Week Five – Interactive Whiteboards

This week, the readings that we had to do were based around the interactive whiteboard being used in the classroom. Higgins, Beauchamp and Miller (2007) wrote about the literature based around the interactive whiteboards.

In this reading, I learned that interactive whiteboards (previously known as electronical or digital whiteboards) were originally used in the office setting for presentations. This new tool was soon seen as a potential for new technology in the classroom. The benefits for using an interactive whiteboard are: 

  • Whole-class teaching: The interactive whiteboard would make it easier to demonstrate complex ideas with activities.
  • Visually appealing: This would be a great motivational tool for a range of learners.
  • Multimedia resources: Pictures, sounds, videos or online websites would be easier to show to students all in one program and captivates the teacher’s and student’s attention.
  • Interactivity: This allows the students play an active role in the classroom.
Figure 1: The use of an interactive whiteboard in the classroom.
Retrieved from: http://www.interactiveteaching.com.au/images/favourite.JPG

However, there were many disadvantages that would determine whether the interactive whiteboard was a good investment in the classroom. This includes:

  • Cost: The interactive whiteboard is more expensive than the other resources or equipment.
  • Lack of knowledge or skills: Teachers have not been educated on how to use the interactive whiteboard software. Thus, if they have an interactive whiteboard in the classroom it would be useless if they didn’t know how to use it.
  • Placement: The board must be placed so that both students and teachers can access it. Lighting and seating arrangements need to be considered too.

With interactive whiteboards, the most exciting thing would be the element of interactivity. It is the key to learn and helps generate interest among the students. Although, with interactivity, it is only through effective questioning and a wide range of activity. It is proven that interactive whiteboards integrated more whole-class teaching, less group work, more open questions, answers from the pupils and evaluation by the teacher, faster paced lessons and increased frequency of answering. However, according to the conclusion of the project that was conducted:

An IWB may be technically interactive, but may lead to less interactive and more didactic teachings (Smith et al., 2006). Conversely, less interactive use of the technology may increase interaction between the teacher and pupils or between pupils.

Towards the end of the reading, the authors mention that although projects and tests have been conducted to see the effectiveness of the interactive whiteboard, the final statement is that it can change the way that topics get learnt, but it doesn’t change that there is no significant change in achievement.

Upon further reading, I found a few other articles like “Primary school students’ perceptions of interactive whiteboards” (Hall & Higgins, 2005) which noted down what the students thought about the interactive whiteboard and found great about the board, along with a few problems they had. A teacher’s view in “Teaching and learning with an interactive whiteboard: a teacher’s journey” (Hodge & Anderson, 2007) gave what problems or joys that they had with the interactive whiteboard through a period of time.

Overall, I would say that I would use the interactive whiteboard sometimes (if provided in the classroom). I wouldn’t use it all the time as it has proven to give the same results as didactic teachings. I would use it to get the students’ attention and motivate them with activities (mainly for introductory or conclusive lessons). It would give lessons a dynamic energy that would not occur all the time.

References:

Hall, I. & Higgins, S. (2005). Primary school students’ perceptions of interactive whiteboards. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 21 (2), 102-117.

Higgins, S., Beauchamp, G. & Miller, D. (2007). Reviewing the literature on interactive whiteboards. Learning, Media and Technology, 32(3), 213-225.

Hodge, S., & Anderson, B. (2007). Teaching and learning with an interactive whiteboard: a teacher’s journey. Learning, Media & Technology32(3), 271-282.

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