Tuesday, 13 February 2007

Interactive whiteboards may not improve learning

Technology is a great thing but we always need to ask has it made difference in learning? A number of schools in my cluster, have purchased interactive whiteboards with the goal of enhancing teaching and learning.

From some of the whiteboard sessions I've seen, students are engaged, kids can move things around the boards easily and the visuals are stimulating. However some teachers are concerned that the interactive capability of the boards are used fully and that they don't become glorified, expensive data projectors.

A recent UK study commissioned by the English Department of Education found that computerised whiteboards failed to boost student achievement.

I came across a report of the report in a BBC News item, "Doubts over hi-tech whiteboards".

The study group visited schools only a year after a government project introduced the boards. "Interactive whiteboards can even slow the pace of learning," and result in "relatively mundane activities being overvalued", the Institute of Educatiion study suggested.

Another finding was that "although the newness of the technology was initially welcomed by the pupils, any boost in motivation seemed short lived".

A crucial statement is that "when the use of the technological tools took precedence over a clear understanding of their purpose for teaching, IWBs were not used in way that could enhance learning," it said.

Does this apply to the use of weblogs in the classroom?