learners, interactive teaching, teacher, London, Open University Press, interactive whiteboard, ICT, Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, primary school, Moyles, Hargreaves, interactivity, Effective teaching, DfEE, Australian Computer Society, Teaching and Learning, Sutherland, R., primary schools, National Literacy Strategy, Kennewell, National Numeracy Strategy London, Teacher Education, British Journal of Educational Studies, Cambridge Journal of Education, Routledge Hargreaves, teaching approaches, learner, teachers, interactive technologies, interactive technology, pedagogical content knowledge, interactive approach, interactive whiteboards, Technology, Pedagogy and Education, interactive presentation, National Numeracy Strategy
INTERACTIVE TEACHING WITH INTERACTIVE TECHNOLOGY Kennewell, S. University of Wales Swansea, Swansea School of Education, Hendrefoelan, Swansea SA2 7NB. E-mail: [email protected]
ABSTRACT Some of the recent initiatives which aim to improve teaching and learning in schools in the UK have promoted the idea of `interactive teaching'. Other schemes promote the use of interactive technologies for learning, yet no strategy has been developed for linking the two policies or investigating how interactive technology supports interactive teaching. This paper examines different interpretations of interactive teaching, considers why such teaching is believed to be more effective than approaches which place the teacher in a different role, and analyses the evidence concerning its effectiveness. It discusses what advantages, if any, the use of ICT offers to teachers pursuing interactive teaching approaches in the classroom, then characterises the ways in which ICT needs to be integrated into teachers' pedagogical content knowledge if it is to support a move from `surface' to `deep' interactive teaching. Using a number of case studies
drawn from research in primary and secondary schools, it explores how interactive teaching can be supported and improved using interactive technologies in the classroom. It concludes by considering the implications for forthcoming research into ICT and interactive teaching. 1. WHAT IS INTERACTIVETEACHING AND WHY IS IT CONSIDERED EFFECTIVE? There is widespread agreement that high quality interaction between teacher and learners is an important element of effective teaching. During recent years in the UK, much has been made of the need for `interactive teaching', although gaining agreement over its nature and defining the role of the teacher in the process are problematic (Merry and Moyles, 2003). Most proponents would support the idea that it involves sustained two-way communication with the learners and it may be valuable, therefore, to develop an analysis which focuses on interactivity from the learner's perspective. In the traditional model of direct teaching, the only interactive resource available to the learner was the teacher. Other resources for learning blackboards, pen/paper, books, artefacts, audio/video have only facilitated one-way communication and require metacognitive effort on the part of the user in order to construct knowledge from them. In order to sustain the engagement of learners with underdeveloped metacognitive skills, therefore, a high degree of teacher intervention is required. As a consequence, whole-class teaching approaches have dominated recent initiatives to improve standards of attainment, and it is considered characteristic of good teaching that the whole class feels simultaneously engaged in the process of interacting with the teacher. Interactive teaching is mostly used to refer to classroom settings in which a whole class of learners is expected to behave in the same way. The phrase `whole class interactive teaching' was introduced by Reynolds and Farrell (1996) as a way of representing how they felt that teachers in Pacific Rim countries were able to achieve high attainment levels in international comparisons by keeping classes of learners progressing through learning material together. Brown, Askew, Baker, Denvir and Millett (1998) suggest that it is not so much the model of classroom organisation which is the key feature in promoting learning, however, but the quality of teacher-pupil interaction. Moyles, Hargreaves and Merry (2003) argue that effective interactive teaching is characterised by sustained interchange between teacher and learners involving the sharing of ideas rather than the traditional initiation-response-feedback sequence of teacher questioning. Muijs & Reynolds (2001) characterise interactive teaching primarily in terms of the nature and effectiveness of the teachers' questioning of learners. They suggest that questioning allows the teacher to check the learners' understanding of the matters being taught; it allows students to practice and master the skills involved, and to clarify their thinking; it enables the teacher to provide scaffolding for learning. They draw on American research, primarily during the 1980s, which indicates the importance of: · using questions to review prior learning at the start of the lesson and stimulate reflection on what has been learned at the end of the lesson; · creating a climate where learners feel encouraged to make a response to questions; · including higher-level and strategic questions, open questions, and process questions; · acknowledging the learners' response and give clear feedback, particularly if the learner seems hesitant;
· prompting the learner by rephrasing or breaking down the question if there is an incorrect response or no response; · wait long enough for the learner to formulate a response before prompting; · asking another learner rather than the teacher answering the question. Questioning is not the only approach which can generate interaction, however; Muijs & Reynolds (2001) acknowledge that discussion can be effective in engaging learners, helping develop understanding, and helping develop Communication Skills
. They indicate that it should be clearly focused, carefully prepared by teacher and learners, and the results summarised afterwards. The National Literacy Strategy (NLS) and parallel numeracy strategy in England (DfEE, 1998a, 1999) advocate interactive teaching as one of the factors contributing to success, along with discussion, pace, confidence and ambition. They define teaching as interactive when "pupils' contributions are encouraged, expected and extended" (DfEE, 1998a: 8). However, even with the limited DfEE definition it seems that interactive teaching is hard to achieve. Indeed, Galton, Hargreaves, Comber and Wall (1999) found that, since the advent of the National Curriculum in England, the amount of teacher talk had increased overall but the ratio of questions to statements had declined. Smith, Hardman, Wall and Mroz (2004) found that primary teachers devote an average of 60% of lesson time to whole class teaching, of which 74% of the time comprised teacher talk. The most frequent discourse moves were closed questions and evaluative statements, reflecting an initiation-response-feedback sequence rather than sustained interaction or higher order thinking. The teachers considered most effective used rather more questions overall, but the types and distribution of questions was broadly the same. Hargreaves, Moyles, Merry, Paterson, Pell and Esarte-Sarries (2003) identified an increase in the proportion of questions since the advent of the NLS in primary schools in England, although statements were still the dominant form of teacher talk. They felt that an emphasis on higher-order questioning is an important element of effective interactive teaching, and this has not been explicitly encouraged by government initiatives. They found inconsistent changes following the adoption of the NLS: with 5-7 year old pupils, the proportion of higher order questioning had dropped, whereas with 8-11 year olds it had increased considerably, although pupil responses were only rarely `extended'. This was only the case in literacy lessons, however, and the opposite trends were found in other areas of the curriculum. Furthermore, exploration of questioning about task organisation revealed a massive shift from questioning to telling pupils about tasks, which indicates a major reduction in learner autonomy. Cooper & McIntyre (1996) highlight the essential feature of bidirectionality of influence between pupils and teachers in effective teaching, which requires teachers to have integrated knowledge of their students into their pedagogical thinking. Their studies of teachers found a continuum of positions between `interactive' and `reactive' teaching, where the interactive end of the continuum is characterised by planning in advance the content and approach of the lesson in order to match the curriculum goals to the perceived needs of the learners, whereas the reactive end is characterised by minimal outline planning and a teaching approach which draws on learners' interests and intentions as they emerge. Merry & Moyles (2003) note that whilst the NLS definition matches Cooper & McIntyre's (1996) interactive teaching, teachers' descriptions of interactivity are more closely related to the characteristics of reactive teaching. Hargreaves et al. (2003) derive nine different types of interactive teaching from teachers' descriptions of how the interpret interactive teaching. These are divided into `surface forms': · engaging pupils · pupil practical and active involvement · broad pupil participation · collaborative activity · conveying knowledge and `deep' forms: · assessing and extending knowledge · reciprocity and meaning making · attention to thinking and learning skills · attention to pupils' social and emotional needs/skills. Burns and Myhill (2004) identify some important factors and unifying themes present in interactive lessons: · reciprocal opportunities for talk which allow children to develop independent voices in discussion; · appropriate guidance and modelling when the teacher orchestrates the language and skills for thinking collectively; · environments which are conducive to pupil participation ;
· an increase in the level of pupil autonomy. This suggests a move away from teacher direction towards learner independence. Furthermore, Burns and Myhill (2004) claim that the more questions teachers ask, the less children say, and this may indicate a reduction in productive thinking as a result of continued low level questioning. Even with the inclusion of higher order questioning, it is debatable whether the continuation of questioning for a high proportion of time is effective in developing learners' higher order skills, since the principles of `scaffolding' require the structure provided by the teachers' questions to be withdrawn as the learners develop their own skills. The role of the teacher in creating `common knowledge' (Edwards and Mercer, 1987) in a class is of particular interest. Common knowledge is formed by the teacher using their curriculum and pedagogical content knowledge to help pupils articulate and evaluate their varying individual knowledge in an interactive way. The understanding which is coconstructed in this way can be appropriated by the pupils in a way that cannot be achieved by other means of presenting the ideas, however engaging. For this Interactive Approach
to be successful, a balance is needed between whole class and individual/group work, and ICT needs to be seen as a tool which can facilitate enquiry and critical thinking. This can improve pupils' learning, but teachers may need support in taking risks (John & Sutherland, 2004; Sutherland, Robertson and John, 2004). Edwards and Mercer (1987) make an important distinction between `ritual' and `principled' knowledge in analysing the way that ideas `known' by the class as a whole support individual learning; ritual knowledge
concerns procedures, and is heavily context bound, whereas principled knowledge involves understanding and can be used to solve problems in new contexts. The sort of teaching which develops principled knowledge shares characteristics with the `deep' form of interactivity. 2. WHAT IS INTERACTIVITYIN ICT? There are other features of the classroom which can support interaction for individual learners, notably other learners and ICT. These have also been studied extensively over recent years. Pair and group working only rarely achieves sustained two-way communication in practice, however, and often constitutes a number of learners working individually and comparing results. ICT's potential for interaction has been less well analysed, surprisingly since interactivity is usually the first feature suggested when teachers are asked what is special about using ICT in teaching and learning. A glance at most case studies and surveys which provide sufficient detail concerning learners' activity with ICT suggests that, for the individual leaner, ICT does indeed provide an agent with which learners can communicate to and receive feedback from, and that this two-way communication tends to be sustained. As well as supporting interaction for the individual learner, however, there is also evidence that ICT is effective in supporting genuine group interaction (Hoyles, Healy & Pozzi, 1994), and with the recent developments in interactive presentation technologies (IPTs), there is currently much interest in how ICT can support whole-class interactive teaching. The clearest definition of ICT's interactivity was introduced for two major teacher education
initiatives in the UK in 1998; it was expected that all trainee and serving teachers learn how to exploit the following features of ICT: · Speed · Automaticity · Capacity · Range · Provisionality · Interactivity (DfEE, 1998b) Interactivity in particular was defined as "the function of ICT which enables rapid and dynamic feedback and response" (DfEE, 1998b: 11). In studies carried out with teachers since then which have used these features to analyse the potential for learning activity afforded by ICT (Kennewell, 2004), the original `provisionality' and `interactivity' were found to be hard to distinguish, confused in their purpose, and also dependent on speed and automatic function. As a result, three more distinct features `editability' and `transformability', and `feedback' have been substituted for use in recent research. · Editability: the ability to easily change something which has been produced. · Transformability: the ability to change the form of a representation. · Feedback: the automatic provision of a response to an action by the user.
3. HOW CAN INTERACTIVETEACHING BE SUPPORTED BY ICT IN THE CLASSROOM? It might be expected that the interactivity which is characteristic of ICT (DfEE, 1998b) would assist interactive teaching, and the interactive whiteboard (IWB) should particularly helpful for teaching characterised as interactive. Indeed, in 2003 the Welsh Assembly Government invested in one IWB for every primary school and three for each secondary school in Wales. New schools are being equipped with an IWB and five networked PCs in each classroom as standard, and it is no longer just the enthusiastic teachers who are using ICT as a matter of routine in their teaching (Kennewell & Beauchamp, 2003; Kennewell, 2004). The degree of interactivity which tools actually afford within the classroom is clearly dependant on the use to which they are put. Teachers vary in their degree of confidence and competence with these technologies (Kennewell et al, 2000). Despite the widespread uptake of government funded training for the use of ICT in subject teaching across the UK, most of teachers' professional learning concerning the use of ICT is gained through individual exploration of software and through sharing ideas with colleagues (Ofsted, 2004). In this situation, the development of an integrated `pedagogical ICT capability' in relation to the IWB seems to follow a continuum in terms of technical and pedagogical skills (Beauchamp 2004). Comparison of this scale with Hargreaves et al.'s typology of interactive teaching suggests that there may be a link between levels of pedagogical ICT capability and the depth of interactivity in teaching. Consequently supporting teachers in progression from `surface' to `deep' interactive teaching would be a worthwhile goal for professional development
in ICT. A more detailed analysis of the use and effect of ICT's interactivity in teaching has been carried out using a framework for teacher orchestration of activities, abilities and features of classroom settings (Kennewell, 2001; 2004). This framework places learners' activity at the centre of the learning process
, with the teacher's roles being to set tasks requiring learners to exert some cognitive effort, to assess learners' knowledge and skills, and to provide just sufficient potential and structure for action in relation to their abilities so that they can complete the tasks. Using this framework, interactive teaching can be considered as the active and sustained orchestration of features of the classroom setting in relation to the continuous monitoring of learners' abilities, the task goal and the LEARNING OBJECTIVES
. 3.1 Examples Exploratory studies in primary and secondary schools have been carried out in order to develop further our knowledge of the features of ICT and their potential for improving learning (Kennewell, 2004). The settings for these studies involved a range of typical teachers who happened to be provided with technology-rich classrooms, rather than selected for exemplary practice. The data has been further analysed to investigate how interactive teaching may be influenced by the easy availability of ICT. Teachers who were interviewed commented on the value of ICT in preparing "interactive lessons" (primary teacher), and observations in their classrooms indicated that the teacher's interactions with pupils were planned in detail beforehand and appropriate multimedia material prepared for use on the interactive whiteboard which was available in every room. Powerpoint was frequently used, in addition to the special `flipchart' software supplied with the boards, in both primary and secondary schools, to produce "interactive presentations" (secondary teacher). Interactive in this context was thought to mean dynamic/animated, but the presentations were used as affordances for pupil responses during questioning sequences and the easy availability of clear, dynamic, visual stimuli for pupil-teacher interaction led to an increase in the momentum and flow of the lesson. The teacher did not need to cause delays and distractions by organising teaching material or clearing the board for new content. Indeed, the teacher became almost a bystander as the learners seemed to engage more directly with the material being considered. Teachers particularly noted the greater attention levels of pupils with learning difficulties. In addition, the flipchart software seemed to afford a greater amount of pupil contribution to activity at the front of the class. They were confident in writing on the board by hand, in the knowledge that there was an immediate `undo' button if the reaction of their classmates or the teacher indicated that their ideas were not accepted. There were also many examples of activities at the board which involved `dragging' words or images to the correct place on a diagram or table. The ease with which this could be carried out seemed to support a high level of reflective and strategic discourse between teacher and pupil or, indeed, the rest of the class and the pupil on many occasions with the teacher only providing minimal structure to the process. Although usually only one child at a time was working at the board, teachers felt that the whole class would be thinking through the task; furthermore, they would be thinking at a reflective level, as they considered what alternative responses were likely and attempted to predict what where they might go wrong. This way of working was familiar to many teachers who had used the approach previously with ordinary whiteboards, but the features of ICT made the process much easier to manage. 3.2 Scenario 1: Mathematics teaching with children aged 8-9
The school used the standard three-phase lesson format from the National Numeracy Strategy (DfEE, 1999). The first phase of the lesson involved the teacher using an interactive whiteboard to carry out a number of whole-class activities. The first merely used the board to display questions such as 8Ч9 and 23-17 one by one for the children to answer in unison by holding up plastic figures so that the teacher to see whether all the children were correct. The large, clear display and the instant, smooth change from one question to the next allowed this to proceed at a rapid pace, appropriate to the purpose of practising recall of number bonds and simple mental calculations. The second activity involved some problem-solving strategy development. The teacher displayed on the board three numbers and set the task of making lowest value from them using +, -, Ч, ч. He prompted to use divide to help get a low number. One volunteer pupil was asked to come up to front to do this on board; he wrote 3ч6, which created a background noise around the class that suggested something was wrong. The teacher prompted him to change it round, and without further prompting he used the `undo' feature of the handwriting software and rewrote the sum as 6ч3. Another pupil devised a complex expression and used brackets without prompting to indicate the order of operations. The learners appeared to benefit from the easy, clear writing with electronic pen, the instant deletion of mistakes and the unlimited space (a new `page' was started for each attempt). The third activity required the children to formulate a calculation from five single digits using +, -, Ч, ч for which the answer was 100, with the constraint that each digit must be used once each. The values 5, 5, 2, 4, 8 were displayed, and again pupils volunteer to write their answers on the board. The first pupil wrote 5Ч5Ч4=100, second pupil (5+5)Ч(8+2), with no prompting. 3.3 Scenario 2: History teaching with children aged 11-12 The three-phase lesson format was used for all subjects in this secondary school. In this lesson, pupils were learning about the features, causes and effects of `The Black Death' a plague which killed large numbers of British people in the 14th Century. For the first phase, the teacher used a prepared Powerpoint presentation with images and graphics to stimulate thinking about the topic during an interactive whole-class questioning sequence, to confirm points given as answers, and to support his explanation of the key ideas. The main phase of the lesson involved the continuation of an activity in which groups of five pupils produced mindmaps concerning the topic on large sheets of paper onto which pupils arranged prepared cards. The teacher explained to them that the following lesson, each group would use Publisher on the five individual PCs in the classroom to write up the points covered in their mind map using a magazine format. The teacher later explained that the manual approach increased the involvement of all five children in the group, compared with using PCs where only two or three tended to contribute. The third phase of the lesson was a review activity concerning the main learning points. A flipchart had been prepared displaying a table with three columns, the headings for each column, and words placed in random order along the bottom of the page which were to be dragged into appropriate columns. Pupils were nominated to come up in turn to move the words into the correct columns, using the knowledge they had gained from the earlier manual activity. This involved some strategic thinking when pupils were unsure of the place to move their word to, and some gauged the reaction of the rest of the class when dragging a word to different possible positions before letting it drop when the others pupils indicated agreement. 3.4 Scenario 3: English teaching with children aged 11-12 The lesson concerned the study of the Shakespeare play `A Midsummer Night's Dream'. For the first phase of the lesson, a prepared electronic flipchart was brought up to display the names of the main characters in the play, and volnuteer pupils were invited up in turn to write something they knew about one of the characters nominated by the teacher. Subsequently, another prepared page was brought up, and this was blank except for the name of one character and a two-column table. The children were asked to come up in the usual way and to handwrite electronically what the character said about other characters and what other characters said about him. The teacher next brought up a blank page and wrote up instructions for the individual writing task which the pupils were to do in the second phase of the lesson. To support this work, another prepared page brought up with a word BANK
, and pupils were asked to come up and extend this by writing onto the page words and phrases with which they were unfamiliar, so that the meaning of these could subsequently be discussed by the teacher with the whole class in the third phase of the lesson. 3.5 Learners' perspectives Some pupils in the secondary school were also interviewed concerning their use of ICT. Their comments about learning focussed on how they remembered things, and they confirmed and extended what the teachers had said and what the researchers had observed. Pupils could "think more about what [they were] writing, because [they] could easily change things" (boy aged 11). When the teacher used the computer at the front of the class, it was "interesting" and "better than just talking". In French lessons, they said that they could see from the dynamic display how words were constructed and remember them more easily. In general, they felt that they remembered things they had seen presented using Powerpoint. They felt that their producing their own Powerpoint presentations helped them to learn, and presenting ideas to the class was helpful too. They also valued the whole-class quizzes and games.
4. CONCLUSION The scenarios above illustrate a variety of ways in which the teacher provided prepared materials, added to these as appropriate during the course of the lesson, and supported the learners in constructing representations of knowledge in front of the whole class. Whilst the standard procedure of initiation- response-feedback was still predominant in the whole class activities, teachers felt that the greater role of dynamic, visual stimuli and the increased momentum of the lesson created a higher level of engagement with the whole class. This seems to generate potential for ICT to facilitate a shift from surface to deep interactivity in teaching. The availability, clarity, speed, automation, editability, transformability and feedback features of ICT (Kennewell, 2004) afford reflective and strategic thinking, and the greater attention levels allow the teacher a more sustained opportunity to probe children's ideas. ICT clearly helps teachers to give children a chance to try out their own ideas and discuss them with the whole class, which suggests movement along the Cooper and McIntyre's (1996) scale from `interactive' to `reactive' teaching. There is also evidence to support the idea that IPT helps to develop `common knowledge' within the classroom which can be drawn upon by individual learners in developing their skills and understanding. This seems to occur when the learners interact directly with the IPT. It may thus be possible to resolve the tension between teacherdirected, whole-class interactive teaching and ICT's potential for supporting play and autonomous learning by opening up the scope of `interactive teaching' to include approaches in which the features of the setting are orchestrated by the learner as well as the teacher. The studies reported in this paper were not designed to compare an ICT with a non-ICT approach, but a team based on Swansea School of Education and the University of Wales Aberystwyth have recently begun an ESRC-funded project concerning ICT and Interactive Teaching which will attempt to analyse interactive teaching of the same content with and without ICT. The research team will work with pairs of good teachers in primary and secondary schools to design teaching experiments and gather data which will allow qualitative comparison of the process of learning and quantitative comparison of outcomes. This project aims to answer many of the questions raised in considering the link between ICT and interactive teaching: · Can technology make existing good, direct teaching approaches even better by raising the level of teacher engagement with the wide variety of learners in each class? · Can it support new approaches which improve on the currently most effective methods for whole-class teaching? · Does it encourage the development of new forms of interactivity in teaching? · Does it contribute to developing `common knowledge' in the classroom as a resource for individual learners to draw on in their subsequent activities? · Is there a cognitive residue from interaction involving ICT which can be used in non-ICT activity? · Is it easier for teachers to withdraw the `scaffolding' that they provide during interactive teaching when ICT is used, so that learners develop the ability to act independently? Attempting to answer these question will provide important evidence concerning and how ICT can extend the nature, range and quality of interactive teaching.
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