Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Using Interactive Whiteboards to Motivate Learners in English Language Teaching by Iakovos Delatolas-Saveris - Report

It goes without saying that many conditions are needed to learn a second language (L2) successfully, but most teachers and researchers would agree that motivation is one of the key factors that determine learning achievement. Interactive whiteboards are becoming more prolific in EFL classrooms around Greece and have the potential to have a significant impact on pedagogy. 

In his presentation Jake Delatolas-Saveris shared the results of his M.Ed. research in which he explores EFL teachers’ use of interactive whiteboards to motivate learners in English language teaching in Greece. A self-completion questionnaire had been designed, which allowed the researcher to gather data in field settings from 126 EFL teachers from various parts of Greece. The data collected were analyzed employing the IBM SPSS statistics 21 software.

According to the quantitative analysis of the questionnaires, the use of IWBs enhances motivation in the EFL classroom in line with the framework for motivational strategies proposed by Dörnyei (2001). 

Regarding creating basic motivational conditions, IWBs increase learners’ interest in class by making learning enjoyable and creating a supportive classroom climate. Moreover, IWBs reduce classroom anxiety as they render learning content less stressful and help learners learn in groups. 

With reference to generating initial motivation, IWBs whet learners’ anticipation of tasks since they make the content more visual and they make tasks more interesting by including novel elements. Besides, IWBs make learners acquire knowledge faster and make learning stimulating by requiring mental and bodily involvement. 

As far as maintaining and protecting motivation is concerned, IWBs create situations in which learners show their particular strengths and motivate hard-to-reach learners by giving them the feeling of making a useful contribution. Besides, IWBs relate the content of tasks to the learners’ interests and promote learner autonomy. 

Finally, as regards encouraging positive retrospective self-evaluation, IWBs not only help learners remember what they learn in class, but also increase learner satisfaction. In addition, learners are encouraged to try harder by being offered encouraging feedback through self-correction.

The researcher concluded his presentation by stating that technology in the hands of educators who have obvious pedagogic and learning aims can be a powerful ally in motivating learners and opening windows on the world of knowledge. Conversely, in the hands of teachers with a blurred idea of what their learners need to achieve, the use of technology can lead to a waste of time and effort in class. Educational technology can be an ideal vehicle to help learners develop their 21st century skills, such as creative and critical thinking skills, in the most enjoyable and productive way.

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