Using interactive whiteboards results in improved student's test scores, particularly in the vital subjects of English, mathematics and science.
A new report on the impact of information and communication technology (ICT) on student achievement by European Schoolnet examined the results of 17 studies on ICT produced in the UK and other European countries between 2002 and 2006.
Key findings indicate that digital content on interactive whiteboards is engaging and motivating, students pay more attention during lessons, and interactive whiteboard use encourages greater student participation in the classroom.
South African educationist, Ron Beyers, co-author of 38 text books on technology, believes that similar results are being achieved in local schools.
“We have created for our children a world that operates on knowledge generation rather than knowledge transfer,” says Beyers. “Children want to be much more hands-on in their own education process. They want to interact with their learning tools and subjects.
“That’s why interactive whiteboards – which allow learners and educators to access the Internet during a lesson to source education content, and also to change content on the screen using their fingers or digital pens – are such powerful education media. They allow learners to access information in a way that is similar to their entertainment. They make learning a pleasure rather than a chore.”
The European report says using interactive whiteboards creates a faster pace in the classroom because interactions increase between teachers and students. Teachers’ follow-up questions are also directed to the whole class rather than to individual students.
In addition, the report shows that an overwhelming number of teachers in the UK were more confident in using ICT after they taught with the interactive whiteboard. More generally, the authors of “The ICT Impact Report: A Review of Studies of ICT Impact on Schools in Europe” state that learning outcomes at schools with good ICT resources are better than those with poor resources, and that 86% of teachers in Europe say students are more motivated and attentive when computers and the Internet are used in class.
The study also suggests that schools new to ICT need to be patient when measuring its impact on education. During the early period of adoption, results might not seem to justify the investment, and then, in the words of the of study’s authors, “suddenly everything takes off and the added value of using ICT is considerable”.
“Many studies around the world show that the use of ICT, and specifically interactive whiteboards, is effective in engaging and motivating students,” says Nancy Knowlton, SMART’s CEO. “This review by European Schoolnet reinforces those findings and provides a solid rationale for increasing the use of digital content and collaborative tools like those offered by SMART.”