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Investigating the impact/role of the interactive whiteboard on teaching practices in Maltese kindergarten classrooms through an activity theory approach

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

Published
  • Rose-Anne Camilleri
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Publication date2019
Number of pages208
QualificationPhD
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Advisors
Publisher
  • Lancaster University
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Technology in the 21st century is changing the face of society as much as it is transforming learning and teaching practices. At kindergarten level children are already immersed in technology, challenging teachers into re-thinking their pedagogies to be able to effectively integrate digital tools into their classrooms, a change which is a complex process. This research investigates if and how the Interactive Whiteboard (IWB), as a technology-enabled tool, supports/challenges teachers into transforming their pedagogical practices from the teachers’ perspectives in Maltese kindergarten classrooms.
Activity theory (AT) as the main theoretical framework was adopted to examine and analyse the pedagogical activity within this specific sociocultural context, enabling the capture of the whole dynamics of the activities taking place, underlining how the IWB acts as a multimodal tool enabling teaching and learning. The teacher as the facilitator plays a crucial role in the dynamics of this activity system.
The findings result from participative observations within ten Maltese kindergarten classes and interviews with the kindergarten educators. They perceive the IWB as an important mediating tool which stimulates and motivates learning while in the process supports and transforms their teaching practices. The tensions which emerged were mainly due to the lack of support both in technical and pedagogical aspects as well as that by school leaders. Lack of training and professional development was predominantly hindering the full potential of the IWB tools. These challenges in some instances acted as the driving forces behind change in pedagogy.
The major recommendations arising from this study suggest a clear strategy for a whole school policy for technology uptake, emphasis on continuous professional development, opportunities for sharing of practice, and a shared leadership approach. These factors are influential and determine whether a shift can transpire in how far teachers exploit this curricular integration or use the IWB merely as a substitution, as technology for its own sake.