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Analysing target language interaction in IWB-mediated activities: from drills to tasks in state secondary EFL classes

Increased access to interactive technologies such as the interactive whiteboard (IWB) together with a methodological shift towards constructivist pedagogies are changing many classrooms and prompting research into effects on teaching and learning (Avvisati, 2013; Higgins, Beauchamp & Miller, 2007). Studies of IWB use in second language classrooms in European school and university settings suggest an often cautious approach to this new tool: the IWB is generally integrated into existing practice rather than acting as a catalyst for pedagogical transformation. Teachers tend to use a limited range of IWB tools and features for closely circumscribed teaching objectives, and generally follow personal pedagogical goals rather than adopting the communicative language teaching (CLT) and task-based language teaching (TBLT) approaches which currently underpin official programmes (Cutrim Schmid & Whyte, 2012; Whyte et al., 2013). A recent study of TBLT with the IWB using questionnaire, video, and interview data from 9 French EFL teachers found that transformation towards task-oriented teaching was associated with teachers with high IWB fluency and particular pedagogical engagement (Whyte & Alexander, in press).

The present study extends this line of research in an investigation of teacher and learner interaction using video recorded lessons with eleven state school teachers in France and Germany. In addition to primary classroom data, participants' views were gathered via learner focus-group interviews and semi-structured video-stimulated teacher interviews, as part of a wider multilingual European research project on IWB-supported FL teaching. This analysis led to the development of a framework for classifying interaction, which includes CLT and TBLT criteria. The framework includes four levels of interaction, from the most basic level of drilling, through activities where teachers invite learner to display knowledge, more contextualised simulation activities, and finally to genuinely communicative tasks. The classification system includes the dimensions of focus on form/meaning, level of contextualisation and authenticity of tasks, and teacher/learner control.

The study allows for the correlation of differing levels of interaction with IWB use, participant characteristics, and teachers' IWB experience, describing and explaining the level of interactivity and task-orientation of IWB-supported language teaching and learning in classes at different proficiency levels and across teachers with varying IWB and language teaching experience.

Avvisati, F., Hennessey, S., Kozma, R., & Vincent-Lancrin, S. (2013). Review of the Italian Strategy for Digital Schools. OECD Education Working Papers, No. 90, OECD Publishing.
Cutrim Schmid, E. & Whyte, S. (2012). Interactive Whiteboards in School Settings: Teacher Responses to Socio-constructivist Hegemonies. Language Learning and Technology 16 (2), 65-86
Higgins, S., Beauchamp, G., & Miller, D. (2007). Reviewing the literature on interactive whiteboards. Learning, Media and technology, 32(3), 213-225.
Whyte, S., & Alexander, J. (in press). Implementing tasks with interactive technologies in classroom CALL: towards a developmental framework. Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology
Whyte, S., Cutrim Schmid, E., van Hazebrouck, S., & Oberhofer, M. (2013). Open educational resources for CALL teacher education: the iTILT interactive whiteboard project. Computer Assisted Language Learning.


Shona Whyte    
Université Nice Sophia Antipolis

Euline Cutrim Schmid    
Pädagogische Hochschule Schwäbisch Gmünd

Euline Cutrim Schmid is a professor of TEFL and Applied Linguistics at the University of Education Schwaebisch Gmuend in Germany. She teaches at undergraduate and postgraduate levels on a variety of topics including: CALL, applied linguistics, and qualitative research methodologies. She is the author of Interactive Whiteboard Technology in the Language Classroom: Exploring New Pedagogical Opportunities (2009) and co-editor of Interactive Whiteboards for Education: Theory, Research and Practice (2010).

Gary Beauchamp    
Cardiff Metropolitan University
United Kingdom

Gary Beauchamp is Professor of Education and Director of Research in the School of Education at Cardiff Metropolitan University. He teaches both undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as supervising PhD students from UK, Jordan and Kuwait. His research focuses on ICT, particularly interactive technologies, and he has been involved in many funded research projects in the area of ICT in teaching and learning. He has published widely in academic journals and is author of ‘ICT in the Primary School: From Pedagogy to Practice’ (2012).


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