The Use of Interactive White Boards in Foreign Language Learning 1Running Head: THE USE OF INTERACTIVE WHITEBOARDS The Use of Interactive White Boards in Foreign Language Learning Hussein Hassan Brandman University
The Use of Interactive White Boards in Foreign Language Learning 2 AbstractThis paper is intended to provide a literature review of the use of the interactive whiteboards inforeign language learning. I tried to cover the use of interactive whiteboards within differentcontexts and from different perspectives. The literature includes international studies such asSpanish, British, and Turkish as well as American studies. The objective of this paper and theprospective research is to shed a light on the variable factors that affect the use of interactivewhiteboards in language classrooms. The variables stressed in this paper are: students’motivation, students’ performance, teacher’s competency, and the technology’s efficiency. Theimplications of such literature review points out the factors which affect how students andteachers perceive the use of IWB in language classroom.
The Use of Interactive White Boards in Foreign Language Learning 3IntroductionIn the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, all classrooms are equipped withinteractive whiteboards (IWBs). All foreign language instructors have to utilize the Smart boardtechnology in teaching foreign languages. The use of IWB is widespread in all levels ofschooling in America and Europe. Language instructors utilize this technology to create classactivities that are interactive and multi-sensory. Moreover, most of the current curricula in theDefense Language Institute (DLI) such as the Arabic basic course curricula are based on utilizingthe IWBs. However, having the technology available in foreign language learning does notnecessarily yield better results than using traditional teaching tools such as overhead projectorsand whiteboards. Moreover, there are many variables which could affect the effectiveness andthe efficiency of using interactive whiteboards in foreign language learning. The literaturereview sheds light on these variables and supports the hypotheses that IWBs are just a teachingtool and that there are other factors need to be present in order to fully utilize this technologyeffectively and efficiently. I am interested in finding out if the literature supports anyeffectiveness and efficiency of using the interactive whiteboards in foreign language acquisition.My research topic is the use of interactive whiteboards in foreign language learning, the researchhypothesis is that using IWB has positive impact on students’ foreign language learning if thetechnology is utilized effectively and efficiently.The use of interactive whiteboard and student’s motivation and participationCoyle, Yañez, & Verdú (2010) analyzed the impact of the interactive whiteboards (IWB) on thelanguage use of a primary school teacher and a group of English language pupils and non-nativespeakers in an English language immersion classroom in Spain. The study showed that the non-
The Use of Interactive White Boards in Foreign Language Learning 4native speaker students have interacted with the IWB even more than the native speaker students.The students showed enthusiasm to explore the IWB and they seem more focus on the task inhand. However, the study concluded that in order to utilize the IWB effectively, teachers need toembed more interactive opportunities to help non-native speakers students interact verbally withtheir English native speakers and with the teacher and not only with the IWB.In this British study of integrating information and communications technology (ICT) intoteaching (Gray, Pilkington, Hagger-Vaughan, & Tomkins, 2007), teachers expressed positiveremarks when asked about the increased focus of the students on the content and how they likedusing the IWB. However, some teachers thought the technology lacked more kinesthetic agilitywhich students need due to the limited numbers of students who can use the IWB at a time.Another teacher in the study expressed her concern on how the interactive games were moreappealing to the boys than the girls in class. Despite this concern, students seemed to haveincreased their target language use when they were interacting with the IWB. The enthusiasm touse IWB was not inclusive to some students. Rather, it attracted the students who were usuallyreluctant to participate in class activities as one teacher noted.Lopez (2008) conducted a quantitative/ qualitative study which analyzed the findings of the firstyear evaluation of a school’s district digital learning classroom project. The school districtintegrated the use of interactive white board in math and English classes. The objective of theproject is to foster English language learners’ performance compared to regular students. Theappealing characteristics of the IWB seem to help with students’ behavior as well. In this study(López, 2009) analyzes the findings of the first year evaluation of a school’s district digitallearning classroom project to foster English language learners’ performance. The school districtintegrated the use of interactive white board in math and English classes. The study showed that
The Use of Interactive White Boards in Foreign Language Learning 5students’ engagement and motivation had lead to improvement in English language learners’behavior as one teacher noted.In a Turkish study which aimed at assessing the effects of using interactive whiteboards (IWBs)in English as second language classrooms (Mathews-Aydinli & Elaziz, 2010), the majority of thestudents showed that this technology has helped them be more motivated to learn because IWBhelped student focus and concentrate on the lesson and because it made the lesson easy tounderstand. This sentiment was shared by the majority of the teachers who were surveyed in thesame study, 72% of the teachers agreed that the use of IWB in their classes made their studentsmore motivated.In a research article by Tozcu, A. (2008), 75 DLI foreign language instructors participated in astudy which aimed at analyzing the use of IWBs in foreign language classes. This study focuseson the use of interactive whiteboard in teaching non-roman scripts. All foreign language teachersagreed on the importance of the use of IWB in engaging students in the learning process. Thisengagement led to more motivation and consequently to more students’ participation in class,they added. (Tozcu, 2008).The use of interactive whiteboard and student’s achievementThe inherent visual effects of the IWB make it easier for the students to visualize conceptsotherwise hard to contextualize. On the other hand, this technology promotes the use of targetlanguage and also it shows the students their errors instantly which helped the students learnfrom their mistakes. (Coyle, et al, 2010) In this study, the students learned more by interactingwith the IWB and with each other.
The Use of Interactive White Boards in Foreign Language Learning 6In contrasting student’s achievements in mathematics and reading, (López, 2009) found thatEnglish Language learners (ELL) have increased their performances in both subjects due to theuse of IWB in the classroom. However, in his notes (López, 2009) cautions that such positiveoutcomes of the digital learning classroom for the English language learners is not a “silverbullet” that could help the ELL students improve their performance.The results of using IWBs may not be visible in the short term. It might take more time for thestudents as well as the teachers to fully feel comfortable in using it effectively in a way thatyields positive impact on students’ learning. Mathews-Aydinli & Elaziz, (2010) stressed thatdespite the overall positive feelings the students felt about using the IWB in the classroom, only59% reported that there is a difference between using the IWB and the regular whiteboard. Thestudy showed that the more the students use the IWB, the more they recognize its uniquecharacteristics. In another study, (Tozcu, 2008) showed that all foreign language instructors whoparticipated in the study have reported improved retention and better performance by thestudents in recognizing the different forms of the non-roman scripts. The study reported that theDLI students spent two weeks to master the written systems of these languages which isconsidered a relatively short time given the complexity of the written systems. The versatility ofthe visual effects of the IWB and the interactive nature of the touch-screen helped students learnthe scripts as well as help them concentrate on the task in hand with less distraction.Efficiency of the interactive whiteboardGray, et al, (2007) noted that despite the positive feelings of confidence the teachers in this casestudy have reported, the researchers showed concern of the extra hours three out of four teachershad to invest in preparing digital materials for their classes. The other issue was the constant
The Use of Interactive White Boards in Foreign Language Learning 7changing in technology makes it harder for teachers to use learning materials for long time; theymight have to constantly update their materials to keep up with the technology.In a Turkish study (Mathews-Aydinli & Elaziz, 2010), all teachers showed positive attitudetoward using the IWB in their English classes. The reasons for these positive attitudes come fromthe efficiency the IWB provides in reviewing previous lessons, and explaining as well as themulti-sensory materials which could be used in the class. The characteristic of the IWB whichsets it aside from regular projector or computer is the ability to save the class input on thewhiteboard for future classes as well as the availability of ready-to-use lesson plans and lessonactivities for language classes. Such characteristics lead 63% of the Turkish teachers to believethat the IWB made them more efficient teachers. However, the same concern of time allocated toprepare IWB lessons seems to be a concern for 32% of the teachers who reported that they had toprepare more to use the IWB in their teaching. Such characteristics were confirmed in limitingteacher preparation for classes (Tozcu, 2008). All teachers in this study confirmed that the use ofIWB in teaching the non-Latin scripts helped them in better manage the class time, use the sameteaching materials for future classes which lead to less preparation time. However, the teachersstressed the disadvantage of this technology, as noted in the Turkish study (Mathews-Aydinli &Elaziz, 2010) which allows only one student at time to utilize it.Teacher’s competency in using the interactive whiteboardAny tool is as good as the one who uses it. Such generalization is true for the use of the IWB inclassroom teaching and learning. In their conclusion of their research (Coyle, et.al, 2010)stressed the importance of teacher’s competency in using the IWB effectively in order to utilizeits potential. The technological competency is just one part of effective and efficient use of the
The Use of Interactive White Boards in Foreign Language Learning 8IWB in language learning, the other important component is the interactive skills teachers oughtto have in order to fully engage the students in meaningful language learning. Therefore, (Coyle,et.al 2010) stressed the importance of training the faculty not only on how to use the IWB butalso on how to be effective language teachers by using communicative and constructivistapproach in teaching.The results of the study show that a teacher’s lack of competency in the software used in theclass led one of the teachers to control most of the interaction with IWB. The researchersconcluded that the use of the IWB had potential to improve communication skills for non-nativepupils in English class. However, this potential depends on how teacher used the interactivewhiteboard to enhance interaction. It also depends on the teacher competency in both thetechnology and language acquisition.However, in a qualitative study conducted by Gray, et al, (2007), the researchers reported thatthe teachers did not consider the training as an essential component in their effective use of theIWB. Instead, the teachers learned best by experimenting, exploring the software, and sharingwith each other. The researcher suggested that it is better to respect the individual needs of eachteacher regarding their training needs. However, some teachers think that technical competencyin using the IWB is an important factor in successful learning. In the Turkish study, 63% of theteachers reported that such training is necessary for them to feel competent in using the IWB(Mathews-Aydinli & Elaziz, 2010)The research literature showed positive feedback from both the students and the teachers. Thestudies also stressed on the importance of embedding the use of technology in general and theIWB in particular in meaningful pedagogical frameworks such as to use the IWB in foreign
The Use of Interactive White Boards in Foreign Language Learning 9language classrooms in interpersonal, intrapersonal, and creative manner. The literature howeverseems lacking enough resources on the use of IWB in foreign language learning therefore Iincluded research that focused on second language acquisitions as well as English languagelearning for non-English speakers. In order to utilize the interactive whiteboard in foreignlanguage learning, teachers have to utilize it the technology within a bigger pedagogicalmethodology. On the other hand, student’s voices need to be heard as well as the teachers. Mostof the studies focused on the teachers’ attitudes and thoughts about the technology but fewerconsidered the students’ voices and whether their performances were improved. To listen tostudents’ concerns and thoughts, teachers need to communicate effectively with their studentswhen applying new technologies or teaching methods. In an interpretive qualitative research,Schmid, (2006) investigates the effects of using interactive whiteboards in foreign languagelearning from the perspective of the critical theory of technology. To overcome the challengeswhich emerge from using new technology in the language classroom, Schmid suggested thatboth the teacher and the students need to engage in effective communication in order to tacklesuch challenges and transform the learning process. Further studies need to focus on the use ofinteractive whiteboard in foreign language learning with quantitative and qualitative methods tomeasure students’ performances and focus on how the technology is being utilized along withinthe curriculum.
The Use of Interactive White Boards in Foreign Language Learning 10 ReferencesCoyle, Y., Yañez, L., & Verdú, M. (2010). The impact of the interactive whiteboard on the teacher and children’s language use in an ESL immersion classroom. System, 38(4), 614- 625. doi:10.1016/j.system.2010.10.002Gray, C., Pilkington, R., Hagger-Vaughan, L., & Tomkins, S. (2007). Integrating ICT into classroom practice in modern foreign language teaching in England: making room for teachers voices. European Journal of Teacher Education, 30(4), 407-429. doi:10.1080/02619760701664193López, O. S. (2010). The Digital Learning Classroom: Improving English Language Learners’ academic success in mathematics and reading using interactive whiteboard technology. Computers & Education, 54(4), 901-915. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2009.09.019Mathews-Aydinli, J., & Elaziz, F. (2010). Turkish students and teachers attitudes toward the use of interactive whiteboards in EFL classrooms. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 23(3), 235-252. doi: 10.1080/09588221003776781Schmid, E. (2007). Enhancing performance knowledge and self-esteem in classroom language learning: The potential of the ACTIVote component of interactive whiteboard technology. System, 35(2), 119-133. doi:10.1016/j.system.2007.01.001Tozcu, A. (2008). The use of interactive whiteboards in teaching non-roman scripts. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 21(2), 143-166. doi:10.1080/09588220801943726