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1 Interactive Whiteboards_ Productive Pedagogies and Literacy

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									                     Interactive Whiteboards, Productive Pedagogies and
                           Literacy Teaching in a Primary Context.




Authors:
Peter Kent, Assistant Manager – Centre for Teaching and Learning, ACT Department of
Education. And Matthew Holdway – Richardson Primary School, ACT


Introduction
The classroom use of Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs) at Richardson Primary School (ACT) has
produced improvements in students’ Literacy. These improved outcomes have been evidenced
both with anecdotal observations of parents and teachers, as well as in formal standardised
testing results.


The success of IWBs at Richardson Primary has been driven by the methods which teachers have
incorporated this tool within their teaching practice. These methods have been generalised into a
pedagogical approach that has been labelled as e-Teaching. Succinctly, ‘e-Teaching’ involves the
use of ICTs to enhance the professional practice of teaching. Harnessing the potential of digital
technology in presenting a concept, exploring the implications, placing the concept in various
contexts, creating links with existing knowledge, and leading discussions that probe student
understanding and allow students to take their learning in personally relevant directions.


This paper will outline some of the teaching strategies that underpin e-Teaching and describe
how IWBs and e-Teaching can be used to enhance the teaching and learning environment within
a literacy context. Links will be draw between e-Teaching and Productive Pedagogies.




“Striving To Better Oft We Mar What’s Well”.



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Personal computers are designed for use by individuals. Individual, one-to-one interaction with
personal computers is when they have their greatest effect. The individualised approach of
personal computers makes them ideal for ‘learning’ but in the process makes the task of
‘teaching’ with personal computers difficult as ‘teaching’ involves groups of people. Perhaps
this is why the term ‘e-teaching’ is unusual while ‘e-learning’ is common. However, it is often
the case that the quality of ‘learning’ is determined by the quality of ‘teaching’. As such
approaches to integrate ICTs into classrooms based solely around personal computers have often
only had a limited impact in improving student outcomes (Higgins, S. and Moseley, D. (2001).
Only one side of the ‘teaching and learning’ process was being enhanced by technology. The
kind hearted Albany in Shakespeare’s King Lear sums it up best, “striving to better oft we mar
what’s well”. The widespread use of personal computers and their natural predilection towards
individualised learning has unconsciously undermined what fundamentally underpins successful
schools, that is, quality teaching by professional teachers.


An Interactive Whiteboard (IWB) is a technology that is designed to facilitate group interaction.
IWBs are technology that can enhance the ‘teaching’ side of the teaching and learning process.
When an IWB is used in conjunction with more traditional forms of personal computing both the
teaching and learning dynamic of education are being enhanced through the use of technology,
and at Richardson, improved learning outcomes were a consequence of combined e-teaching and
e-learning approach. However, this paper will focus on the new approaches to teaching using
IWBs.


e-Teaching and Productive Pedagogies


The large size of an IWB facilitates group activities, the group being a central focus of daily
classroom teaching. The interactivity, the tactile nature of students’ interactions with the board
promotes an elevated level of engagement with the lesson. These factors alone will not make a
significant difference to the quality of the teaching and learning process over the longer term.




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Independent research (BECTA 2003) has now widely shown that when used wisely IWBs can
produce a significant improvement to student learning. This section will describe what “used
wisely” actually means and how teachers can best take advantage of the potential that IWBs
offer.


Reference will be made as to how IWBs can enhance the educational environment in a
‘Productive Pedagogies’ context. ‘Productive Pedagogies’ has been chosen as it incorporates an
array of teaching strategies that support classroom environments, and are implemented across all
key learning and year levels. As such all teachers, whatever their teaching context, should be
able to engage and extract relevance from the concepts of e-Teaching. For more information
regarding Productive Pedagogies is contained on Education Queensland Web Site.


e-Teaching to Promote Intellectual Quality within Students’ Learning.


Higher-order thinking and substantive conversations are indicators of the level of intellectual
quality within the classroom. To promote higher-order thinking teachers need to create
classroom activities that allow the class to manipulate information, and through this information
ideas to help students explore various implications and construct their own knowledge.
Teachers should assist in this process by leading conversations of intellectual substance. They
should facilitate a dialogue between within the class such that the students gain a greater
understanding of the concepts being taught, rather than focusing the students on being able to
recite the content of the lesson.


The content of a traditional whiteboard lesson is not very interactive. Often once the content has
been written on the board in order to explore an idea with the class that content is probably
erased and re-written in a different form. Reverting to the original content is often not possible
without another process of erasing and re-writing. Interacting with content printed on paper is
often even more difficult.




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IWBs, either via lessons created within its proprietary software or via the use of various forms of
learning objects allows for content with which the class can interact. Through this interaction
with the content of the IWB teachers can:
              promote higher order thinking, easily shifting the students’ focus from merely
               remembering the content of the board to gaining an deep understanding of
               concept being taught
              lead substantive conversations that allow the class to create or negotiate
               understanding of the subject matter
              present knowledge as problematic rather than fixed, open to multiple
               interpretations.
Examples

                                            Jolly Phonics
                                            This activity is used to support the Jolly Phonics
                                            program. The class is asked to sort the images
                                            depending on whether they begin with the sound
                                            identified in the oval. Information is not
                                            presented as fixed; rather through dialogue
                                            students are encouraged to find multiple correct
                                            answers for each image (eg. ‘Banana’ or ‘fruit’)


                                        Reading blends (Kindergarten / Year 1)
                                        This lesson is one of a series developing student
                                        understanding of chunking and spelling. This lesson
                                        would start with verbally pronouncing the blend,
                                        brainstorming on the IWB (not shown) words the
                                        students know that contain the particular blend,
                                        finally moving to matching beginning blends with
                                        ending sounds to spell words. A visual of the word
                                        has been added to make clear the word we are trying
                                        to spell. As a whole class we would read the blends in
                                        blue, discuss the pictures (What do you think the
                                        picture is of?) and then match them together. It was
                                        great to see students correctly and incorrectly match a
                                        beginning sound with an ending part due to the rich
                                        discussion we could have to solve the word.




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Learning Objects and Digital
Activities
The internet is full of interactive
games for students, and there are many
excellent activities that schools can
purchase. There are many valid uses
for these types of resources within a
literacy program. Teachers can model
or guide a class through an activity or
concept before students complete their
learning activity individually. These
types of resources are engaging for
students and provide the class with a
source of ‘content’ that can easily be
manipulated. By leading the class
through the ‘interactive elements’ of
these resources teachers can generate
rich discussions that relate to the
concept being taught. Through these
discussions teachers are able to probe
for understanding and promote higher
order thinking.

The activities shown are from the
Ideal Resources Primary Games
collection. (www.ideal-
resources.com.au)
Sentence Building
Within this activity the class will
initially choose one of the pictures of
‘Matt’ and then choose the correct
words to make a statement describing
the picture. Once completed, students
may be asked to rearrange the words
to create a question, ie. ‘Is Matt
running?’, or to make a statement that
Matt might say, ie. ‘I am running’. In
this way teachers can lead a discussion
about the grammatical structure of
statements and questions.




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e-Teaching To Engage Students With Real, Practical Or Hypothetical Problems That
Connect To Their World.


Using an e-Teaching approach the class can capture the students’ ‘world’ digitally and then use
what is captured as part of the lesson. In this way teachers promote ‘connectedness’ within the
classroom. Productive Pedagogies describes ‘connectedness’ as making a connection to the
larger social context, adding value and meaning beyond the instructional context. Basing lessons
on real world problems and students’ personal experiences are often measures of the degree of
connectedness within a class.


In one way an IWB is just a touch screen computer the size of a regular whiteboard as such
devices or programs that operate on a computer will run on an IWB. In a classroom context this
results in a wide range of digital tools being able to converge through the IWB. Taking
advantage of this convergence, IWB technology allows teachers to modify the context of the
lesson.
Through this interaction with the context of the lesson teachers can:
         connect the classes learning to the world beyond the classroom
         engage the students in learning that is relevant to their everyday life
         ensure that the curriculum has a real world focus.


Examples
                                            News
                                            After each student had their turn of telling news
                                            to the whole class they were given the
                                            opportunity to autograph the IWB ‘news page’.
                                            Students were eager to write their names and
                                            also wanted to learn to spell their middle names
                                            and surnames to write them too. This gave
                                            teachers the chance to see individual student
                                            letter formations and draw conclusions about
                                            their fine motor skills. It was made more
                                            effective by the use of their photos. Student’s
                                            handwriting samples could be saved and shown
                                            to them later in the year, demonstrating how
                                            much they had improved.



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                                                  Group Editing
                                                  Students’ written work can be scanned and
                                                  placed on the IWB as the starting point for
                                                  a group discussion. In this activity would
                                                  make suggestions on how the scanned text
                                                  could be edited for improvement, from
                                                  spelling and grammar to whether the text
                                                  meets the form of the appropriate genre.
                                                  Context for the lesson was generated by a
                                                  peer, student interest in and engagement
                                                  with the activity is greatly enhanced.



                                                Negotiating Text for Literacy Lessons
                                                For literacy activities teachers can enhance
                                                relevance and engagement by allowing the
                                                class to choose the source of the text to be
                                                examined. Once the text has been chosen
                                                then pre-existing teaching strategies can
                                                apply. In this case the text was sourced from
                                                a new paper web site. Students who do not
                                                normally engage in books could be
                                                motivated to read and complete language
                                                exercises by downloading newspaper articles
                                                from the Internet. For teenage boys, articles
                                                from the sport pages can often engage their
                                                attention. It is very simple to create cloze
                                                exercises from text captured in this way. (In
                                                this example students have changed the
                                                colour of the proper nouns)

e-teaching to capture thoughts and ideas that can assist in the development of
metacognition skills and structured reflection.


For teachers, critically reflecting on the effectiveness of their lessons is problematic. The
creation of professional reflective journals is time consuming and often unrealistic within a busy
school day. Insightful and constructive thoughts about lessons are easily lost over time.




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Students in the modern world need to learn how to learn. This often requires the sharing and
collection of problem solving strategies amongst a class. How can a teacher easily facilitate a
class to capture and share mental problem solving strategies?


IWBs and ICTs have the ability to quickly ‘capture’ thoughts and reflections using audio visual
recording. These ‘captured’ thoughts can then form the basis of both in class and later reflection.
Students can revisit their thoughts in order to better understand the learning process and structure
their reflection. They can learn to learn.


Examples


 Students were asked to reflect on spelling strategies for a range of different groups of words.
 Students could then replay these reflections during later lessons to examine the variety of
 strategies that are used within the class, and further refine their own spelling strategies.




 Students create an audio recording on the IWB of their ‘news’ presentation. Over a number of
 weeks the students build up a number of these recordings. Either individually or as a group
 students can listen to these recordings reflecting up areas for commendation and areas for
 further improvement. Over time students can hear the improvement in their speaking skills and
 identify within themselves further areas for improvement.




 At the end of a lesson, the teacher makes a short 20 – 30 second audio commentary regarding
 the strengths, weaknesses and future ideas for a lesson just taught. This audio is saved with the
 lesson. Some time later the audio recording can be used to prompt professional reflection that
 could either be personal or shared amongst a group of teachers.




 Students can scan a piece of their work and attach an audio commentary describing aspects of
 their learning relevant to what they have accomplished while it is fresh in their minds. Later,
 during a ‘3 Way Interview’ process a teacher can retrieve the work and replay the audio
 reflection in order to scaffold the student into the interview, and review and describe their
 learning process.




                                                                                                   8
Evolution to e-Teaching


IWBs, and e-teaching, are still relatively new. Teaching with an IWB is an evolutionary process.
Teachers at Richardson often began by reproducing what they were doing on a conventional
whiteboard. The teachers evolved their pedagogy as they began to teach with IWBs. As they
explored various features of the technology and gained in confidence the ways in which they
used the IWB, tapping its potential increased. The rate in which the teachers changed their
pedagogy varied between individuals. There was no ‘jump’ needed to take advantage of the new
technology, rather a series of small steps based around the e-Teaching concepts that were taken
when teachers felt comfortable.


e-Teaching: A Work in Progress


The introduction of Interactive Whiteboards at Richardson Primary School has been an
outstanding success by almost any measure. The key to the success has been the pedagogy that
has been developed to take advantage of the possibilities that the technology provides. The use
of interactive whiteboards within the classroom is still a relatively new concept and as such the
pedagogies that underpin this use are constantly developing and expanding, e-Teaching is very
much a work in progress.


References
Higgins, S. and Moseley, D. (2001). Teachers’ thinking about ICT and learning: beliefs and
outcomes. Teacher Development. Reading Online
http://www.bera.ac.uk/publications/pdfs/ICT%20PUR%20MB%20r-f-p%201Aug03.pdf
accessed June 8 2004.


Queensland Department of Education. (2002). A Guide To Productive Pedagogies – Classroom
Reflection Manual.


British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (BECTA). (2003). What The
Research Says About Interactive Whiteboards.



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Acknowledgements


The development of ‘e-teaching’ would not have been possible without the dedicated
professionalism of the teaching staff at Richardson Primary. We both acknowledge and thank
them for their efforts.




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