Academic journal article Education Research International

Interactive Whiteboards in Mathematics Teaching: A Literature Review

Academic journal article Education Research International

Interactive Whiteboards in Mathematics Teaching: A Literature Review

Article excerpt

Academic Editor:Stefan Fries

Centre for Instructional Psychology and Technology, K.U. Leuven, Dekenstraat 2, 3000 Leuven, Belgium

Received 17 December 2013; Revised 4 April 2014; Accepted 14 April 2014; 22 May 2014

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

1. Introduction

In recent years, interactive whiteboards (IWBs) have moved from being considered a novelty into a regular part of the equipment of many classrooms, especially in the United Kingdom, and in other countries of Western Europe, North and Central America, South East Asia, and Australia. IWBs provide interesting opportunities for students and teachers alike to interact with digital content in a multiperson learning environment.

This study aims to deliver a critical analysis of the literature on IWBs in mathematics teaching, with a view to identifying strong and weak points and specifying a theoretically and practically relevant research agenda. The review first shortly discusses IWB affordances and presents the focus of the study as well as the adopted methodological approach. Next, we analyse in detail the results of empirical research on the effects of the use of IWBs on learning and students' achievement. Finally, some conclusive observations and reflections are developed, also in relation to the general literature about information and communication technology (ICT).

Technologically speaking, IWBs connect a computer--linked to a data projector--and a large touch-sensitive board that displays the image projected from the computer and allows direct input and manipulation through the use of fingers or styli. Software provided with the boards offers additional functions that improve the facility to control the computer at the touch of the screen [1]. As Beauchamp and Parkinson [2], Kennewell [3], Mercer et al. [4], and others have noted, these additional functions include the following:

(i) drag and drop : moving around screen items to allow classification, processing, comparison, ordering of terms, and so forth;

(ii) hide and reveal : allowing ideas to be shown gradually so that conceptual development takes place, and elaborating the development of hypotheses;

(iii): colour, shading, and highlighting : emphasising similarities and differences, enhancing explanations, and allowing reinforcement through greater emphasis;

(iv) multiple visualization : matching different ways to present an issue;

(v) multimedia presentation : replicating nondigital technologies such as overhead projectors, slide projectors, and video players;

(vi) manipulation of objects from other technologies and software : displaying objects elaborated in other types of software and operating with them;

(vii): movement or animation : demonstrating principles and illustrating explanations;

(viii): indefinite storage and quick retrieval of material : saving previous work as personal files and using them for revision, support, and further development.

These features, combined with a display large enough for a whole class to see clearly, provide teachers with opportunities for access to a rich blend of diverse, multimodal resources, for manipulation and exploration and for increasing class participation.

As a result, IWBs are claimed:

"to have the potential to enhance demonstration and modelling; to improve the quality of interactions and teacher assessment through the promotion of effective questioning; to redress the balance of making resources and planning for teaching; to increase the pace and depth of learning." ([5], page 2).

Mercer et al. [4] stated that "the IWB allows a flexibility in the marshalling of resources that enables teachers to create interesting multimodal stimuli for whole-class dialogue much more easily than do other technologies" (p. …

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