Interactive whiteboards: their role in raising the quality of teaching and learning in a year 4 classroom.
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Background: interactive whiteboards have become the latest 'new' technology to appear in the classroom. In 2OO2 the Welsh Assembly Government funded an interactive whiteboard in every primary school in Wales. ln the ensuing two years many schools have extended their deployment significantly. Coinciding with this period, the school in which this study was conducted, equipped 11 of their 18 classrooms with such equipment. Aims: This study sought to gain insight into the impact one such board would have on a Year 4 mixed ability class. Methods & Procedures: A review was conducted of the combined observations of, and responses to, four KS2 lessons in which an interactive whiteboard had been used to teach a class of 31 pupils. The data on which the review was conducted took the form of researcher fieldnotes, non-participant observations carried out by colleagues with appropriate subject specific knowledge and responsibility and pupil questionnaires. Outcomes & Results; The impact of the interactive whiteboard on the learning climate was significant, a point widely reported in the nonparticipant observations. The board's motivational qualities were apparent from the outset of each lesson. During the 'presentation' phase the pupils were both focused and engaged. They were then drawn into the 'closed practice'; with their high level of engagement being attributed to the particularly visual and extensive nature of the resources being displayed. At the outset of the 'open practice/task' the pupils started immediately and competently completed the set tasks, drawing on the wide range of stimuli the interactive whiteboard had previously been used to present. Due to the tightly focused taught element the pupils were able to apply themselves with minimal additional input. Finally, the ability to call up the resources used greatly enhanced the benefit the 'plenary' sessions had on learning consolidation. Conclusions; The interactive whiteboard was seen to bring great benefits to the classroom, extending each lesson due to their ability to make extensive resources available.
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