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.


  • Aldrich, F., Rogers, Y., & Scaife, M. (1998). Getting to grips with ‘interactivity’: Helping teachers assess the educational value of CD-ROMs. British Journal of Educational Technology, 29(4), 321–332.
  • Beauchamp, G. (2004). Teacher use of the interactive whiteboard in primary schools: Towards an effective transition framework. Technology, Pedagogy and Education,13(3), 327–348.
  • Beauchamp, G. & Kennewell, S. (2010). Interactivity in the classroom and its impact on learning. Computers & Education, 3(54), 759-766.
  • Blyth, C. (2010). Foreign language teaching methods: Speaking.
  • Bygate, M., Skehan, P and Swain, M. (Eds.) (2001), Researching pedagogical tasks: second language learning, teaching, and assessment. London: Pearson.
  • Cutrim Schmid, E. (2010). Developing competencies for using the interactive whiteboard to implement communicative language teaching in the English as a Foreign Language classroom. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 19(2), 159-172.
  • Cutrim Schmid, E. (2008). Potential pedagogical benefits and drawbacks of multimedia use in the English language classroom equipped with interactive whiteboard technology. Computers and Education, 51(4), 1553-1568.
  • Cutrim Schmid, E., & Whyte, S. (Eds.) Teaching languages with technology: communicative approaches to interactive whiteboard use. A resource book for teacher development. Bloomsbury.
  • Cutrim Schmid, E. & Whyte, S. (2012). Interactive Whiteboards in State School Settings: Teacher Responses to Socio-constructivist Hegemonies. Language Learning and Technology, 16 (2): 65-86. PDF
  • Glover, D., Miller, D., Averis, D., & Door, V. (2007). The evolution of an effective pedagogy for teachers using the interactive whiteboard in mathematics and modern languages: an empirical analysis from the secondary sector. Learning, Media and Technology, 32, 5–20.
  • Gray, C, Pilkington, R, Hagger-Vaughan, L and Tomkins, SA. (2007). Integrating ICT into classroom practice in modern foreign language teaching in England: making room for teachers’ voices. European Journal of Teacher Education, 30 (4), 407-429
  • Gray, C. (2010). Meeting Teachers’ Real Needs: New Tools in the Secondary Modern Foreign Languages Classroom. In Thomas, M. & Cutrim Schmid, E. (Eds.), Interactive Whiteboards for Education: Theory, Research and Practice. Hershey, New York: Information Science Reference, 69-85.
  • Hennessy, S. & L. London (2013). Learning from International Experiences with Interactive Whiteboards: The Role of Professional Development in Integrating the Technology. OECD Education Working Papers, No. 89, OECD Publishing.
  • Jewitt, C., Moss, G., & Cardini, A. (2007), Pace, Interactivity and Multimodality in Teachers’ Design of Texts for Interactive Whiteboards in the Secondary School Classroom. Learning, Media and Technology 32 (3), 303-317.
  • Long, M. (1996). The role of the linguistic environment in second language acquisition. In Ritchie, W. C. & Bhatia, T. (Eds.), Handbook of Second Language Acquisition. New York: Academic Press.
  • Plowman L. (1996). Designing interactive media for schools: a review based on contextual observation. Information Design Journal 8 (3),258-266.
  • Savignon, S. J. (2007). Beyond communicative language teaching: What’s ahead?. Journal of Pragmatics, 39(1), 207-220.
  • Somekh, B., Haldane, M., Jones, K., Lewin, C., Steadman, S., Scrimshaw, P., Woodrow, D. (2007). Evaluation of the Primary Schools Whiteboard Expansion Project – summary report. (P. a. L. Centre for ICT, Trans.): Manchester Metropolitan University.
  • Whyte, S. (to appear). Implementing and researching technological innovation in language teaching: the case of interactive whiteboards for EFL in French schools. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Whyte, S. (2013). Orchestrating learning in the language classroom: the IWB as digital dashboard. Babylonia 2013(3), 55-61.
  • Whyte, S., & Alexander, J. (2014). Implementing tasks with interactive technologies in classroom CALL: towards a developmental framework. Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, 40 (1), 1-26. PDF
  • Whyte, S., Beauchamp, G., & Alexander, J. (in press). Researching interactive whiteboard (IWB) use from primary school to university settings across Europe: an analytical framework for foreign language teaching. University of Wales Journal of Education.
  • Whyte, S., Cutrim Schmid, E., van Hazebrouck, S., & Oberhofer, M. (2013). Open educational resources for CALL teacher education: the iTILT interactive whiteboard project. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 26 (5).

“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