skip to primary navigation skip to content


Interactive Whiteboards as Pedagogic Tools in Primary Schools


The interactive whiteboard is becoming a common feature of primary classrooms in the UK and Britain appears to be leading the world in introducing this technology. However, this is taking place in the absence of a clear conception of the whiteboards as communicative and pedagogic tools. Policy for the introduction of whiteboards appears to be 'technology-led' rather than 'educationally-led'. Research on their use so far also seems predicated on the assumptions that the introduction of this new technology will transform teaching and do so for the better. Experience of earlier educational ICT initiatives show that these are dubious assumptions.

The project is designed to be a theoretically informed study, which would describe primary teachers' use of whiteboards and consider how this use relates to established pedagogic practices, patterns of classroom interaction and to educational goals. We can ask: does the availability of the whiteboard create new and distinctive patterns of interaction in classrooms, or is the new technology merely incorporated into conventional ways of teaching?

A relatively small-scale exploratory project is planned. One reason for this is that the research will involve the creation of a new methodology from existing methods, combining ways of analysing talk and ways of analysing visual aspects of communication. This methodological development could then inform a more substantial study. A second reason is that a small project can be set up and carried out quickly, thus enabling the opportunity to study the use of this new technology in its introductory phase.

The outcomes of the project include a sociocultural account of the introduction of a new technological tool in education, empirical evidence about its use and a critical but practical evaluation of the educational implications of its introduction.