This paper draws on research carried out for the UK government during 2004–2006 to evaluate the impact of interactive whiteboards for teaching and learning in primary schools in England. Multilevel modelling showed positive gains in literacy, mathematics and science for children aged 7 and 11, directly related to the length of time they had been taught with an interactive whiteboard (IWB). These gains were particularly strong for children of average and above average prior attainment. Classroom observations, together with teacher and pupil interviews, were used to develop a detailed account of how pedagogic practice changed. Results from the multilevel modelling enabled the researchers to visit the classrooms of teachers whose pupils had made exceptional progress and seek to identify what features of pedagogy might have helped to achieve these gains. It was also possible to examine possible reasons for the lack of impact of IWBs on the progress of low prior attainment pupils, despite their enthusiasm for the IWB and improved attention in class. The IWB is an ideal resource to support whole class teaching. Where teachers had been teaching with an IWB for 2 years and there was evidence that all children, had made exceptional progress in attainment in national tests, a key factor was the use of the IWB for skilled teaching of numeracy and literacy to pairs or threesomes of children. Young children with limited writing skills, and older pupils with special educational needs are highly motivated by being able to demonstrate their skills and knowledge with the tapping and dragging facilities of the IWB. These effects are greatest when they have the opportunity, individually or in small groups, for extended use of the IWB rather than as part of whole class teaching. The IWB is in effect a mediating artefact in interactions between teacher and pupils, and when teachers use an IWB for a considerable period of time (at least 2 years), teachers learn how to mediate the greatly increased number of possible interactions to best aid pupils’ learning. The IWB’s use becomes embedded in their pedagogy as a mediating artefact for their interactions with their pupils, and pupils’ interactions with one another, and this is when changes in pedagogic practice become apparent.
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We would like to thank our colleagues in the project team whose contributions informed our work: Maureen Haldane, Kelvyn Jones, Peter Scrimshaw, Sue Sing, Kate Bird, John Cummings, Brigid Downing, Tanya Harber Stuart, Janis Jarvis, Diane Mavers and Derek Woodrow. We would also like to thank the teachers and local authority staff who participated in the project.
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Lewin, C., Somekh, B. & Steadman, S. Embedding interactive whiteboards in teaching and learning: The process of change in pedagogic practice. Educ Inf Technol 13, 291–303 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10639-008-9070-z
- Interactive whiteboards