Interactive whiteboards as a teaching tool

Improving the quality of interaction

The interactive whiteboard promotes increased interaction between the teacher, pupils, the subject and the technology itself. It allows all pupils to engage with the same central focal point in the classroom – something that is not easy to achieve with other types of technology. It also enables the teacher to easily refer back to previous learning and resources.

Pupils use the dynamic representation of systems, images and text to explain their methods; to support their reasoning; to demonstrate their understanding and to teach others. The ability to physically interact with the software, by manipulating the text and images on screen, stimulates ‘on-task talk’. Pupils talk for longer than otherwise in their responses and use an extended range of vocabulary in their explanations. These are all features promoted in accelerated learning theory and it is these qualities of learning that teachers point to when they talk of the benefits of using this technology.

The interactive whiteboard encourages questioning and intervention at a range of levels, including open, closed and uptake questions along with probing and evaluative responses, all as part of the general flow of the lesson.

As the teacher leads the investigation, he or she asks pupils how variables might be changed and how these changes might affect the model. The teacher pitches questions at particular pupils or groups of pupils; assesses what they have learnt through their answers and then tests their understanding by asking them to demonstrate what they know through manipulating the model on screen.