EC&I 831

Interactive whiteboard tech & language learning

Because of my foreign language learning background, I’m always interested in exploring the use of technology in enhancing language learning. I came across this research articleSchmid2007 which talks about using interactive whiteboard technology in language classrooms to assess students’ prior knowledge, evaluate their understanding during the class, and add interesting competition games to stimulate student interests.

This article reveals that the use of ACTIVote system- a wireless interactive whiteboard technology- allows students to respond to questions and assessment with an individual voting keypad. The results are anonymous and immediately displayed on the whiteboard. This system enables students to get instant feedback on their responses. Students can then compare their own performance with peers, and reflect on their performance. On the other hand, the anonymity maximally preserves students’ privacy, which would motivate them to catch up with others if they fall a little behind in the assessment.

I think this is a good example of incorporating technology into language classrooms, which creates a new way for students to interacting with each other. A brief note that this article is a bit dated (published in 2007). Anyone who has experience using this kind of technology in their classrooms or has seen it being used somewhere else?

(Image retrieved from


2 thoughts on “Interactive whiteboard tech & language learning

  1. I’ve seen (and used) clicker response systems with a Smartboard. While I agree that they are a way to increase participation and to allow teachers to quickly gauge how students are doing, I think that there are other, less costly ways of doing this. Often, Smartboards and interactive whiteboards are barely used in the classroom, or they are used to drill students on low level skills. I think that the money would be much better used on, say, 1:1 iPads for students. What do you think?

    • Thank you Katia for raising an important issue that I have not considered before, the cost-effectiveness of this interactive technology. Although I have no clear idea about how much it costs to install the whiteboard system in classrooms, I do agree with you that the technology described in this article mainly focuses on encouraging student participation and interaction, which seems to have limited benefits. I think in order to fully explore the potentials of this interactive system, it is necessary to find new ways of combining it with other technology in classrooms.

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