Practitioner Enquiry
1) What I wanted to change in my group
The action research project gave me an opportunity to investigate whether the use of the interactive whiteboards has a positive impact on students’ motivation in the subject.
2) How I went about this (i.e. the methods used)
The main stage of the investigation began in the new academic year
(September 2004/2005) and included two groups of students who had started their second year (A2) of the English Language A-level and were being taught by me. The reason for choosing those particular students was that the first module of the second year (Module 4) included coursework on which they would have had to do a presentation. I felt that this would enable me to investigate the changing attitudes of those students who had never used a interactive whiteboard to present their work before, but were now asked to do so for their presentations. Those students who had stated that they had never done a presentation on the whiteboard where selected for the second stage of the investigation (10 students in total). The second stage of the project included the actual presentations. In order to assess their progress in the subject, I observed the ten students during their presentations. I was looking for accuracy, clarity in the presentation, the students’ interaction with the audience, as well as their confidence when presenting.
A follow-up questionnaire formed the third and final stage of the research project. In it the ten students were asked to comment on how they thought the presentation went, how they felt during it, as well as whether they felt more motivated/enthusiastic about their English project after presenting it on the interactive whiteboard. The questions were designed both to elicit the students’ motivation, as well as address the issue of emotional intelligence.
3) What the results were for the group
The findings clearly indicated the positive role of the interactive whiteboard technology on student motivation for the subject. The data showed that, when used by students for presentations, the whiteboard was an important learning tool, which enabled them to make progress in the subject, as well as gain confidence in their knowledge.
4) What I learned as a practitioner from doing the project
As a consequence of the above findings, I have endeavoured to include more activities in my teaching that enabled students to present their work done in class, either individually or in pairs/groups, on the interactive whiteboard. This teaching technique has always proved very successful and has now been incorporated into the department’s scheme of work after discussions with colleagues.