Learning in the Primary School Classroom using the Interactive Whiteboard

Learning in the Primary School Classroom using the Interactive Whiteboard

Damian Maher (University of Technology, Sydney, Australia)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4502-8.ch031
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Abstract

The Interactive Whiteboard (IWB) is a recent innovation and with it has come a renewed discussion of the nature of interactions in the primary school classroom. In this chapter the interactive affordances of the IWB, where users can physically manipulate two-dimensional objects on the board, are discussed. In focusing on this aspect, the types of resources used via the board are examined as are the multimodal features. In considering the nature of interactions between participants whilst using the IWB, interactions between teachers and students and between students and students are discussed. There is a focus on the ability for the IWB to support dialogic interactions in a more student-centered classroom. In examining interactions through the IWB, the way boards can be used to connect students to content, such as Web sites, is explored. In focusing on interactions with other participants the use of video conferencing is discussed.
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Background

The first IWB were produced and sold for use in the business world. By the late 1990s the educational uses of the boards were realised and they started to be installed in some classrooms. It was not until the turn of the century that the IWB made large inroads into the classroom; this was due in part to affordability. For example, in the UK the sales of IWBs rose over 3 years from 27 375 to 99 848 in 2005 (Futuresource, 2009) and now has 70% of classrooms installed with IWBs. Denmark and the Netherlands have 40-42% of their classrooms installed with IWBs whilst Australia, the USA, Mexico and Ireland have just under 30% (Lee, 2010).

Along with the affordability of the IWBs, another important factor in the rapid uptake of the IWBs was the acceptance by teachers as pointed out by British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (BECTA) (2007):

This sharp rise in the use of ICT resources in the curriculum has been driven to a large extent by the adoption of Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs) and related technologies. Interactive whiteboards are a popular technology, in heavy demand by schools and practitioners. They offer transparent benefits to learning and teaching. That is, it is easy for institutions and teachers to recognise how IWBs enrich and enhance learning and teaching, something which may not always be so immediately transparent to practitioners in the case of other technologies. (p. 66)

Another reason for the uptake in counties like Australia is the large support received from parents in schools who fund many of the boards.

What is the IWB and What does it Do?

BECTA defines an IWB as “a large, touch-sensitive board which is connected to a digital projector and a computer. The projector displays the image from the computer screen on the board. The computer can then be controlled by touching the board, either directly or with a special pen” (2003). The board is multipurpose as it can be used in a similar way to a whiteboard and serves as a screen projector, a sound system, and a visualiser, to name only a few of the functions. The board, via the computer can connect to writing tools like Word and through the use a keyboard, allows writing to be constructed in a whole class or group setting.

The interactive aspect of the board means that participants can use pens or with some boards their fingers to manipulate objects on the board. Lessons can be downloaded from the internet which can then be used in their original form or be modified to suit the needs of the teacher and students. Lessons can also be created from scratch.

Originally, only one person could use the board at any one time. New IWBs are now being produced that allows two and three users to interact with the board together which creates new opportunities for both whole class and group work.

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Interactivity Of The Board

The IWB comes with a range of inbuilt tools that allow users to interact with them in a number of different ways. The board has many of the functions that a standard whiteboard be written on with different coloured pens which can be erased with an eraser. Figure 1 is a screen shot showing several students drawing over a picture.

Figure 1.

A screen shot of the board being used © SMART Technologies. All rights reserved.

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