Getting more from Windows 7 and your Interactive Whiteboard: Gadgets, Widgets and Snipping… #ukedchat #edtech

This half term our school have had new Promethean interactive whiteboards and a priority within the ICT team has been to improve whiteboard use. As I always say, training and sharing is the best way to improve staff skills. So this is the route we are taking.

Here a few ideas, tips and tricks that are easy ideas for whiteboard use. All of them are free, most of them are already installed on your Windows 7 machine!


Move your taskbar to the top of your screen. This means the children are less like to access any of your icons, minimised windows or programs in the start menu as they are too short to reach them!

You can drag and drop your most used programs on to the taskbar similiar to the dock on an iPad. It’s great for easy access and not having to search through the menus which sometimes plague Windows! I have the Snipping tool pinned to my taskbar, I’ll talk about that tool later. It’s always great to have it handy when we are surfing the web and want to save something we find.Make use of your desktop…


I have started made use of the personalisation settings in Windows so that my backdrops change every 15 seconds. This gives the children a new image to look at when they are on the carpet. It’s a great talking point. You could include pictures from a story, a topic, landscapes..Set up your gadgets…
Windows has a bank of gadgets, or widgets. I find the calendar very useful, it makes a nice change to the velcro cards with the date on (and one less thing to change every morning). Simply right click on your desktop and select Gadgets. From the Gadgets window, drag and drop the ones you want to try on to your desktop. You can set them to appear over the top of any open windows if you wish.

The visual clock is a great feature.
But, I am loving the slideshow widget. You can set up a folder to save images of letters, numbers, shapes, addition sums etc… and have them play in a small slideshow window on your desktop. It’s a great little gadget to have running all day when children are waiting on the carpet, it keeps flashing up the letters, sounds, numbers, addition or subtraction problems, key words etc…


Windows 7 Features… The Snipping Tool
I also love the Snipping tool. That’s how I’ve captured many of the images I put on to the slideshow app. The snipping tool allows you to cut and save sections of your screen.
Here’s some screenshots of how to snip. It’s really simple!

(Sorry, I took screen caps of the ‘oo’ and then snipped the ‘ar’ for the last screenshot!)

And finally the Windows Touch Pack…
If your Interactive Whiteboard is touch screen, this acts like a tablet version of your PC
. Windows 7 thinks that your PC is a tablet and so you can download and use the Windows Touch Pack for Windows 7. This includes Bing 3D touch, swipe and zoon globe and Microsoft Surface Collage.
With my letters and sounds images, which I use on the Slideshow gadget, I launch the folder through Microsoft Surface Collage. This shows all of the images in the folder on a bar across the bottom of the screen and I can scroll through it and throw them up on to the ‘surface’. We can use it a little bit like a magnetic whiteboard and letters. This is also great for categorising, sorting and ordering images.
Be sure to search for the Touch Pack on Google!! You can only install and use this package if your PC is connected to a touchscreen whiteboard.

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