Source: Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice, Vol. 17, No. 3, June 2011, 303–324.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
The authors explore the relationship between the use of interactive whiteboard (IWB) and the pre-existing and developing pedagogies of three teachers in a teacher–researcher collaborative group in UK.
The authors involved teachers who were strongly committed to a dialogic approach in the classroom and wished to enhance their use of the IWB in furthering this approach.
A dialogic pedagogy requires teachers and learners to actively comment and build on each other’s ideas, posing questions and constructing shared interpretations and new knowledge.
It involves teachers in open-ended higher order questioning, feeding in ideas, reflecting and interpreting, and thereby helping learners link ‘everyday’ and ‘educated’ discourse.
It encourages pupils to articulate and justify their own points of view; appreciate and respond to others’ ideas; and take extended turns in whole-class and group interactions (Mercer & Littleton, 2007).
The authors considered that the IWB could be a powerful tool for promoting dialogic intentions in the classroom.
The central research question was: ‘How can teachers with an established ‘dialogic’ approach to teaching exploit the multimodality and interactivity of the IWB to support student learning?’
The three teachers involved in the research project were selected on the basis of having an observably dialogic pedagogical approach to teaching and of using the IWB confidently as part of their everyday practice.
The authors focused on one teacher from this group and considered how the developing understandings of her became evident in her practice and influenced the group’s deliberations about uses of the IWB.
The authors concentrated on Diane . Diane works in an ethnically diverse inner city location. Her class had 13 pupils with Individual Educational Plans (IEPs) for their needs,2 constituting the most challenging group that Diane had taught to date.
All of the project teachers had been using an IWB for several years, but none of them considered themselves to be expert with the technology and all wished to improve their use of it.
Data were collected through observations and videoed teaching of the teachers, teacher diaries recording their pre- and post-lesson reflections and planning, pre- and post-lesson interviews, IWB resource files and captured annotations, lesson plans, worksheets, digital photographs and copies of student work.
The study uses Diane’s experiences and development to reflect upon both the integration of a specific technology into effective pre-existing pedagogic practice and the symbiotic relationship between an evolving pedagogy and the developing use of technology.
The research has shown that collaborations between university researchers and teachers can be highly productive for developing classroom pedagogy incorporating the use of educational technology.
This research has shown that teachers routinely use new technological tools to serve preexisting pedagogical practices, particularly when a new tool such as the IWB is introduced.
Diane’s case illustrates how a more synergistic relationship exists, enabling an effective pedagogic approach to be implemented using the IWB as a tool for that implementation.
Furthermore, Diane used the IWB as a focus for a consideration of teaching and learning practices amongst her own staff that mirrored the project intentions in many ways.
In conclusion, this project suggests that new educational technology needs to be evaluated in a pedagogic context – and with the close involvement of practitioners.
This research indicates that teachers with approaches grounded in a good understanding of how to promote children’s learning will gradually and iteratively integrate the use of a new technology to serve their well-founded pedagogical intentions.