AILA presentation on second language interaction at the IWB

Second language interaction with interactive technologies: the IWB in state school foreign language classrooms

This paper investigates second language interaction at the interactive whiteboard (IWB). Video-recorded lessons of eleven French and German teachers of EFL were analysed for use of IWB features but also language interaction, using a 4-level scale (drill, display, simulation and communication) to capture learners’ opportunities to use English.

Shona Whyte (University of Nice, France)
Euline Cutrim Schmid (University of Education Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany)
Gary Beauchamp (Cardiff Metropolitan University, UK)

AILA 2014, Brisbane, Australia.  11 August 2014.


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“Interaction” and “interactivity” are controversial terms in second language research (SLA) and educational technology (ICT studies) respectively, but both are key to investigation of the interactive whiteboard (IWB) in foreign language (FL) teaching. ICT research reveals some confusion between technical and pedagogical interactivity and, in the case of IWB research, shows no straightforward causal relationship between technical interactivity with the IWB and pedagogical interactivity leading to enhanced learning (Higgins, Beauchamp & Miller, 2007).
In cognitive SLA theories (Long, 1996; Gass, 1997), analysis of interaction focuses on “defective” language use and the conversational adjustments thought to drive acquisition. Social theories, in contrast, highlight the effective strategies of speakers with limited linguistic resources (Firth & Wagner, 1997); in today’s “post-methods era” (Richards & Rogers, 2001) teachers often integrate these opposing views to design learning activities offering learners differing levels of interaction.
This study analyses video recorded lessons with eleven state school teachers in France and Germany to investigate teacher and learner interaction at the IWB in FL classes. Participants’ views were gathered via learner focus-group interviews and semi-structured video-stimulated teacher interviews, as part of a wider multilingual European research project on IWB-supported FL teaching. 75 illustrative short clips were compared with the wider project data set in terms of participant IWB use, IWB tools/features, and language teaching objectives. These were then analysed in terms of the interactions at the IWB in each clip. A framework for classifying interaction was developed with four levels of interaction (drill, display, simulation, and communication), including dimensions that focus on form/meaning, level of contextualisation and authenticity of tasks, as well as teacher/learner control over activities.
Findings allow the correlation of differing levels of interaction with IWB use, participant characteristics, and teachers’ IWB experience, shedding light on learners’ opportunities for interaction in this context.

Gass, S. M. (1997). Input, interaction, and the second language learner. Routledge.
Firth, A., & Wagner, J. (1997). On discourse, communication, and (some) fundamental concepts in SLA research. The Modern Language Journal, 81(3), 285-300.
Higgins, S., Beauchamp, G., & Miller, D. (2007). Reviewing the literature on interactive whiteboards. Learning, Media and Technology, 32(3), 213-225.Long, M. H. (1996). The role of the linguistic environment in second language acquisition. Handbook of second language acquisition, 26, 413-468.
Richards, J. C., & Rodgers, T. S. (2001). Approaches and methods in language teaching. Ernst Klett Sprachen.


Presentation Type
Individual Paper

B: Language Teaching and Learning

B5: Educational Technology and Language Learning

Recherches en enseignement-acquisition des langues en France : les revues scientifiques

AILE : Acquisition et Interaction en Langue Etrangère

ALSIC : Apprentissage des langues et systèmes d’information et de communication

APLIUT :Recherche et pratiques pédagogiques en langues de spécialité – Cahiers de l’APLIUT

Asp : Anglais de Spécialité

CORELA : Cognition, Représentation, Langage

ELA : Etudes de linguistique appliquée

Mélanges CRAPEL

Langues modernes

LIA : Language, Interaction and Acquisition




Recherches en Didactique des Langues et des Cultures – Cahiers de l’Acedle

Revue française de linguistique appliquée

Travaux Neuchâtelois Linguistique