Interactive Whiteboards: A Literature Survey

Interactive Whiteboards: A Literature Survey

Dave Miller (Keele University, UK) and Derek Glover (Keele University, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-715-2.ch001
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This chapter reviews the literature that has charted the progress of the use of interactive whiteboards within schools, predominantly within the UK. It is concerned, firstly, with the way in which change is introduced, managed and supported. The literature has also shown the progress from presentation and motivation issues to a consideration of the pedagogic possibilities of the integration of the interactive whiteboard in teaching situations. This involves an understanding of interactivity in educational contexts. This chapter also investigates the value for money issues implicit in the use of technology in pedagogic change and considers discussions related to technology and educational effectiveness.
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This is not a unique literature survey. Higgins et al. (2007), Cuthell (2007) and Glover et al. (2005), among others, have considered the emerging research literature into interactive whiteboard use and established typologies of introduction and use, developed the research rationale for classroom practice and pointed to the need for pedagogic change to accommodate the affordances offered by the technology. Smith et al. (2005) offer a more critical review of the literature pointing to the methodological problems arising from considerable case-study research of a narrative nature which is frequently less than objective when undertaken by teachers who are convinced of the potential of IWBs. Slay et al. (2008) suggest that within developing countries there may be greater economy through the use of a data projector and screen than by using IWB technology. Our literature review makes no methodological judgments but draws on the growing body of published research in the various areas related to IWBs as a background to understanding trends in the practice and pedagogy of interactive learning. It follows the introduction of new technology into schools and colleges and looks at the way in which some teachers and researchers move from its use to enhance presentation and motivation to awareness of the need for changed pedagogic approaches.

Interactive whiteboard systems were developed experimentally in the 1980s largely in higher education law and medical faculties in the United States using an approach from the commercial world (Greiffenhagen, 2002; Murphy et al., 1995; Armstrong et al., 2005; Passey, 2006). Within two decades their use has spread throughout all sectors of education around the world. Most of the early commentators on IWBs (see for example, Greiffenhagen, 2000) begin with a description of the systems involved reflecting the need to inform readers of the technology. Later writers such as Hennessy et al. (2007) update this approach with an element of evaluation as follows:

Interactive whiteboard systems comprise a computer linked to a data projector and a large touch-sensitive board displaying the projected image; they allow direct input via finger or stylus so that objects can be easily moved around the board (‘drag and drop’) or transformed by teacher or students. They offer the significant advantage of one being able to annotate directly onto a projected display and to save the annotations for re-use or printing. The software can also instantly convert handwriting to more legible typed text and it allows users to hide and later reveal objects. Like the computer + data projector alone, it can be used with remote input and peripheral devices, including a visualiser or flexible camera (e.g. to display and annotate pupils’ paper-based work or experimental results), slates or tablet PCs. (p. 2)

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