IWBs as Support for Technology-Related Projects in EFL Education in Brazil

IWBs as Support for Technology-Related Projects in EFL Education in Brazil

Doris de Almeida Soares (Brazilian Naval Academy, Brazil)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-715-2.ch016
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Abstract

This chapter describes the use of interactive whiteboards (IWBs) in two collaborative projects developed with 12 English as a Foreign Language students, aged 10-12, in a school in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Data were collected by asking the students to complete two questionnaires which assessed a) their views on the newly introduced technology and b) their opinion on the projects vis-à-vis the support the IWB offered. Critical reflection on the teacher’s practice was also considered. The data suggests that the students see the board as enhancing motivation for learning and that it can be useful in learner-centered contexts, provided that teachers revisit their practices and give their students more autonomy in class.
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First Winds Of Change

Concerning education technology, this institution has been at the vanguard since the mid-90s when computer laboratories were installed in all branches to provide students with digital self-access language learning activities. Later on, in 1998, every classroom in every branch was equipped with a computer connected to a 33” television set. This provided teachers with instant access to a large number of in-house materials such as PowerPoint presentations to present, practice and recycle language, an image bank, and weekly newsflash presentations designed to bring the real world into the classroom and to stimulate discussion. Later on, Flash media games and animations were included and all computers gained Internet access.

The students welcomed the changes and enjoyed having less book-based activities since a lot of those were replaced by more attractive and dynamic PowerPoint slides which integrated text, audio and animation. Some traditional activities such as fill in the blanks, or match the columns for example, were adapted to be done orally or were turned into game-like activities. Consequently, students did not have to write much in class. Thus, one of the aims for introducing technology into the curriculum had been achieved: increasing the number of opportunities for spoken activities.

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