodle, Panopto or YouTube for easy student reference.

“One of the biggest benefits of the LightBoard is that tutors are able to explain concepts to students while drawing or annotating on an image without turning their back to the students or blocking the board with their body,” Ara Educational Developer Drayton Brenssell says. “The other is the ease with which tutors can make attractive and effective videos to bring their teaching to life.”

The LightBoard was first created by Professor Michael Peshkin from Northwestern University. LightBoards are now used internationally, with instructional videos that demonstrate how to create a LightBoard proving popular on YouTube.

The LightBoard at Ara has been created and adapted through collaboration between five different areas of the institute, including Trades (construction), Engineering and Architecture (3D printing and CAD), New Zealand Broadcasting School (A/V design, intellectual knowledge and automation programming), ICT (IT support, acquisition and programming), and Learning Design (project management, capability & resources, teaching and learning). The final product has resulted in a fully automated product that allows tutors to walk in and record their videos and with little to no in-house support.

An early champion at the trades campus is Mark Kingston who is using the LightBoard to teach electrical engineering. Kingston posts mini-lessons on YouTube for students to access and review in their own time.

Interest is high around the institute and learning support is running training and support sessions for using the LightBoard over the semester with the aim to extend use of the LightBoard beyond trades training.

“It was wonderful to see the involvement of staff from different areas of the institute,” Brenssell says. “Special mention goes to Bruce Sparks from Engineering, Paul Newell from NZ Broadcasting School, Ryan Roughan and Alistair Rattray from ICT, and Grant Thompson from Trades.”

  • Source: Canterbury University