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Stephanie Miller Fall 2012 EDTC 670 Dr.

Tim Green

Interactive Whiteboards in the Music Classroom A Literature Review

Few things have the opportunity to alter education the way technology does. From electronic grade books expediting the grade averaging process to the internet making it easier to locate resources quickly, technology makes it easier for educators to prepare for teaching their students. The classroom and activities within the classroom have taken on a different look and technology has created ways to support the constructivist approach,, affording students ways to take control of their own learning that were not possible decades ago. Incorporation of technology into the classroom has been a major area of research for decades. Within that realm, the interactive whiteboard (IWB) has come to the forefront as one of the tools that can enhance student involvement and understanding. In the music classroom technology is a wonderful way to make concepts come alive. Reviewing the research and articles, three topics have come to light that are of interest: 1) How can technology be used to enhance student learning? 2) How does the interactive whiteboard (IWB) specifically fit into that plan? 3) How can IWBs be utilized to enhance the music classroom?

How can technology be used to enhance student learning? Like all of society, children are surrounded by technology on a daily basis. They use it to play games, watch movies, communicate with friends and family, and listen to music. The entertainment value of technology is immense, and that gives it a certain amount of power to engage students in learning activities as well. Amy Casey put it very succinctly stating, In a world of thirty-minute sitcoms, Sony Playstations, GameBoy mania and virtual reality, chalkboard presentations from the nineteenth century just dont meet the educational needs of

twenty-first-century students (2005). Technologies that have found their way into the classroom include Web 2.0 applications, the internet, iPads, interactive whiteboards, remotes, and in some cases even students own cell phones. However, while technology provides a wow factor for students, using it solely to grab their attention and then funneling former lesson plans into new lecture formats is not enough. Simply using technology tools does not ensure a quality education; how educators use technology is more important than whether they use it (Juniu, 2006). Juniu describes the issue saying, Instructors are compelled to incorporate educational technology in the classroom, but often these technologies are used as productivity tools to deliver information rather than as cognitive means to support learning (2006). In order to ensure that technology is used effectively, the International Society for Technology and Education developed the NETS standards for students (ISTE, 2007). By using these standards, teachers will be helping students use and understand technology while enhancing their own curriculum content areas. As education has shifted from teacher-centered to learner-centered, the constructivist approach has become the go-to method for teaching. Many of the technologies listed above enhance studentcentered learning, promoting discussion, collaboration, and exploration learning processes rather than simply having the teacher or computer dole out information. This is a great enhancement to education if it is used properly by educators.

How does the interactive whiteboard (IWB) specifically fit into that plan? Starting in the mid-1990s, Great Britain began placing IWBs in schools throughout the country (Lan and Hsiao, 2011). With the widespread use of this technology they were able to do quite a bit of research regarding how the IWB could enhance and improve classroom activities.

This research, and research from other countries as IWB use spread, led to a list of ways that IWBs are successfully used.
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. Highlighting, coloring or annotating important content. Flipping back and forth to review previous content providing reviewing techniques to better understanding. Using pictures for discussion and brainstorming, collaborative writing, shared reading, peer-teaching, and collaborative problem solving. Hiding and reveal, drag and drop, and matching items activities. Observing different media essential for visual learners. Touching and feeling the material good for tactile learners. Accommodating lower ability and special needs zoom feature for visually impaired students. Presenting ideas and reflections about the course content. Finding hidden part of a picture with spotlight or screen-shade. Capturing screenshots from web pages synchronously and manipulating them. Correcting mistakes in the materials. Playing games. (Turel and Johnson, 2012).

The activities listed above are varied and impressive and offer teachers many ways to enhance their lessons. At the same time, without careful consideration, those activities are not going to alter the classroom and enhance student learning in a way that automatically makes them twentyfirst century learners. The mere introduction of the IWB does not in itself have the transformative effect on classroom teaching and may indeed reinforce familiar patterns of teacher-pupil interaction in whole-class teaching (Kershner et al, 2010). In order to create a student-centered environment, teachers need to build a program that allows students to work with their peers to solve problems. One of the ways that IWBs can help students take control of their own thinking and learning is the ability to provide external representations of their thinking on the large screen, and hence supporting the productive talk and learning (Kershner et al, 2010). The study done by Kershner, Mercer, Warwick and Staarman looked into how the interactive whiteboard can support collaborative thinking and communication, specifically in the science setting. The students they monitored via video showed their ability to make decisions collaboratively, problem solve when they reached a place where they needed to compromise, and

analyze their work verbally as they were engaged in the lesson (2010). The interesting thing that the article pointed out was that the students were well versed in the capabilities of the IWB, including the copy and paste feature, how to use the pen and the board without teacher input, how to problem solve to remedy technical IWB issues, and how to collaborate effectively with their peers (Kershner et al, 2010). It was also noted that the teacher set up talk rules so that students would be able to respectfully interact without the teacher having to continuously monitor them. This shows that it is imperative that teachers spend time preparing students to use the IWB prior to letting them work independently. The conclusion that can be drawn from this information is that the IWB truly does provide a solid way to create a constructivist learning environment as long as the teacher lays the groundwork for students to understand what is being asked of them. One thing that all of the research agreed on was that IWB use increased student motivation. Saine writes, whether teaching in an urban, rural, or international school, teachers [] are integrating iPods, iPads and the SMARTBoard in the classroom to make their instructional activities more appealing and exciting for their students (2012). According to Turel and Johnsons study, 77% of teachers interviewed believed that IWBs help their students learning (2012). As far as student response to the use of IWBs, student survey responses gathered by Biro included praise for the increased interest, the noted ease of gaining an understanding of concepts taught using the IWB, and appreciation for the fact that the IWB made learning fun (2011). Lan and Hsiaos study gathered over 90% positive responses from students in regard to their question, Do you believe you are able to learn better when an IWB is used in the classroom (2011). From this information it is obvious that the motivation provided by the IWB is reason enough for educators to incorporate it into the classroom.

How can IWBs be used to enhance the music classroom? With all of the research that shows the IWB being an effective teaching tool, it is time to evaluate their use in the music classroom specifically. Since music education does not receive as much attention as the core curriculum subjects, research connecting IWB use to music education has just started to become more plentiful. In 2009, Nolan wrote an article about IWBs in the music classroom referring to exactly that point: Discovering new SMART Board applications within an arts context demonstrated and validated the boards usefulness within disciplines outside of science and math. Nolan explores a variety of ways in which IWBs can be utilized in the music classroom, noting the fact the IWB allows for enhanced interaction, instruction, and assessment (2009). Using activities such as physically highlighting rhyming words in the lyrics of a song, students are able to participate in music in a hands-on way. IWB technology levels the playing field for students of all abilities. The computer [attached to the IWB] responds to any touches on the [IWB] screen, allowing all students including those with physical disabilities to demonstrate operations (Nolan, 2009). Hewitt did a study where students utilized computer-based composition software to write their own music. In the study, the process of composing was taken into consideration more so than the final product (2009). The IWBs capabilities allow for accommodations such as enlarging text and images for visually impaired students and controlling the volume of a musical or aural presentation for students who are hearing impaired. The SMART Board can be used with music classroom software, including SMART Music, Finale, and other music writing programs (Baker, 2007). Nolan suggests the use of Music Ace and reiterates Finale to help students get hands on experience with music theory and composition (2009). Use of music software

provided a flexible and supportive framework in which all children could engage, regardless of musical expertise and notational ability (Hewitt, 2009). Not only does the IWB level the playing field for students of various ability levels, it also speaks to students multiple intelligences and lends itself to showcasing the performance arts very well. Baker touts the fact that you can easily import many types of information, including video clips, short films, and music (2007). As the visually and hearing impaired students benefit from the boards functions, students who are visual and auditory learners also reap benefits from the multiple presentation styles afforded. Students who are kinesthetic learners benefit from the ability to manipulate things on the board. Similar to what was discussed earlier regarding the collaboration and constructivist learning provided by the interactive whiteboard, the point was made in all of the music related articles that the teachers abilities affect the effectiveness of the lesson plans. It was reported that teachers who became familiar with the technology were more inclined to creatively promote interactivity in a positive learning environment (Nolan, 2009). Looking at the composition process in Hewitts study, it was noticed that the benefit of the audio playback of the compositions was not utilized by the students and Perhaps greater teacher-led encouragement to use such functionality would improve the quality of the experience (2009). If the teacher takes the time to become fully comfortable with the IWB, it will enhance the music classroom in a more effective way.

Conclusion Technology has become a staple in todays society. Its effective use by people in all fields is necessary. Students need to be trained to understand technology, and also will benefit

from its use in the classroom. That benefit is increased when the technology is used in a way that takes into consideration what is required for 21st century learners, and old lessons are not simply fitted with a technology component. The interactive whiteboard provides a very useful method of integrating collaboration and technology into the classroom. It is very accessible to all students regardless of capabilities and experience. It piques interest and motivates students, while showing them that technology tools can be used to solve problems and increase understanding. Teacher preparation and lesson plan development with the IWB is imperative to ensure that it fulfills its greatest benefits. In the music classroom, nebulous concepts can be showcased in many ways utilizing the IWB. The multimedia capabilities of this tool provide a variety of ways to introduce students to information. The same multimedia capabilities also allow students to share their understanding in a variety of ways. Students who have a limited musical background will find the supports and tools provided by the music applications or software to be helpful in their creative process. Students who have more expertise will have more options at their fingertips. The flexibility and hands-on aspects of the interactive whiteboard should help all students improve their understanding of music.

References: Baker, J. (2007). Smart board in the music classroom. Music Educators Journal, 93(5). Retrieved from Academic Search Complete. Biro, P. (2011). Students and the interactive whiteboard. Acta Didactica Napocensia, 4(2-3). Retrieved from Education Research Complete. Casey, A. C. (2005). A learning center solution for using technology in elementary music. Teaching Music, 12(4). Retrieved from MasterFile Premier. Hewitt, A. (2009). Some features of childrens composing in a computer-based environment: the influence of age, task familiarity, and formal instrumental instruction. Journal of Music, Technology, and Education, 2(1), 5-24. doi: 10.1386/jmte.2.1.5/1 Kreshner, R., Mercer, N., Warwick, P. & Staarman, J. K. (2010). Can the interactive whiteboard support young childrens collaborative communication and thinking in classroom science activities? International Journal of Computer-Supported Learning, 5(4). Retrieved from Education Research Complete. Lan, T. & Hsiao, T. (2011). A study of elementary school students viewpoints on interactive whiteboard. American Journal of Applied Sciences, 8(2). Retrieved from Computers and Applied Sciences Complete. Littleton, K., Twiner, A. & Gillen, J. (2010). Instruction as orchestration: multimodal connection building with the interactive whiteboard. Pedagogies: An International Journal, 5(2), 130-141. doi: 10.1080/15544801003611193 MacNamara-Cabral, M. (2012). Idea bank: How Smart board changed my teaching. Music Educators Journal, 98(3), 26-27. doi: 10.1177/0027432112439669

Nolan, K. (2009). SMARTer music teaching. General Music Today, 22(2). Retrieved from \ ERIC. Saine, P. (2012). iPods, iPads, and the SMARTboard: transforming literacy instruction and student learning. New England Reading Association Journal, 47(2). Retrieved from Education Research Complete. Turel, Y. K. & Johnson, T. E. (2012) Teachers belief and use of interactive whiteboards for teaching and learning. Educational Technology & Society, 15(1). Retrieved from Education Research Complete. Xu, H. L. & Moloney, R. (2011). It makes the whole learning experience better: student feedback on the use of the interactive whiteboard in learning Chinese at tertiary level. Asian Social Science, 7(11). Retrieved from Academic Search Complete.