Orchestrating learning in the language classroom: the IWB as digital dashboard

Orchestrating learning in the language classroom: the IWB as digital dashboard
Babylonia, Special issue on language learning and technology
Submitted December 2013

Today’s technology-rich environments present a number of challenges and opportunities for language learning.  In educational circles, new methodologies based on blended learning, the flipped classroom, mobile learning, and game-based learning, to name but a few, are recommended for digitally literate and digitally motivated learners. For language teaching in particular, communicative, task-based, and socio-constructivist approaches are promoted, emphasising collaborative learning, authentic language, emergent language, and learner autonomy, again among many other buzzwords and trends.  These developments are set against a backdrop of traditional institutional infrastructures, with their constraints of obligatory programmes and curricula, assigned textbooks, examination requirements and, of course, limited technical and human resources.  In this paper I will argue that one particular technological tool, the interactive whiteboard (IWB), can offer a single, fixed point from which many of these differing and often conflicting demands can be addressed.  A large, touch-sensitive screen on which a computer desktop is projected and manipulated, the IWB can serve as a digital hub or dashboard to display, monitor and control aspects of language learning which

  • occur in class and out, face-to-face and online;
  • involve authentic, modified and learner language;
  • accommodate input from teachers and learners; and
  • admit individual, group or whole-class modes.

Unfortunately, the IWB can also be used as a convenient white space for the teacher to project lecture material.  It is the purpose of this article to suggest why such an approach is neither helpful nor inevitable, and how it may be avoided in IWB-mediated language teaching.

Teaching languages with technology: communicative approaches to interactive whiteboard use

Screen Shot 2014-01-10 at 12.47.23 AMCutrim Schmid, E., & Whyte, S. (Eds.) Teaching languages with technology: communicative approaches to interactive whiteboard use. A resource book for teacher development. Advances in Digital Language Learning and Teaching (Series editors: Michael Thomas, Mark Warschauer & Mark Peterson). Bloomsbury.

Read an excerpt

Table of Contents

1. Foreword (pp. 1-3)
Interactive Whiteboards: against the odds?
Jozef Colpaert

2. Introduction (pp. 4-32)
Theory and practice in second language teaching with interactive technologies
Shona Whyte

3. Case Studies
1. IWB in Language Education for learners with special educational needs: learning Welsh at primary school (pp. 33 – 71)
Emily Hillier
Gary Beauchamp

2. A task-based approach to videoconferencing with the IWB: a French-German primary EFL class exchange (pp. 72 – 120)
Shona Whyte
Euline Cutrim Schmid

3. Digital Storytelling in the primary EFL classroom (pp. 121 – 166)
Anika Kegenhof

4. The IWB in the CLIL classroom: using visuals to foster active learning with young beginners (pp. 167 – 201)
Helene Sailer
Euline Cutrim Schmid
Ton Koenraad

5. Using the IWB to support gamification in order to enhance writing fluency in the secondary language classroom (pp. 202 – 237)
Graham Stanley (Spain)

6. Exploring IWB use for language instruction in Turkish higher education settings(pp. 238 – 276)
Serkan Çelik

7. Academic teacher training and the IWB: coaching pre-service teachers in Belgium (pp. 277 – 318)
Margret Oberhofer
Mathea Simons
Tom Smits

4. Final Recommendations (pp. 319 – 343)
Ongoing professional development in IWB-mediated language teaching: evening up the odds
Euline Cutrim Schmid
Shona Whyte

5. Glossary (pp. 344 – 350)