The Interactive Whiteboard as a springboard for professional self-development Valéria Benévolo França Head of Teacher Training IATEFL 2008
Two feet firmly on the ground The introduction of new technology in the classroom always creates some degree of discomfort amogst teachers. It’s as if we’re pulling the carpet from under their feet.
Turning the world on its head E-Board Project Our e-board Project, in which we introduced IWBs in every classroom as of February 2007, posed a huge challenge in terms of training teachers and we wanted to find a way of introducing new technology, engaging and motivating them to use the new resource effectively, whilst at the same time aking them feel part of the whole process.
Loosing our footing Seeing from a different angle We were aware that the introduction of the E-board would force teachers to look at their daily EFL practice from a new angle. They would feel challanged by the new technology, but we also wanted to challenge them to re-think their pedagogical practice in the light of the introduction of this new technology. We wanted teachers to work collaboratively with the training department in their own self-development. We raised a number of questions at the start of the term wich we wnated them to consider as they came to grips with the new technology.
Loosing our footing Will the IWB make our lessons more teacher centred? How will the IWB help us foster conversation in class? What’s the role of the internet in the classroom of the future? What’s the potential of the board when it comes to collaborative projects?
“ My first experience with the IWB wasn’t that positive. At first it didn’t work!!! The projector in my room broke. So on Saturday I had to go to the auditorium, then the pen didn’t work either. So I used the regular mouse... I was so frustrated!!!” “ Over the weekend I had been feeling a bit apprehensive, anticipating the first moment of class and the students’ reactions. Thank God everything worked out fine, and to tell you the truth, it was easier than I had thought. Of course, there are adjustments to be made....” Teachers’ response after the first day using the IWB. E-Board Project Loosing our footing
Training Teachers From the two-year period of research which we undertook before implementing the IWBs, we knew that the training/learning process for teachers would need to be long-term, cyclical, allowing for teachers to get to grips with the new technology at their own pace . Online discussions Online discussions
The Zone of Proximal Development completed developmental cycle process of development and maturation We led our 650 teachers along a path of self-development in terms of encouraging them to develop their own abilities with the IWB.. zone of actual development zone of proximal development
The Zone of Proximal Development “… the distance between the actual development level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem solving under adult guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers.” Vygotsky zone of proximal development
“ The zone of proximal development defines those functions that have not yet matured but are in the process of maturation, functions that will mature tomorrow but are currently in an embryonic state. These functions could be termed the “buds” or “flowers” of development rather than the fruits of development.” Vygotsky The Zone of Proximal Development
building a scaffold novice expert Bridging the gap We were aware that we needed to scaffold the teachers’ own learning process. We bridged the gap between their newly acquired abilities to use the IWB by providing them with many training and reflection opportunities. We also provided them with ready-made flipcharts, which allowed them to use the many features and tools of the board with a degree of confidence, whilst at the same time providing them with a chance to see the full potential of the IWB.
Novice vs Expert A new way of looking at teacher/student relationships and roles had to be considered.
Bridging the gap – online forums Our discussion forum provided a place for teachers to ask questions and vent frustration.
Bridging the gap – workshops & swapshops <ul><li>Workshops </li></ul><ul><li>February – Basic tools </li></ul><ul><li>April- Advanced tools & integration in the classroom, Projects. </li></ul><ul><li>Swapshops </li></ul><ul><li>May-October – Opportunity to meet colleagues & share projects being developed. </li></ul>
Bridging the gap – Exploratory Practice An Exploratory Practice group with 30 teachers was set up alongside PUC (a University in Rio) in order to encourage teachers and students to investigate the implementation of the IWB.
“ Development […] never follows […]learning the way a shadow follows the object that casts it.” Vygotsky The Zone of Proximal Development
Going beyond the tool “ The IWB is a wonderful tool for the promotion of interactive relations in the classroom. In my opinion, new possibilities have come out since we started using the IWB... because I believe we teachers have become aware of its potential, and more aware of the need for constant recycling and the acquisition of new educational and technological competencies.” “ I believe we have a big challenge, which is interacting with the world in the classroom. I still ask myself if we are ready for this...I think this is an aim which won’t be achieved at this moment by all teachers in all lessons.”
THANK YOU! IATEFL 2008 [email_address] [email_address] A great thanks to Guilherme Pacheco, the Educational Solutions team and Mabel Castro, all of whom palyed a significant role in the development and implementation of this training programme.