Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs) – Friend or Foe?

Higgins, Beauchamp and Miller (2007) in their article ‘Reviewing the literature on interactive whiteboards (IWBs)’ discuss how IWBs affect teaching and learning. One of the most important aspects of using an IWB in the classroom is utilising the tool in an engaging and interactive manner where the technology is considered as a tool to support teaching and learning. Studies have shown that unless IWB’s are utilised in an engaging and interactive manner it runs the risk of “reinforc(ing) a teacher-centred style of delivery” (Higgins et al., 2007). It is important for teachers to become aware of some of the shortcomings or pitfalls of incorrectly utilising this equipment in order to prevent this from happening in their classroom.

The benefits of utilising IWBs in the classroom are numerous when the tool is utilised correctly. Benefits include increased student motivation and attention (Breeland, 2002). IWB’s have also been recognised for their ability to allow the exploration and use of a range of multimedia resources into the classroom (Ekhami, 2002). To maximise the positive outcomes of incorporating IWB into lessons and planning teachers must receive appropriate training and development in using this tool. As discussed in Higgins et al. (2007) teachers are the key player in determining whether the IWB and software is incorporated into the classroom in a manner that “promote(s) quality interactions and interactivity”.

Miller et al. (2004a) identified “six common techniques… that enhance interactivity between teacher, material and pupils”. One of these techniques is “drag and drop” (Higgins et al., 2007). The following activity is designed to incorporate the ‘drag and drop’ technique into the primary school classroom.



Aim: To explore how written text can complement the illustrations in a book, with particular focus on using adjectives and verbs.


Shaun Tan The Lost Thing – book and short film

IWB notebook file


  1. Having read the book view a selection of images and their accompanying text. Have students select an appropriate adjective and verb to complete the sentence or text passage. Explore all of the options in the word bank and discuss why these may or may not complement the selected image.

In light of the literature on IWB in the classroom Higgins et al. (2007) make an important point

“Good teaching remains good teaching with or without the technology; the technology might enhance the pedagogy only if the teachers and pupils engaged with it and understood its potential in such a way that the technology is not seen as an end in itself but as another pedagogical means to achieve teaching and learning goals”.




Higgins, S., G. Beauchamp, and D. Miller (2007), Reviewing the literature on interactive whiteboards, Learning, Media and technology, 32(3), 213-225




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