HOW INTERACTIVE IS THE INTERACTIVE WHITEBOARD?

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					    © ATM 2009 • No reproduction (including Internet) except for legitimate academic purposes • copyright@atm.org.uk for permissions.




HOW INTERACTIVE IS
THE INTERACTIVE
WHITEBOARD?
Valerie Quashie takes a look at the use of the interactive
whiteboard in her department.

Background                                                   •   The IWB aids classroom management
Since the interactive whiteboard (IWB) was intro-                See Pratt (2006), Richardson (2002), Knight et
duced in my school – an all-girls secondary – in             al (2005) and Smith et al (2005)
2004, I felt that it was important to evaluate its use
within the mathematics department. The IWB has               Methodology
undoubtedly had an impact on the way mathe-                  This small scale study concentrated on how interac-
matics is taught and learnt today and I wanted to            tive is the IWB, based on observation, the opinions
evaluate how interactive this piece of technology            of four mathematics teachers, Year 8, and Year 10
really is.                                                   students. I observed four teachers over six different
                                                             lessons and interviewed two pairs of students as
Literature                                                   well as the teacher. As Enfield County is on a split
In order to fully research this piece of technology it       site, I decided to focus on students from the lower
is important to establish what the IWB is. Use of            school and upper school to see if there were differ-
interactive whiteboards in mathematics produced              ences in opinion.
by the DfEE explains what the IWB is. They write                  Three lower school and three upper school
‘an interactive whiteboard is simply a surface onto          lessons were observed using the criteria for interac-
which a computer screen can be displayed, via a              tivity. In addition to observing these classes I felt it
projector. It is touch-sensitive and lets you use a          necessary to obtain views from the mathematics
pen like a mouse, controlling the computer from              teachers as well as a selection of students who had
the board itself ’. Its capabilities are also mentioned,     been observed.
which include ‘everything that can be displayed on                The lessons observed were an hour and ten
a computer can be displayed onto the whiteboard              minutes long and took place in the summer term
and, if the computer is linked to speakers and a             of 2008.
DVD or video player, multimedia resources can be             Observations
incorporated too’. (DfEE, 2004).                             I decided to observe four mathematics teachers
    According to the booklet, ‘an interactive white-         (two male and two female) teaching six lessons.
board is a valuable tool for whole-class teaching. It        The teachers chosen to take part in this study all
is an outstanding visual resource that can help              have at least two years teaching experience. Three
teachers to present lessons in lively and engaging           Year 8 classes and three Year 10 classes were
ways’ (DfEE, 2004). When researching this area,              watched. I looked at four higher groups and two
the literature raised a number of claims with                foundation groups. Many studies in the literature
regards to the IWB. These were                               make reference to the ages and the abilities of the
• The IWB improves interactivity                             students, which is why I decided to interview and
• The IWB motivates students                                 observe students studying the higher and founda-
• The IWB supports learning in mathematics                   tion courses.



MATHEMATICS TEACHING 214 / MAY 2009                                                                                                     33
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                    Types of interaction                                         the lesson, which allowed them to articulate their
                    I had criteria for interactivity and an interactive          views and to listen to one another.
                    lesson which I used in order to comment consis-                   Type 2 interaction was only apparent in two out
                    tently on the lessons observed. I wrote guidelines           of the six lessons. Two teachers allowed their students
                    as to what I would be looking for in an interactive          to write on the IWB with the pens. In both cases
                    lesson. The criteria were as follows:                        only a few students were able to come up to the
                    Type 1: Students have the opportunity to discuss             IWB, but in my opinion, many more students were
                    their thoughts with the teacher and with one                 interacting with the technology. Also, in both
                    another.                                                     lessons, a student who went up to the IWB made
                        In this type of interaction I was looking for            an error. Several other members of the class
                        incidents where students are given the opportu-          noticed the mistake. They then told the first student
                        
				
DOCUMENT INFO
Description: According to the booklet, 'an interactive whiteboard is a valuable tool for whole-class teaching. Three lower school and three upper school lessons were observed using the criteria for interactivity In addition to observing these classes I felt it necessary to obtain views from the mathematics teachers as well as a selection of students who had been observed. Many studies in the literature make reference to the ages and the abilities of the students, which is why I decided to interview and observe students studying the higher and foundation courses.
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