Teachers Attitudes Towards The Use Of Interactive Whiteboards Education Essay

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The aim of this research was to assess current teacher attitudes towards the implementation of technology using interactive whiteboards. Forty teachers answered questionnaires and five teachers had additional interviews regarding their attitudes and experiences with interactive white boards (IWBs). The data resulting from this research was then analysed and compared with the existing research and literature on the adoption of technology in UK schools. This project utilised a Technology Acceptance Model from current technology research that strongly suggests teachers will adopt IWBs when the perceived usefulness (usefulness they see in the technology) is stronger than the perceived ease of use (in this case, the difficulties they face in using IWBs). The majority of teachers utilised IWBs regularly; however, a major difficulty preventing real usefulness was the lack of appropriate training. More than half of these teachers had no formal training in the use of this technology. Since government policy suggests that there are definite pedagogical outcomes desired from technological implementation, teacher technology training needs to be an area of further research.

Table of Contents

Introduction _1532714931"4

_1532714931"4

Literature Review _1532714931"4

Methodology _1532714931"6

Findings _1532714931"8

Discussion _1532714931"12

Conclusion _1532714931"13

Appendix 1: Questionnaire for teachers _1532714931"13

Appendix 2: Interview questions for teachers _1532714931"15

Appendix 3: Response Data _1532714931"17

Bibliography _1532714931"19

Teacher's attitudes and experiences towards the use of

Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs) as a teaching and learning tool

Introduction

Current UK governmental policy initiatives, such as Harnessing Technology: Transforming Learning and Children's Services recommend that teachers increase their use of technology to improve student academic growth (Department for Education and Skills, 2005; Loveless, 2010; P. Smith, Rudd, & Coghlan, 2008). This has lead to increasing interactive whiteboard (IWB) use in UK primary and secondary schools (Becta, 2008; Department for Education and Skills, 2005; Madden, Prupis, Sangiovanni, & Stanek, 2009, p. 15; H. J. Smith, Higgins, Wall, & Miller, 2005, p. 91).

Using an IWB enriches a classroom with images, sound, pre-prepared lessons, and access to the Internet in multiple modalities (G. Beauchamp & Parkinson, 2005, p. 97; Lewin, Somekh, & Steadman, 2008, p. 292). What makes the interactive whiteboard so potentially useful is that teachers can use this technology from a teaching position in the classroom rather than sitting at a computer (S. Kennewell, Tanner, Jones, & Beauchamp, 2008, p. 64). IWB's are thought to improve student motivation, participation, collaboration, depth of learning, as well as increase pupil-teacher interaction (G. Beauchamp & Parkinson, 2005, p. 97; Gillen, Staarman, Littleton, Mercer, & Twiner, 2007, p. 11; S. Kennewell, et al., 2008, p. 64).

Literature Review

One way to think about technology in general and interactive whiteboards specifically is to consider the IWB a tool for people to use (Gillen, et al., 2007, p. 12; Lewin, et al., 2008, p. 293; G. Beauchamp & Parkinson, 2005, p. 101; Jonassen, 2006; S Kennewell, 2001 p107; S. Kennewell, et al., 2008, p. 65; Lewin, et al., 2008, p. 295; Loveless, 2010, p. 9; Zevenbergen & Lerman, 2008, p. 124). According to research, teacher attitude toward technological tools is the most important factor in the successful implementation of technology in the school system (Efe, 2011, p. 229; Teo, Wong, & Chai, 2008, p. 128; Watson, 2001, p. 259). Researchers have been examining this issue from a theory known as the Technology Acceptance Model (Pynoo et al., 2010, p. 569; Teo, et al., 2008, p. 129). Basically this theory suggests that people accept technology based upon the perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use.

Most studies have found that the more useful a person believes the technology is (perceived usefulness), the more likely a person will attempt to use it (Pynoo, et al., 2010, p. 569; Teo, et al., 2008, p. 129). Versatility, shorter preparation time, ability to save lessons, better classroom management with improved student behaviour, improved lesson pacing, more multisensory lessons with multimedia, expanded interactivity throughout lessons, the potential to reach more students with increased student success are all aspects of perceived usefulness (G. Beauchamp & Parkinson, 2005p. 312; Gillen, et al., 2007, p. 12; Gray, Hagger-Vaughan, Pilkington, & Tomkins, 2005, p. 38; S. Kennewell, et al., 2008, p. 62; Moss et al., 2007, p. 6; Slay, Siebˆrger, & Hodgkinson-Williams, 2008, p. 1335; H. J. Smith, et al., 2005, p. 92; Teo, et al., 2008, p. 267; Wood & Ashfield, 2008, p. 84; Zevenbergen & Lerman, 2008, p. 110).

Perceived ease of use is defined as a teacher's anticipation of difficulties connected with using the technology (Pynoo, et al., 2010, p. 569; Teo, et al., 2008, p. 129). Learning and implementing the use of IWBs takes considerable effort (Borghans & Weel, 2006, p. 1; Lewin, et al., 2008, p. 239; Miller, Glover, & Averis, 2009, p. 3; H. J. Smith, et al., 2005, p. 98). It is complicated to integrate this tool into their personal pedagogy and lesson planning (Moss, et al., 2007, p. 4; Slay, et al., 2008, p. 1332). This requires a significant investment of time not available to most teachers (Efe, 2011, p. 229; Watson, 2001, p. 260). Teachers need unrestricted access to IWB's in order to master the technology and become comfortable with its use (Gray, et al., 2005, p. 38). Some schools do not have enough technology for this to happen (Efe, 2011, p. 229; Madden, et al., 2009, p. 25; Watson, 2001, p. 257; Zevenbergen & Lerman, 2008, p. 110).

Interactive Whiteboards have significant potential to change the way teachers teach at a very basic level (Gray, et al., 2005, p. 43; Higgins, Beauchamp, & Miller, 2007, p. 221; Watson, 2001, p. 252). Teachers have the ability to experience the full range of potentialities offered by the IWB or they can utilise this new resource according to their standard and usual manner of teaching (Bateson, 1972; G. Beauchamp & Parkinson, 2005, p. 306; Gillen, et al., 2007, p. 12; S. Kennewell, et al., 2008, p. 71; Knight, Pennant, & Piggott, 2004, p. 4; Miller, et al., 2009, p. 4; Teo, et al., 2008, p. 265; Watzlawick, Weakland, & Fisch, 1974; Wood & Ashfield, 2008, p. 86; Zevenbergen & Lerman, 2008, p. 109). This can be considered both an indication of usefulness and/or a difficulty connected to IWBs (Lewin, et al., 2008, p. 295). Teacher's beliefs regarding pedagogy will determine their perspective on this issue (Gary Beauchamp & Kennewell, 2008, p. 306; S. Kennewell, et al., 2008, p. 65; Zevenbergen & Lerman, 2008, p. 124).

Methodology

This research was basic qualitative research that was attempting to assess teacher's feelings and attitudes toward the use of Interactive Whiteboards. Questions were developed according to the above literature and these concepts. Forty secondary school teachers were asked to fill in and respond to a 10 question multiple-choice questionnaire. This questionnaire is attached (Appendix 1). Out of those who answered, five teachers were selected for further interview. The additional interview questions can be found in Appendix 2. A chart of the answers and their breakdown are listed in Appendix 3.

This research was conducted with an awareness of the responsibility to teacher-respondents according to the values described in the British Revised Ethical Guidelines for Educational Research Data (2004). Questionnaires were distributed and interviews conducted without discrimination against anyone for any reason, showing respect for individual differences. Teachers who participated understood that their participation was entirely voluntary. They were informed of the nature of this research and the reasons for it. Complete privacy and confidentiality of their participation and their responses was assured. No personal data was collected. All questionnaires were returned without names or any identifying characteristics. Questionnaires were kept in a secure cabinet with no access except for this researcher. Those involved in this research were not previously known by this researcher, nor were there any dual relationships with them other than researcher and participant. No deception was involved in any aspect of this research.

Participants were assured that they could answer the questions in the questionnaire in full, in part, or not at all. They could change their minds about participating at any time with no repercussions. No vulnerable people were included in this project. No incentives were offered or given to convince people to participate. Participants were advised that they could speak to this researcher regarding their reactions to the questions involved if they so desired. This research was conducted in a nonbiased format in order to arrive at honest results. There was no attempt to manipulate, prove or disprove an agenda.

Data was collected, collated and analysed according to frequency of each response. Since some answers were given in both the interview and questionnaires, the number of answers to different questions varies somewhat. As basic research, this type of analysis provides further directions for additional research.

Findings

Teachers who believe that technology will be useful to them are more likely to make the attempt to use IWBs. In this research, teachers assert that the primary reason they use an IWB is that it offers a variety of usages and makes their lessons less stressful as represented in the diagram to the right. For some, the newness of this technique makes their task more interesting. The reasons teachers give for attempting to utilise IWBs include it's variety of educational uses (32% of the teachers), reduction of stress (25% of the teachers), a new approach to teaching (22% of the teachers), to develop their ICT skills (17% of the teachers) and the IWB is their only available board (4% of the teachers).

Question No.2, "Do you use an interactive whiteboard as part of your teacher tool?" was chosen as one method of viewing the issue of perceived usefulness. A tool is useful. Eighty percent of the teachers who participated viewed the use of IWBs as one aspect of their teacher repertoire rather than as somehow distant from them. Most of the teachers involved in this research did believe that an IWB was a tool for them to use. Only 5% of the teachers did not use an IWB as part of their teacher tool.

Technological attitude can be seen to some extent by how often a teacher uses an IWB. Thus, question No.4, on average how many lessons per day do you interact with the whiteboard? People who use their technology more frequently are assumed to think it is useful. In this case, approximately one-third of the teachers used their IWB for 1-2 lessons each day and approximately one-third of the teachers used their IWB for 3-4 lessons per day. This data implies that teachers are using their technology on a regular basis.

Teachers seem to view IWB's as a helpful tool in many areas of education. The data split closely with 22% of teachers acknowledging their belief that IWBs improve planning, 20% reporting their belief that an IWB improves pace, 26 % reporting that they believe IWBs help develop a better lesson flow and 24% believe that their organisation is helped by the use of an IWB. Fewer teachers have seen an improvement in student behaviour.

On the other hand, 95% of the teachers perceive the IWB as useful for improving student comprehension of new concepts.

Teachers continue to see value in IWB, with opinions reasonably evenly split between thinking that this technology increases pupil motivation (18%), pupil involvement (25%), teacher motivation (15%), and teacher involvement (17%).

Research strongly suggests that if a teacher believes that any difficulties inherent in technology are greater than what they perceive as its usefulness, that teacher will not use the technology. When the IWB is not easily available, teachers are unable to access it and become familiar enough with it to become comfortable. Therefore, question No.1 was asked to assess IWB access, a strong issue of perceived ease of use. In this research the majority of respondents answered yes.

Educational researchers stressed the philosophy of pedagogical change as a result of technology. If teachers are using their IWBs as an interaction teacher tool, they are thought to be attempting pedagogical change. Are teachers using IWBs from their old pedagogy or are they integrating this new technology and creating new ways of teaching? Most of the teachers who answered this question are using their IWB as an interactive teaching tool.

The literature on technology implementation stresses the importance of teacher training. Most research emphasizes the lack of training as a barrier to positive integration of new technology. Yet more than half of the teachers participating have had no formal training in the use of an Interactive Whiteboard.

The issue of saving lessons can refer to perceived ease of usage. The question attempts to understand how teachers are adapting to the new technology. Teachers who do not save their work have not yet realised this time saving value inherent in technology. These teachers are in the minority. A removable memory stick allows teachers to save their lessons but not to share with one another. This could be another time saving mechanism and an experience that increases teacher technology skill. The same is true of a personal network area. These teachers are in the majority. A full two-thirds of the teachers use a memory stick or a personal network area to save their work. Only one-quarter of the teachers are saving their work to their department's resource bank where teachers could easily share their work with each other.

Discussion

Governmental policy encourages the increased use of IWB and other technology in education to improve student success over time. The literature review addressed technology as a tool to be utilized by teachers according to the perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use. In the ideal, according to governmental policies, teaching would change and adapt with the result being greater student success. This will only happen if teachers can see that the usefulness of IWBs outweighs the difficulties involved in utilizing them.

A simple survey was administered to 40 teachers and interviews were conducted with five more teachers. The teachers believe that utilising IWBs will improve student motivation, motivation, involvement in learning, teacher-student interaction and ability to learn new concepts. Most teachers do view the IWB as a tool for them to use in their teaching. Teachers are using their IWBs on a reasonably regular basis. They view this tool as useful for teachers as well as students. Teachers believe that IWBs make their job easier in terms of lesson planning, pacing lessons, lesson flow, organisation, and ability to orchestrate classroom interaction.

While IWBs are readily available for use, there is a major problem with training for their use. As more than one-half of the teachers in this research project had no formal training in the use of interactive white boards, it is unlikely that the desired governmental educational changes could reasonably be expected to occur. As long as teachers are being given technology without the training to give them a depth of understanding, they will realistically implement this technology from the pedagogical knowledge they have.

Conclusion

Teacher's attitudes and experiences towards the use of Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs) as a teaching and learning tool was conducted to assess how current secondary school teachers match the research literature. Researchers and governmental policy-makers suggest that IWBs can change pedagogy for the better, improving student attainment. Many articles mention the need for teachers to adapt themselves to the technological advances in order to accomplish this change.

However, research also carefully explained that if the perceived usefulness did not outweigh the perceived ease of use, teachers would not make the effort to alter their thinking and teaching behaviour. For the most part, the teachers who participated in this study are using IWBs on a regular basis. The technology is available. However, without the designated training that allows educators to understand technology at a deep level, technology will simply be funnelled through the existing pedagogy. This was illustrated by the simple question about saving their work. Few teachers take advantage of the opportunities to share work by saving on a school-wide server. Hopefully, future research will assess what needs to occur for teachers to be given technology training that would allow them to use the full resources of available technology.

Appendix 1: Questionnaire for teachers

Do you have an interactive whiteboard available as often as you would like?

Yes

No

Do you use an interactive whiteboard as a teacher tool? (Please tick only one)

Yes

No

Sometimes

As part of your teaching how do you use the whiteboard? (Please tick only one)

As an interactive board

(You touch it with you pen or finger, write on it, etc)

As a display board

(Just to project work for the projector with no interaction)

Both

On average how many lessons per day do you interact with the interactive whiteboard?

No lessons 1 - 2 lessons 3 - 4 lessons 5 - 6 lessons

Have you had formal whiteboard training? (Please tick only one)

Yes

No

On a teacher's perceptive which of these features do you think interactive whiteboards can improve? (More than one can be ticked)

Planning

Pace

Flow of lessons

Do you think using an interactive whiteboard improves understanding of new concepts? (Please tick only one)

Yes

No

Do you think interactive whiteboards increases :- (Please tick one or more)

Pupil's motivation

Pupil's involvement

Teacher's motivation

Teacher's involvement

What has encouraged you to use an interactive whiteboard? (Please tick one or more)

A new approach to teaching

Its variety of usage

To develop your ICT skills

It is the only board in the classroom

Make the lesson less stressful

How do you save the information created? (Please tick one or more)

Do not save work

Department's recourse bank

Removable memory stick

Other methods

Personal network space

Appendix 2: Interview questions for teachers

Do you use an Interactive Whiteboard? If so how long have you been using one?

What do you use the Interactive Whiteboard for? Why?

What type of interaction does the Interactive Whiteboard encourage? Why?

How has the Interactive Whiteboard improved your teaching and learning? Why

If you had the choice which medium (Interactive or plain Whiteboard) would you use as a teaching tool? Why?

What has been the key influence(s) that has encouraged you to use the Interactive Whiteboard?

What things would prevent you from wanting to use the Interactive Whiteboard?

Appendix 3: Response Data

1. Do you have an interactive whiteboard available to use as often as you would like?

Yes

34

85%

No

6

15%

Total

40

100%

2. Do you use an interactive whiteboard as part of your teacher tool?

Yes

32

80%

No

2

5%

Sometimes

6

15%

Total

40

100%

3. As part of your teaching how do you use the whiteboard?

As an interactive board

28

70%

As a display board

6

15%

Both

6

15%

Total

40

100%

4. On average how many lessons per day do you interact with the whiteboard?

No lessons

2

5%

1-2 lessons

14

35%

3-4 lessons

14

35%

5-6 lessons

10

25%

Total

40

100%

5. Have you had any formal whiteboard training?

Yes

18

45%

No

22

55%

Total

40

100%

6. Features they think IWB can improve

Planning

10

22%

Pace

9

20%

Flow of lessons

12

26%

Organisation

11

24%

Behaviour management

4

8%

Total

46

100%

7. Do you think using an interactive whiteboard improves understanding of new concepts?

Yes

38

95%

No

2

5%

Total

40

100%

8. Do you think interactive whiteboards increase?

Pupil's motivation

12

18%

Pupil's involvement

16

25%

Teacher's motivation

10

15%

Teacher's involvement

11

17%

Active pupil participation

16

25%

Total

65

100%

9. What has encouraged you to use an interactive whiteboard?

Encourage to use IWB:

A new approach to teaching

9

22%

Its variety of usage

13

32%

To develop your ICT skills

7

17%

Only board in the classroom

2

4%

Make the lesson less stressful

10

25%

Total

41

100%

10. How do you save the information created?

How do you save the information created

Do not save work

9

22%

Department's resource bank

13

32%

Removable memory stick

7

17%

Other methods

1

4%

Personal network space

10

25%

Total

40

100%

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