Interactivity means more activity for students

Sep 04, 2008

The British government has invested more money in Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs) in its schools than any other government in the world. But is this huge investment worth it? Have the new data projection technologies allowed students to learn more effectively? This is the subject of recent research, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

'These IWBs have had a meteoric rise in popularity in schools,' says Sara Hennessy who carried out the project with Rosemary Deaney of Cambridge University. 'But, until recently, assumptions about how they have transformed teaching were not based on hard evidence.'

The system consists of a computer linked to a data projector and a large touch-sensitive board, which displays images, graphics, animations and videos. You can write captions directly onto the board and instantly convert your handwriting to type. You can create suspense by hiding and revealing text and graphics.

They can also be used with a special camera so that pupils can develop their own written ideas and images, and then share them with the class by projecting their work onto the IWB.

'We explored how teachers might use projection technology to give space, time and status to pupils' contributions to lessons. We wanted to look at the ways in which it could be used to challenge and develop pupils' thinking,' Dr Hennessy says. The research also discusses the dangers of technology-driven teaching and warns that time constraints can lead to superficial use of the technology.

In the study, English, history, mathematics and science teachers used interactive whiteboards and data projectors in various ways.

A unique strength of IWB technology is that it allows teachers and students to revisit previous sessions of saved activity, which helps to reignite and build on earlier learning. The researchers also found that using IWBs can:

The project has provoked interest from academics, trainees and teacher educators. A series of 5 interactive CD-ROMs have been developed for teachers. These are designed to stimulate debate around key issues rather than offering models of 'best practice' and they are already proving influential in teacher education. The researchers are confident that the project will be welcomed by policymakers seeking a return on investment.

'We have shown that in the right hands the IWB can be a motivating and immensely powerful tool,' says Dr Hennessy. 'It allows teachers and pupils to build and test complex ideas together, and supports active learning in new ways.'

Source: Economic & Social Research Council

Explore further: Best of Last Week – Evidence of quark-gluon interactions, new portable device hack and why we may never live forever

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Mobile use bad for school test scores: Japan study

2 hours ago

Children who spend more than four hours a day on their mobile phone perform significantly worse on school tests than those who are limited to just 30 minutes, a Japanese government survey has found.

Amazon could be ESPN of video games in Twitch deal

2 hours ago

Amazon is hoping to become the ESPN of video games. The e-commerce giant is buying streaming platform Twitch Interactive for $970 million in cash as it seeks to take part in video gaming's growth as an onlin ...

A look at earthquake's impact on California region

12 hours ago

A strong earthquake rattled a swath of Northern California's wine country in the early hours of Sunday morning, unleashing most of its damage on the city of Napa in the heart of the vineyard-studded region.

Recommended for you

Precarious work schedules common among younger workers

2 hours ago

One wish many workers may have this Labor Day is for more control and predictability of their work schedules. A new report finds that unpredictability is widespread in many workers' schedules—one reason ...

How does your wine make you feel?

3 hours ago

University of Adelaide researchers are investigating the links between wine, where it's consumed and emotion to help the Australian wine industry gain deeper consumer insights into their products.

User comments : 0