1 Interacting with Interactive WhiteboardsA Project Presented to the Faculty of the College of Education By Brandy Shelton Touro University In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements of the Degree of Masters of Arts In Educational Technology by Brandy Shelton May, 2010
2 Abstract Interactive technology is becoming a mainstay in many classrooms all over the world.Although some teachers are finding it easy to make the transition into the digital world, othersare struggling to stay caught up and work the technology into their lessons and classrooms. Interactive whiteboards are a perfect example of a technology that has beenimplemented into classrooms without teachers really understanding its capabilities, or how touse it as anything more than a projector. If the technology is available, why not make sure oureducators are educated in ways it can be used most effectively? This project examinedinteractive whiteboards in the classroom and provided strategies that are effective at improvingstudents’ understanding of the content.
3 Chapter 1 New technology entered our schools at a rapid speed at the beginning of the 21st century.It took the form of laptop computers or document cameras, and. in 2010, as the interactive toolcalled the interactive whiteboard (IWB). Unfortunately, just because these tools are in theclassroom, doesn’t always mean that there is adequate training for the teachers who aresupposed to use it. It is common for teachers who receive an IWB to attend a one-day training session inorder to learn how to turn the board off and on, orient the screen, and perform other basic tasks.Teachers often walk away feeling that the new tool awaiting them has more uses and functionsin their classroom and curriculum than they know what to do with. Both novice IWB users andteachers with tech experience still have many of the same concerns and questions regarding thenew support tool. What are the best strategies for using an IWB in order to engage students?How can an IWB engage students and deepen their understanding of the content? Are thereproven strategies that will help raise standardized test scores when a teacher uses an IWB?Statement of the Problem Many researchers investigated the above questions and the result and effect oftechnology on the teaching and learning community as a whole. A study done by Ertmer andOttenbreit-Leftwich (2010) delves into the idea that teachers of the 21st century were still usingthe same tools as those who came before them. Unlike the doctors and mechanics whosediagnostic equipment has evolved and changed with the technology available, classroomteachers are expected to teach to higher standards with the same equipment and knowledge thatwas available ten to twenty years ago. “It is time to shift our mindsets away from the notion
4that technology provides a supplemental teaching tool and assume, as with other professionsthat technology is essential to successful performance outcomes” (Ertmer & Ottenbreit-Leftwich, 2010, p. 256). With this understanding comes the fact that teachers need to be taught“how to use technology to facilitate meaningful learning, defined as that which enables studentsto construct deep and connected knowledge” (Ertmer & Ottenbreit-Leftwich, 2010, p. 257).Simply understanding how to use a digital camera or presentation software is not enough.Teachers need to learn how to use these tools to make their lessons and content more interactiveand vibrant, and how to teach students to use the same tools to express their own understandingof the content. Teachers have been using Shulman’s (1986, 1987) framework to conceptualize ateacher’s knowledge for over twenty years. According to Shulman (1986), teacher knowledgeincludes knowledge of the subject (content knowledge), knowledge of teaching methods andclassroom management strategies (pedagogical knowledge), and knowledge of how to teachspecific content to specific learners in specific contexts (pedagogical content knowledge). “Touse technology to facilitate student learning, teachers need additional knowledge and skills thatbuild on, and intersect with, those that Shulman (1986) described” (Ertmer & Ottenbreit-Leftwich, 2010, p. 259). Well where does this additional knowledge come from? Ertmer andOttenbreit-Leftwich (2010) argue that teachers need to redefine their understanding of whatgood teaching looks like in this new day and age, and once their definition has evolved theythen “need to see examples of what this kind of teaching looks like in practice” (p. 277). Theyalso believe that one of the best ways to support the change that teachers need to make in theirteaching is by “providing opportunities for them to witness how the change benefits theirstudents” (Ertmer & Ottenbreit-Leftwich, 2010, p. 277). Borko and Putnam (1995) also believe
5that more is needed than professional development opportunities for teachers in the area oftechnology when they said, “The workshops alone did not change these teachers. It waslistening to their own students solve the problems that made the greatest difference in theirinstructional practices” (p.55). Teachers need professional development to help themunderstand the technology and tools that they are able to work with, and then they need theopportunities to see examples of it being used in a classroom, or even better, in their ownclassroom. The technology pieces that teachers are learning to work with come in many packagesand can support the classroom, teacher, and student learning in many different ways, but whatabout IWBs specifically? Are IWBs able to really make a difference in a students’understanding of the content? According to research done by Swan, Schenker, and Kratcoski(2008) the use of IWBs in a K-12 setting can positively affect standardized test scores in bothlanguage arts and mathematics when used with strong teaching strategies. It was how theteachers in the study used their IWBs to convey the content that ultimately made the differencein whether or not students’ test scores fell below or above the mean on average. Using the IWBin a way that presents information to students similar to how a teacher might give a lecture isn’tthe most effective method; rather making the lessons and topics more student-centered and lessteacher-centered is how students become a key part of the teaching and learning process.Showing teachers how to get from presentation-mode to interactive-mode is the challenge, andthose strong teaching strategies are the building blocks to unlocking the potential of the IWB.
6Purpose of the Project The purpose of this project was to research the best strategies and methods for usingIWBs in a K-12 classroom. With this information the author put together a handbook that willhelp teacher’s current lessons move away from being teacher-centered to more student-centeredby utilizing the interactive piece of the whiteboard to its fullest potential. The study used articles, journals, and observations to collect data on this quicklygrowing problem within the author’s school district. Questions the author sought to answerresearch were: • How do most teachers combine their IWB knowledge with their pre-established content knowledge? • What problems do most teachers come across when learning how to use their IWB? • What ways do most teachers use their IWB once they feel comfortable with the technology and the tool? • What strategies can make the IWB more interactive and student-centered?Project Objectives The objectives for this project included the following goals. To provide guidance andsupport for teachers to: • combine their content knowledge and teaching pedagogy with the new technology and opportunities offered by the IWB • identify common methods that teachers use to teach language arts and methods to adapt those activities to include the IWB as a transitional step towards a more effective and engaging teaching style
7 • examine research-based instructional methods regarding effective conditions and strategies that increase student achievement while teaching with the IWBDefinition of TermsInteractive Whiteboard - An interactive whiteboard or IWB, is a large interactive display thatconnects to a computer and projector. A projector projects the computers desktop onto theboards surface, where users control the computer using a pen, finger or other device. The boardis typically mounted to a wall or on a floor stand.Summary School systems must begin to educate teachers in the most productive uses oftechnology in today’s classroom, otherwise all of the technology tools in the world won’t helpour students reach their greatest potential. It’s important for teachers to understand that eventhough the skills and strategies that were around in the twentieth century still work, they aren’tas effective more student-centered and interactive strategies. Research has found that IWBs canmake a positive impact on students’ understanding of content, but it is the most effectivestrategies that will help teachers use the IWB to its highest potential. The author has puttogether those strategies and methods to make the transition for teachers who are new to IWBseasier and more efficient in the form of a handbook. The goal of the handbook is to giveteachers a reference point to improve language arts lessons, effective strategies that increasestudent achievement, and the tools to make novice IWB users more comfortable with thetechnology.
8 ReferencesBorko, H., & Putnam, R.T. (1995). Expanding a teacher’s knowledge base: A cognitive psychological perspective on professional development. In T.R. Guskey & M. Huberman (Eds.), Professional development in education: New paradigms & practices (pp. 35-66). New York: Teachers College Press.Ertmer, P.A., & Ottenbreit-Leftwich, A.T. (2010). Teacher technology change: How knowledge, confidence, beliefs, and culture intersect. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 42(3), 255-284.Shulman, L.S (1986). Those who understand: Knowledge growth in teaching. Educational Researcher, 15(2), 4-14.Shulman, L.S. (1987). Knowledge and teaching: Foundations of the new reform. HarvardEducational Review, 57(1), 1-22.Swan, K., Schenker, J., & Kratcoski, A. (2008). The effects of the use of interactive whiteboards on student achievement. In J. Luca & E. Weippl (Eds.), Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2008, 3290-3297. Chesapeake, VA: AACE.