Headlines: September 9th, 2008

A study published today shows that teachers and pupils agree that active participation and talking about their ideas in the classroom helps children learn more effectively than using ICT just because it is available. The study, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, recommends that future ICT procurement should be based on improving pupil involvement.

Researchers at Swansea Metropolitan University found that teachers liked interactive whiteboards, video clips and presentations because they encouraged pupils to participate. Children appreciate the same tools as they believe they are doing something together because the clarity of images means everyone can see the same thing. The report says it is not that they are interacting with technology, but that ICT gives them something to interact about.

Dr Steve Kennewell, who led the project, said, “Our research suggests that good teachers do not inevitably see better results when they adopt ICT because they are already using non-ICT based interactive techniques. However, by the end of the project many teachers had found ways of using new technologies to enable children to try things out for themselves”.

The findings are based on a two-stage study of interactive teaching and ICT in 21 primary and secondary schools in Wales. The researchers studied data from interviews and observations of 41 teachers who worked in pairs to plan lessons.

The research recommends that future ICT resource development, including computer software, videos, handheld devices and web-based systems, should be focused on improving pupil participation and influence over their activities.