Lately, teaching has become increasingly cumbersome for instructors, especially in cases where students have learning difficulties. The use of traditional chalkboards (or blackboards) to administer diagnostic tests has failed to improve the performance of students. Individuals have varying learning difficulties in aspects such as comprehension and attention. Others possess hearing, touch, and vision impairments that demand teachers to use appropriate diagnostic tools to identify their needs. Failure to recognize the needs of learners leads to poor performance; hence, their potentials to accomplish educational goals remain untapped. The aim of this study is to show that the use of interactive whiteboards in diagnostic assessment improves student performance capabilities.
Definition of Basic Terms: Diagnostic Assessment, Technology, and Interactive Whiteboard
The Diagnostic Assessment of Reading (DAR) is mainly used in pedagogy to evaluate the needs of students. Such needs vary in aspects such as vocabulary development, reading fluency, understanding, and phonemic mastery. This form of assessment is usually administered in elementary schools. However, it can be used in higher levels of learning to assess students who have reading difficulties (Haldane, 2007). Technology is used to imply the application of modern methods of task performance using electronic rather than traditional assessment tools. On the other hand, an interactive whiteboard is a diagnostic tool that uses computer software together with other multimedia hardware to assess the abilities of students (Haldane, 2007).
Background and Justification
Recent pedagogical theories hold that active participation in learning activities plays a vital role in knowledge acquisition and retention, especially amongst children. Diagnostic assessment tools are used to facilitate the active engagement of students in the learning process over and above the administration of DAR tests (Haldane, 2007). The introduction of interactive whiteboards in classrooms has been a crucial move towards improving the teaching-learning process. The tools are used together with a computer and projector to display the learning content on a screen. This arrangement creates a room for interactive learning, as the teacher engages the students in participatory activities. It provides an opportunity for both the teacher and learners to view the content on a large screen; hence, the limitations of reading content from the traditional blackboard are greatly reduced. Through the projector, the computer displays eligible fonts that enhance the instructional process. Consequently, comprehension of new information is significantly improved since the teacher identifies the learning abilities and student needs easily.
Schools are social institutions that involve the interaction of students, teachers, and parents among other stakeholders (Haldane, 2007). Technology is swiftly changing the way tasks are accomplished in the contemporary world. Day-to-day human activities use technology. As schools play their educative role, they should ensure that students match the pace of technology in the labor market (Haldane, 2007). Therefore, the introduction of modern technology to improve student achievement should be considered by both parents and sponsors. Funding should also be provided for the acquisition of equipment and teacher training. According to Haldane (2007), the introduction of technological teaching aids in schools is paramount to not only the success of the students but also the creation of knowledge societies. Numerous researchers also attest that modern teaching aids promote the understanding of concepts. In this context, complex phenomena can be illustrated through simulation.
Statistical Evidence, Setting, and Findings
A study that was conducted in an elementary school in Ohio revealed that the use of interactive whiteboards improves the level of comprehension amongst students. Two groups that consisted of 25 students were selected. However, only one of the groups was subjected to a test using the interactive whiteboards. This test is aimed at investigating the effects of using IWBs on test outcomes. The averages of the scores were computed separately for the two groups. The average for the first group that had been assessed using interactive whiteboards in class was 20.7, while that of the control group was 10.3. This research revealed that the application of modern technology in the learning process had a positive impact on student scores (Judson, 2006).
Teachers were also interviewed to express their perceptions, beliefs, and thoughts concerning the introduction of IWBs in classrooms (Thomas & Schmid, 2010). Most of the interviewees attested that the tool promoted their motivation due to increased interactive activity in the learning process. In addition, teachers said that they found the tool valuable because it brought about convenience in the instructional process. They also expressed a higher level of satisfaction with the introduction of the interactive whiteboards in classrooms; hence, the replacement of traditional blackboards was an important achievement (Thomas & Schmid, 2010).
Deficiency of Evidence
The above literature indicated a few limitations. For instance, the study was based on the teachers’ perceptions of IWBs. In addition, the sample size was technically limited. Some of the teachers who were involved in the sampling procedures either had just begun using IWBs or had not started using them. As a result, they were insufficient sources of data for evaluation. To address the issue, the data was obtained from experienced teachers and students who had already used the IWBs. Therefore, the information was firsthand, reliable, and accurate (Judson, 2006).
Significance of the Study
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of using interactive whiteboards in the assessment of reading scores. The use of IWBs had greatly influenced teacher preferences, perceptions, and needs. Most of them agreed that the teacher’s perceptions on variables such as attitudes, satisfaction, convenience, comfort, motivation, and acceptance were taken into account. Learners’ abilities to rehearse, comprehend and tend to remember the procedures that were displayed on the electronic boards were investigated.
To accomplish the study, a qualitative research method was adopted. The technique facilitated the evaluation of the teacher’s perceptions and beliefs concerning their familiarity with the use of IWBs in classrooms. This method is mostly preferred for effective understanding and interpretation of the thoughts and beliefs of a person. An appropriate strategy was also used to eliminate the chances of bias. The information was not shared with other people who were not involved in the research (Judson, 2006).
Affected Audience and Benefits
According to Wall, Higgins, and Smith (2005), the use of interactive whiteboards will benefit both the teachers and learners. The advantages of using interactive whiteboards cannot be underrated because impressive performance is inevitable in the end. The provision of education to children not only defines their career path but also serves as a reward to society. At the outset, interactive whiteboards bring about a mutual agreement amongst students and teachers. It also results inconvenience since the use of computers to deliver instruction improves the accessibility of content (Judson, 2006; Kennewell & Morgan, 2003). The new technology also allows storage of class discussions and lesson notes; hence, students can access them frequently. Absent students can also access the discussions from the rest. Therefore, the adverse effects of student absenteeism are significantly reduced. In addition, the usage of the interactive whiteboard is flexible. It accommodates numerous learning styles. This situation accommodates students with disabilities. Furthermore, tactile students can learn easily through touching. On the other hand, learners can also record audio notes (Thomas & Schmid, 2010).
Furthermore, the significance of the IWB is manifested through its interactivity. Learners are fully engaged in learning due to instant feedback. This situation improves understanding (Haldane, 2007). Besides, electronic boards provide a wide display for visually impaired students. Moreover, more cooperation is evident when using interactive whiteboards as compared to traditional chalkboards. The IWB page color can be altered depending on the student preferences, especially for those who suffer from dyslexia (Kennewell & Morgan, 2003).
The aim of this study was to examine the influence of interactive whiteboards on student achievement. Most education specialists prefer using the diagnostic assessment tool. Numerous researchers also attest that the method boosts the overall performance of a student. School administrators, board of education members, and parents need to support the implementation of IWBs in schools. This situation will improve the understanding of student needs with a view of identifying suitable guidelines for teachers. As a result, they will be able to choose appropriate instructional methods in an attempt to tap the academic potentials of learners. Governments should also support schools to implement the use of technological aids. This situation will reduce the cost of learning in the end. Dropout rates will also decrease significantly due to improved understanding of content.
Haldane, M. (2007). Interactivity and the digital whiteboard: weaving the fabric of learning. Learning, Media and Technology, 32(3), 257-70.
Judson, E. (2006). How teachers integrate technology and their beliefs about learning: Is there a connection? Journal of Technology & Teacher Education, 14(3), 581-97.
Kennewell, S., & Morgan, A. (2003). Student teachers’ experiences and attitudes towards using interactive whiteboards in the teaching and learning of young children. Australian Computer Society, 34(1), 65-69.
Thomas, M., & Schmid, E. (2010). Interactive Whiteboards for Education: Theory, Research, and Practice. Hershey PA: IGI Global.
Wall, K., Higgins, S., & Smith, H. (2005). The visual helps me understand the complicated things: Pupil views of teaching and learning with interactive whiteboards. British Journal of Educational Technology, 36(5), 851-67.