Experimental study on added value of IWB use in Dutch Primary EFL

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For a Dutch version announcing this research posted earlier on the NL NING site on IWBs in language Ed check here.

A recent Dutch study 'Engels met digibord of boek' [English with IWB or Book] aimed to research daily practice and added value of IWB-use in primary EFL education. To this end the authors (Marjolijn Hovius, Nico van Kessel, Meike van der Linden) compared the way teachers used the course materials 'Take it easy' (especially designed for IWB-use) with a recently published textbook 'Real English New' which is largely paperbased with some digital support.
Some observations (from a really quick scan!) and driven by my interest focus on professional development. 

1) Let's start with the learning results: not a huge difference in results between experimental  and control groups, but then the period between pre- and posttest was rather short!

2) Pupils loved the IWB supported materials. Teachers, too, are really enthousiastic about using the IWB. FYI, teacher education for EFL teaching in NL primary education is very basic so teachers appreciate very much that the materials can support educational activities such as oral presentation of new content and pronunciation training as they feel less comfortable with those themselves.
And for this reason pupils benefit as their learning space is much improved.

3) More teacher training is needed to actually use the opportunities the IWB materials offer to serve different needs within the pupil groups.

4) At the end of the day the teacher is still KEY, despite the support 'the digital teacher' definitely offers.

The observations on the potential of peer-to-peer learning for teachers match well with findings (Lewin et al., 2009) based on data from a longitudinal research study (the UK Primary School Whiteboard Expansion Project) reporting on the success of informal learning communities in schools.

Which means even more evidence for one of the arguments we put forward in our application for the iTILT project on IWBs in Language Education.

Download the full report  (in Dutch!)

Cathy Lewin, Peter Scrimshaw, Bridget Somekh and Maureen Haldane (2009). The impact of formal and informal professional development opportunities on primary teachers' adoption of interactive whiteboards. Technology, Pedagogy and Education. Vol. 18 No. 2, July 2009, 173-185