Talking about science in interactive whiteboard classrooms

Karen Murcia, Rachel Sheffield

Abstract


Teachers using interactive whiteboards (IWB) effectively can engage and motivate students with a range of digital resources to explore science's role in making sense of our world and to construct knowledge of key scientific concepts. The case study research described in this paper illustrates how interactive pedagogies in the IWB classroom were used to support whole class substantive discourse about science. A sociocultural framework structured the exploration of the discourse surrounding four teachers and their students' use of IWB technology in their primary science classrooms. Action research methods and a professional learning intervention were used for both exploring and developing teachers' understanding of the interactive technology and its impact on the nature of classroom talk. Comparing video captured lessons with and without the use of the IWB provided some initial evidence of an increase in students' participation in substantive science conversations and exploratory talk. The preliminary analysis of the data summary across the four case studies suggested that the teachers were using more open questions, greater wait time and required greater participation from students. This research suggests that teachers' effective IWB pedagogy impacts positively on the way students talk about science. Seven principles of effective interactive pedagogy focused on enhancing discourse emerged from the action research. It is recommended that these principles be used with IWB technology to scaffold deep substantial science discourse, which is essential in developing students' scientific literacy.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14742/ajet.1062

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