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Event title:

Primary Interactive Whiteboard project

Timeline Date

January 17, 2002


Government, Department or Organisation

Secretary of State



BECTA Category

Event Content

By disapplying the ICT programme of study from September this year schools will be able to offer a more creative and challenging curriculum, drawing on support and advice from those best positioned to judge what an ambitious and forward-looking curriculum should contain.


The DfES Primary Schools Whiteboard Expansion project[edit]
At the same time, there is evidence of improved performance gains with the use of interactive whiteboards. The BECTA (UK) commissioned a study into the impact of Interactive Whiteboards over a two-year period. This study showed a very significant learning gains, particularly with second cohorts of students, where they benefited from the teacher’s experience with the device.[9]

Between 2003 and 2004, The DfES Primary Schools Whiteboard Expansion project (PSWE) provided substantial funding to 21 local authorities for the acquisition and use of interactive whiteboards in UK primary schools. The BECTA-sponsored study investigated the impact of this investment with 20 local authorities, using data for 7272 learners in 97 schools.

Variables considered in the research included length of exposure to interactive whiteboard technology, the age of pupils (down to individual birthdays), gender, special needs, entitlement to free schools meals and other socio-economic groupings. The implementation and impacts of the project were evaluated by a team at Manchester Metropolitan University, led by Professor Bridget Somekh. To date it is the largest and longest study conducted into the impact of interactive whiteboards.

Key findings[edit]
The principal finding of this large-scale study was that, “[w]hen teachers have used an interactive whiteboard for a considerable period of time (by the autumn of 2006 for at least two years) its use becomes embedded in their pedagogy as a mediating artefact for their interactions with their pupils, and pupils’ interactions with one another.” The authors of the study argued that “mediating interactivity” is a sound concept, offering “a … theoretical explanation for the way in which the multi-level modelling (MLM) analyses link the length of time pupils have been taught with interactive whiteboards to greater progress in national test scores year on year.”

The research showed that interactive whiteboard technology led to consistent gains across all key stages and subjects with increasingly significant impact on the second cohorts, indicating that embedding of the technology into the classroom and teacher experience with the technology are key factors.

Gains were measured in ‘months progress’ against standard measures of attainment over the two-year study period.

In infant classes, ages 5–7:

In Key Stage 1 Maths, high attaining girls made gains of 4.75 months over the two years, enabling them to catch up with high attaining boys.
In Key Stage 1 Science, there was improved progress for girls of all attainment levels and for average and high attaining boys.
In Key Stage 1 English, average and high attending pupils all benefited from increased exposure to interactive whiteboards
There was also clear evidence of similar impacts in Key stage two – ages 7 – 11

In Key Stage 2 Maths, average and high attaining boys and girls who had been taught extensively with the Interactive Whiteboard made the equivalent of an extra 2.5 to 5 months progress over the course of the two years.
In Key Stage 2 Science, all pupils, except high attaining girls made greater progress with more exposure to the IWB, with low attaining boys making as much as 7.5 months additional progress
In Key Stage 2 writing, boys with low attainment made 2.5 months of additional progress.
There was no adverse impact observed at any level.

Evidence indicates that recent curriculum and qualifications reforms have not led to significant improvements in the teaching of ICT, and the number of students progressing to further study in ICT-related subjects is in decline. Furthermore, the ICT curriculum in its current form is viewed as dull and demotivating for pupils. Its teaching may not equip pupils adequately for further study and work, may leave them disenchanted or give rise to negative perceptions that turn them off the subject completely.

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