Scholarly article on topic 'Instructional interactive whiteboard materials: Designers’ perspectives'

Instructional interactive whiteboard materials: Designers’ perspectives Academic research paper on "Educational sciences"

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{"Instructional design" / "interactive whiteboards" / "interactive whiteboard materials" / "interactive whiteboard software" / "material design" / "instructional designer candidate"}

Abstract of research paper on Educational sciences, author of scientific article — Yalın Kılıç Türel, Cihad Demirli

Abstract The purpose of this research is to examine the design and development process of instructional materials that can be used through interactive whiteboards (IWBs) in terms of three critical aspects – software selection, IWB features, and teaching methods and techniques. For this study in which 80 instructional designer candidates participated, a number of Interactive Whiteboard Materials (IWB-Ms) were designed for a variety of disciplines including mathematics, medicine, engineering, social studies, and music by groups of designers. At the end of five-week design process, participants were given a questionnaire consisted of openended questions regarding their IWB-M design. The qualitative data were examined in terms of software and tools that were utilized, supported IWB features, and instructional methods and techniques that would be employed along with the IWB-Ms’ use.

Academic research paper on topic "Instructional interactive whiteboard materials: Designers’ perspectives"

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Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences 9 (2010) 1437-1442

WCLTA 2010

Instructional interactive whiteboard materials: Designers'

perspectives

Yalin K1I19 Türel a Cihad Demirli b

aFirat University, Department of Computer Education & Instructional Technology, 23119, Elazig - Turkey bIstanbul Commerce University, Department of Educational Sciences, 34672, Istanbul - Turkey

Abstract

The purpose of this research is to examine the design and development process of instructional materials that can be used through interactive whiteboards (IWBs) in terms of three critical aspects - software selection, IWB features, and teaching methods and techniques. For this study in which 80 instructional designer candidates participated, a number of Interactive Whiteboard Materials (IWB-Ms) were designed for a variety of disciplines including mathematics, medicine, engineering, social studies, and music by groups of designers. At the end of five-week design process, participants were given a questionnaire consisted of open-ended questions regarding their IWB-M design. The qualitative data were examined in terms of software and tools that were utilized, supported IWB features, and instructional methods and techniques that would be employed along with the IWB-Ms' use. © 2010 Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Keywords: Instructional design, interactive whiteboards, interactive whiteboard materials, interactive whiteboard software, material design, instructional designer candidate.

1. Introduction

Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs), occasionally called as electronic whiteboards or smart-boards, have taken researchers and instructional institutes' attention, especially for the last decade. There are a variety of IWBs that are utilized in instructional settings, most of which are small apparatuses mounted to a traditional whiteboard with the connection of a computer and a projector. IWBs with the support of the IWB software enable following features: Highlighting, screen-shade, spotlight, annotation, capturing, record, handwriting recognition (OCR), zooming, screen sharing over network, and so on.

IWBs have been performed in several disciplines and regarded as having potential to facilitate instruction owing to numerous advantages including easy-to-use, interactivity, adaptability to various environments, and usability with most of instructional methods and techniques successfully (Cuthell, 2003; Smith et al., 2005; Moss et al., 2007). By virtue of all those benefits of IWBs, it enhances various crucial indicators including learners' interaction, achievement, active participation, attention, and motivation in a positive manner (Becta, 2004; Beauchamp & Parkinson, 2005; Glover, Miller, Averis, & Door, 2007). As a consequence, most countries have paid special attention to generalize the IWB use in school settings (Ashfield & Wood, 2008; Turel, 2010).

* Yalin Kiliç Türel. Tel.: +90-505-560-0260; fax: +90-424-236-5064. E-mail address: yturel@firat.edu.tr.

1877-0428 © 2010 Published by Elsevier Ltd. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2010.12.346

On the other hand, there are quite few factors including lack of IWB training, insufficient technical support, and lack of materials hindering the common usage and effectiveness of IWB (Becta, 2004; Hutchinson, 2007; Somyürek, Atasoy, & Özdemir, 2009). One prominent problem with IWBs is that there are not an adequate amount of well-designed instructional materials compatible with IWBs namely IWB-Ms. Since little attention is given to IWB design process, instructors and researchers frequently have called attention to difficulties of designing and finding pedagogically appropriate IWB materials for instructional settings (Glover & Miller, 2001; Smith et al., 2005; Somyürek et al.,2009; Türel, 2010).

IWB-M design requires considering certain features and qualifications peculiar to IWBs as well as general design elements and principles of instructional materials. From the pedagogical perspectives, effective learning can be provided if those certain features are considered and combined with the appropriate teaching strategies, methods and techniques. Therefore, this study aims to determine the design and development process of instructional materials that can be used through interactive whiteboards (IWBs) in terms of three critical aspects - software and tools that were utilized, supported IWB features, and instructional methods and techniques that would be employed along with the IWB-Ms' use.

2. Methods

For this researh, 80 instructional designer candidates, majoring in Department of Computer Education and Instructional Technology as third year students in a government university in Turkey, participated into IWB-M design project. Participants, taking the Multimedia Design and Development (MDD) course at 2010-spring semester and being familiar with IWBs and instructional material design, worked in groups and each group developed a distinct material particular to a specific discipline area such as mathematics, medicine, electronic engineering, computer engineering, social studies, veterinary, and physical education. The groups were responsible for designing IWB-Ms that would cover two-week course content for the selected disciplines. It needs to be elucidated that the courses and disciplines were chosen randomly from the separate departments and the content of the courses selected for this project happened to be mostly theoretical rather practical. Each material was developed by pertaining group with the continuous technical support and feedback from subject matter expert of the selected topic, instructor who was teaching the MDD course, and one instructional designer specialized on IWBs.

Before embarking on designing phase, participants were reminded about basic features and usage of IWBs, IWB software, and auxiliary software and tools, which were already taught in previously taken courses by the participants, in a tree-hour workshop. During the project, participants were given complete freedom while designing their IWB-Ms. Therefore collected data totally reflect on participants' own preferences. Design process lasted five weeks and at the end of this process, participants were given a questionnaire consisted of open-ended questions regarding their IWB-M design. Content validity and face validity of the questionnaire was determined by using judgments of four experts from related departments. Collected qualitative data were transformed into electronic format and analyzed by performing qualitative content analysis procedures with QSR Nvivo 8. In qualitative analysis process, data were examined in terms of following aspects: (a) software and tools that were utilized, (b) supported IWB features, and (c) instructional methods and techniques that would be used along with the IWB-Ms. For each of these main (parent code) categories, sub-theme (child code) lists were created in accordance with the statements of the designers. After then, connections were set by transforming the findings in the suitable form of modeling which reflects links among concepts.

3. Findings and Discussions

In this section, the findings and discussions are presented within three sub-headings: the software and tools utilized, the prominent IWB features in design process, and applicable instructional methods and techniques with IWB-Ms.

3.1. The Software and Tools Utilized

On evaluation of the needs, behaviours, and preferences of IWB-M designers, one of the critical points is to determine which kinds of software and tools were utilized in design process. Cuthell (2003, p.6) stated that "without appropriate educational software, however, the full pedagogical value is difficult to develop". Therefore designers are suggested to regard assistive software and tools which are utilized while designing. Most IWB software support importing other file formats such as movie, flash animation, web-pages, Acrobat (pdf) documents, and Office Applications (Word, PowerPoint etc.) and intervention to them (Miller, Glover, & Averis, 2008) besides other instructional technologies including document camera and microscope. This facility allows designers to be more flexible by reducing the restrictions of certain software in their design process. There are also a myriad of software created special for particular domains such as mathematics, music, sport, and medicine. In example, interactive mathematic software (i.e. Microsoft Math, Geogebra) can enhance the current potential of IWB software (BECTA, 2004; Miller et al., 2008). Thus, designers were asked which software they used. After the examination of participants' responses, results were presented schematically in Figure 1. According to the model given in Figure 1, it is apparent that designers mostly benefited from advance-software technologies rather simple tools and applications in order to enhance interactivity of their materials. They mainly preferred graphic and animation software as well as software used for picture and video processes. In addition to IWB software tools, designers preferred to use utility programs for creating and processing pictures, movies, audios, animations, codes, and other media files. As seen in the model, there is a wide range of software and tools available and utilizable in IWB-M design process for designers as well as teachers who design materials to enrich their instruction.

Figure 1. Software and tools utilized in design process by designers

3.2. The Prominent IWB Features in Design Process

It is highly important to determine which IWB features were involved in design process to create interactive and effective materials since such features have critical effects on making materials more interactive and dynamic, consequently facilitating learning and instruction (Beauchamp & Parkinson, 2005; Smith et al., 2005). In the questionnaire, participants were encouraged to report which IWB features were supported by their IWB-Ms. Received responses were analyzed and the results are presented in Figure 2. As seen in the figure, designers mainly focused on the following IWB features: Mouse function, screen-shade (cover), annotation, spotlight, gallery, and highlighting. Besides, large majority of designers (n=68) who emphasized on mouse function of IWBs also pointed out how this function enables users to enhance interaction with further techniques such as hide and reveal, drag and drop, playing imported media (i.e. audio, video, and animation), and so on.

Figure 2. Frequency of usage of IWB features

3.3. Applicable Instructional Methods and Techniques with IWB-Ms

IWB features and appropriate teaching strategies, methods, and techniques should be considered together in order to design effective IWB-Ms, as suggested by Warren (2003). In this section, instructional methods and techniques (IM&Ts) that seemed to be viable and adaptable with IWB-Ms in design process on the basis of instructional designers' perspectives were investigated. At this point, the designers were asked the following question: "Which instructional/teaching methods and techniques (IM&Ts) that you mainly considered during the design process may be used by an instructor when he/she uses the IWB-M you designed while teaching?" Participants' responses were analyzed under two categories: Stated IM&Ts and stated together with IM&Ts (see Table 1).

Table 1 shows the number of statements for each IM&Ts both as alone and as pair with other IM&Ts. To exemplify, although lecture was mentioned 58 times in total, it was being used alone only 21 times as a teaching method. In addition, lecture was stated, for example, 5 times together with class discussion method.

Yalin Kilig Turel and Cihad Demirli /Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences 9 (2010) 1437-1442 Table 1. Numbers of Stated and Stated Together with- for IM&Ts

Methods and 4 , Stated together with

Techniques (IM&Ts) (total) Lecture Simulation Brain Storming Class Discussion Demonst. and Practice Concept Map S. Group Discussion Case Study Problem solving Question & Answer

Lecture 58 21 3 - 5 14 6 1 2 3 28

Simulation 6 3 1 - - - - - - - 3

Brain Storming 1 - - - - 1 - - - - 1

Class Discussion 6 5 - - - 1 1 2 - 1 5

Demonstration and Practice 26 14 - 1 1 3 1 1 1 2 16

Concept Map 7 6 - - 1 1 - - - 1 5

Small Group Discussion 2 1 - - 2 1 - - - - 1

Case Study 3 2 - - - 1 - - - 1 2

Problem solving 3 3 - - 1 2 1 - 1 - 1

Question and Answer 44 28 3 1 5 16 5 1 2 1 4

It is apparent from the Table 1 that lecture, question and answer, and demonstration and practice are prominent comparing to the others. Those are also the most preferred ones together with other methods/techniques. This result might stem from two main reasons: (1) participants were aware that the IWB-Ms that they were designing would be used in traditional classroom settings with face-to-face instruction and (2) the selected part of the course content for almost all materials was predominantly theoretical. As a result, lecture, question and answer, and demonstration and practice were dominant methods in this study. Another important finding is that the participants expressed that they attempted to visualize the course content and to facilitate social interaction for better learning. Indeed, a vast majority of them (n=51) took account more than one method/technique in their design. To sum up, designers declared the importance of making students be more active in classroom settings and, for achieving this, the need for considering appropriate teaching method or, if applicable, methods together.

4. Conclusion

Although the effects of IWBs on students' learning have been proved in the literature, the main source of this achievement relies on the design process of IWB materials. For this purpose, tendencies and preferences of eighty IWB-M designers were investigated in terms of three dimensions: Software and tools, IWB features, and teaching methods and techniques. The results show that designers were employed a wide range of software and tools including graphic and animation, sound, picture and video processing software and web design software as well as utilities such as gif-to-swf converters in order to create visual, interactive and usable materials. They also considered and utilized a variety of IWB features including particularly mouse function, screen-shade, annotation, spotlight, gallery, and highlighting. Finally, designers benefited from various teaching methods and techniques either alone or combined with the others while designing their IWB-Ms.

One implication of the study is that the effects and usability levels of designed IWB-Ms should be examined. More specifically, the usability of teaching methods and techniques that designers took into account could be investigated in real classrooms. Moreover, an unexpected situation for this particular project was that all selected content were mainly theoretical. Thus, this study should be replicated for practical courses in order to understand whether designers tend to use teaching methods other than lecture, question and answer, and demonstration and practice.

References

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