Whether you are presenting a new topic to children in a primary school or adults in a conference room, the introduction will set the tone for the rest of the session. Facilitators often make the mistake of doing something dramatic such as telling an exciting story to gain interest. Recent studies, however, show that the Reticular Activating System in the brain makes a decision about whether or not to focus on information being presented. In order to engage this part of the brain, you must stimulate curiosity and encourage your audience to make predictions. Here are four simple smart board activities which will capture your participants and sustain their attention.
A word cloud generator produces an electronic mind map. It presents words in a visual pattern which highlights the most commonly input words and makes less common words smaller.
Provide a broad topic such as "Ancient Rome" or "Smart Boards". In pairs or groups, ask your participants or students to write down the ten ideas they think that most people associate with this topic. Input these words into the generator and the cloud will instantly be created. Enlist reactions and use the interactive qualities of your board to drag words mentioned out of the cloud onto another part of the screen.
Create curiosity by using a visual puzzle that encourages your participants to guess the topic. At a basic level, you can use the Screen Shade tool. The erase to reveal effect is another easy way to conduct this activity.
Choose a picture which represents your topic. Invite participants to come to the smart board and reveal one small section. Elicit responses each time a new section is shown. Further excitement can be generated by activating the bomb timer tool for participants to beat.
Predicting the missing dialogue in a cartoon can stimulate participants as they try to guess the words and wonder how it relates to your topic. For children, this is a great opportunity to use some of the fancy font tools when they write their dialogue on the smart board.
Place a topic-related cartoon on the smart board with the dialogue or caption omitted. In groups, ask participants to predict the missing words. Invite one member from each group to write the dialogue onto the smart board image. Save each effort if you wish to identify which group had the best prediction when you finally reveal the original text.
A timeline can encourage participants to focus on a topic and inspire them to find out more about particular events. If you wish to enhance the interactive timeline software, you can add animated images and sound effects which are activated when a participant chooses a right or wrong answer.
Timeline software allows you to place an interesting list of events on one side of the white board in non-chronological order. On the other side, there will be a list of dates. In pairs or groups, ask participants to match dates and events. Nominate one member from each group to drag an event over to the dates on the smart board. Most software will cause the event to fly back to its original spot if the answer is wrong. Discuss any answers which participants found surprising.
Never let your participants be distracted by toys, phones or laptops again. Use your smart board to conduct these simple prediction activities and your audience will be riveted for the rest of your session. For more information, contact a company such as Vista Visuals Australia Pty Ltd.