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The impact of interactive technology on learning in primary education. Case Study.

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Abstract and Figures

A single in-depth case study is described which proceeds from the cognitive theory of multi-media learning (derived from cognitive load theory). The main research question asks to what extent does interactive technology, which facilitates cognitive multimedia learning, impact on learning in primary school classrooms? The Case Study was carried out with staff and students at St. Peter’s N.S in Phibsboro, Dublin 7 (Roll No. 20091R). Fig. 1 illustrates some of the activities using interactive technology considered in this case study.
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Researcher: Fiona Delaney, MSc. Advanced Software Development. DIT.
Fig. 1 Apps and interactive Smartboard used in classes at St. Peter’s N.S. Source: App Store,
A single in-depth case study is described which proceeds from the cognitive theory of multi-media
learning (derived from cognitive load theory). The main research question asks to what extent does
interactive technology, which facilitates cognitive multimedia learning, impact on learning in primary
school classrooms? The Case Study was carried out with staff and students at St. Peter’s N.S in
Phibsboro, Dublin 7 (Roll No. 20091R). Fig. 1 illustrates some of the activities using interactive
technology considered in this case study.
An initial literature review of relevant publications from the Dept. of Education (Dept. of Education and
Science, 2008), studies relevant to cognitive multi-media learning theory (Mayer, 1998, 2003, 2009),
(Pellegrino & Hilton, 2012) and its deployment in primary education (Rocha et al, 2016) were reviewed,
in addition papers to relevant to integrating interactive technology in primary education (Carstens &
Pellgrum, 2009). Further reading included educational psychology theorists Jean Piaget and Maria
Montessori and NCTE and PDTS policy and resources.
In terms of initiating contact with a potential participating organisation, a school where a high degree
of interactive technology is already in use was sought. St. Peter’s N.S. has an enrolled student
population of 456 children between the ages of 4 -13 years old, is co-educational, Catholic in ethos
and is a designated DEIS school with a high proportion of students attending whose native language
is not English.
The school Management Board made a commitment to integrate interactive technology as an
additional teaching resource into every classroom over ten years ago and each classroom is fitted
with a laptop and either a full suite of interactive Whiteboard (IWB) devices or a single interactive
Smartboard (ISB). Furthermore, the school has invested in 3 laptop trolleys (20 laptops each) and two
iPad trolleys (20 iPads each) for use with students. The school has a well-defined technology policy
overseen by a teacher with the additional role of ICT Co-ordinator. Access to the internet is limited on
all school devices in accordance National Centre for Technology in Education (NCTE) and Professional
Development Service for Teachers PDST network provision .
Agreement was obtained from the school Principal to conduct the study with the school, in the first
instance. Thereafter, agreement from teaching staff to participate in one-to-one interviews was sought
on a voluntary basis. The children, and parents of the children who participated, were invited to take
part on a volunteer basis.
A number of ethical issues surrounded the study as there were children involved. The researcher
required Garda Clearance certification. This is a statutory requirement for any adult entering the
premises during school hours. This was furnished to the school in advance of the study. The rights
and anonymity of all children were guaranteed at all times. No information about any specific child’s
personal or academic details were gathered during the course of the study.
There were risks associated with the study in terms of its timeframe: the timespan of the case study,
coincided with student teacher allocations and both the mid-term and Easter breaks. This made it
difficult to schedule observation sessions and one to one interviews. Mitigation strategy was to start
early, agree a timeframe and stick to it. This worked fairly well allowing for the final two interviews with
administration personnel to take place remotely, one via telephone, the other via email.
For the purpose of this study, definitions relating to multimedia learning and instruction proposed by
Mayer and Moreno (2003) are adopted. As seen in Fig. 2. multimedia learning is described as a
learning process which is facilitated through words and pictures. The words may be verbal or written
and the pictures can be static or dynamic. Multimedia instruction is described as the presentation of
words and pictures in an organised way to facilitate learning.
In addition, ‘meaningful learning’ is said to describe the mental arrangement of new content into a
coherent cognitive structure that integrates new knowledge with that already held by the learner. This
process describes the creation of a new mental model on the part of the learner and implies the
learner can apply what was taught to new situations (Mayer & Moreno, 2003., Mayer, 2009., Mayer &
Fig. 2 exposes the three types of memory that it is purported are involved in the human cognitive
process: sensory memory, working memory and long-term memory. Meaningful learning is said to
take place at the point where new and old knowledge are integrated into a new working model.
In order to determine the impact of interactive technologies on learning in the primary classroom three
important domains were identified: cognitive, pedagogic and administrative. Educational
psychologists Maria Montessori (2013) and Jean Piaget (1964) consider age as well as ability
important factors. The OECD (2015) and Mathews et al (2009) recognise gender as having
significance in education. The former views gender as a social construct, an environmental factor
influencing access to computer technology, the latter suggests there are measurable, gendered
behavioural differences in cognitive process.
Core objectives were to discover how interactive technology is deployed in a primary school setting,
what impact the technology has on knowledge transfer, and existence of evidence to support the
hypothesis that multimedia learning is enhanced through the use of interactive technology in
multimedia instruction.
The perspectives of both teachers and students were considered equally important in making
determinations about the process of knowledge transfer in the classroom. The sampling frame
included three key actors: teaching staff, primary school students and school administrators
represented by the school Principal and ICT Co-ordinator. It was deemed out of scope to seek input
from parents for a study of this focus and size.
During the course of the case study, the focus shifted from the use of tablet-based technology in the
primary classroom, to focus on the wider use of interactive technology. This broader remit came to
include whole class learning via interactive boards (IB), either interactive Whiteboard (IWB) or
Fig. 2 Cognitive process in multimedia learning. Source: Mayer & Moreno, 2003
interactive Smartboard (ISB) as well as self-directed or teacher-lead learning on individual interactive
devices: iPad and laptop.
This shift in focus arose from observations and conversations with key informants (students and
teachers) about interactive technology in the classroom. Often the relevance of interactive technology
on pedagogy or cognition was first described in relation to whole class learning with IB technology.
This is a single in-depth case study where a mixed-method approach is applied to data gathering and
data analysis. The mixed method approach included ongoing literature review, semi-structured
interviews with teaching staff at the school, remote interviews with administration staff, observation
sessions and an online survey of primary school teachers and primary students both at St. Peter’s
school and elsewhere.
Quantitative data regarding the specific deployment of interactive technology at the school was
collected: the hardware, software and human resources involved. Identifying and categorising roles,
tasks and activities associated with the use of interactive technology in the classroom was important
to assess the effectiveness of the implementation. Additionally, frequency counts arising from
interviews, observed sessions and questionnaires shed light on important factors including gender in
the learning process. A short, online questionnaire for primary school educators, gathering sentiment
towards, and expectations of, interactive technology in the classroom (Proctor & Marks, 2013). Some
of this information translates well to quantitative values. A similar, three question survey was also
conducted with children, this data also provided useful frequency analysis.
Qualitative data was gathered in semi-structured interviews (see Appendix A), using keywords in
online questionnaire and across researcher observations and memos. Teaching sessions were
observed and coded, using a simultaneous coding method to track activities and later to identify what
evidence exists to support or refute the hypothesis that interactive technology has an impact on
knowledge transfer. (Proctor & Marks, 2013), (Meyer, 2009). Interviews were conducted with eight
volunteer staff members to gather their insight and impressions of the role of interactive technology in
knowledge transfer among primary school students (Wastiau et al, 2009., Tüzün et al, 2009., Rooney,
2012). Six participants were class teachers, one the ICT co-ordinator, a class teacher herself and the
last, the School Principal, Mrs. Quinn. The questions in both surveys sought to interrogate themes
identified during the interview and observed session processes.
The online survey for teachers (see Appendix B) was created using Google Forms in order to
maximise uptake and ease of distribution. It was distributed amongst primary teachers themselves. In
the interests of gathering as wide a dataset as possible, primary school teachers within and further
afield than St. Peter’s N.S were included in the sample. In the end, seven teachers at St. Peter’s N.S.
responded and eleven from outside the school took part. The survey gathered qualitative reflections,
using PMI -based and keyword associative tasks to collect insights into whole class and individual-
use interactive technologies in the primary classroom (Proctor & Marks, 2013).
Devising the questions for children took some consideration and user-testing to determine the most
appropriate means. Informed by research observations and literature, Mathews, (2009), Mayer &
Wittrock (1996) and Piaget (1964), a short three question survey was determined to be the most
direct and apt means of gathering the most pertinent data. (See Appendix C). Two key questions
PMI - Plus, Minus, Interesting - a critical thinking task designed by Eduard de Bono. It encourages participants to examine a topic from
more than one perspective.
asked children to describe their favourite classroom activity with interactive technology and to identify
when learning something new what teaching method works best, to make sure you understand.
The range of methods, focussed remit and careful theming allowed for triangulation of findings with
hypothesis coding and frequency analysis. Analysis involved second phase coding: pattern coding,
memoing, data theming and re-examining the data to test new hypothesis or research questions.
The case study findings are discussed across the three key domains identified at the outset:
administrative, pedagogic and cognitive.
According to ICT in Schools Inspectorate Evaluation published by Dept of Education (2008) the
student-computer ratio (SCR) in Irish primary schools is 9.1:1. OECD (2015) also suggest in that
countries that have taken the lead in the provision of ICT in schools are achieving an SCR of 5:1.
OECD (2015) note there is a gendered difference in the age at which boys and girls begin to use
computers. Ireland Ireland ranks above the OECD average on a scale which measures early exposure
to computers (before age 6) noting also gender differences. IT appears Ireland ranks third behind
Japan (no discernible gender gap) and New Zealand (small gap in favour of boys). Gender differences
are attributed not to material constraints or socio-economic status but rather student interests and
family and educators’ notions about what is suitable for girls and boys. They flag potentially far-
reaching consequences of restrictions on access to computers as undermining confidence and
Dept of Education (2008) notes that there appears to be better utilisation of computing equipment
when it is deployed into classrooms rather than in a separate computer room or lab.
St. Peter’s N.S. having invested significantly in individual computing devices for their school: 3 laptop
trolleys (20 laptops each) and two iPad trolleys (20 iPads each) available for use in each classroom,
not in a separate computer lab. If we assume that an iPad is a valid ‘computer’ for comparison, not
unreasonable given students are unlikely to be proficient in keyboard use, the school has a current
student-computer ratio of 4.6:1.
Interactive digital devices in use at St. Peter’s N.S. were catalogued. (See Appendix D for further
Whole class interactive devices
Teacher feedback on the usefulness of interactive boards was universally positive. ISB’s outperform
IWB’s on features, interactivity and screen quality (on sunny days it can be difficult to see IWB
content). They require fewer accessories and are backwards compatible with older technologies
including visualiser and existing laptops.
Most comments from children on the use of IBs are about how engaging interactive work is on them.
Two children commented on the use of IB screens, one said they hurst her eyes, the other preferred
the large screen to the small iPad or laptop screen as he could see it better.
Individual interactive devices - where each student has a device
Teachers at St. Peter’s described a reluctance to devise significant numbers of sessions with iPads
and laptops: issues raised include network problems, device availability, battery life, age-inappropriate
content and worries about browsing safely. The ICT Co-Ordinator noted that the school’s network
was recently upgraded and that the PDST white and blacklisting service is in place to limit access to
inappropriate web-content.
Peer learning - teachers
Two recommender systems are in place at St. Peter’s school. The first outlines the process for
sourcing new App content for the iPads. This should operate on a teacher recommendation basis,
where teachers discover a new artefact and suggest it to the ICT Co-ordinator who will schedule an
update of iPad content. Teachers comments suggest the App content on the iPads was age-
inappropriate for children beyond Snr Infants. It didn’t appear that they had made recommendations
that weren’t followed up on, rather it seemed that this research and recommendation was beyond
their remit or experience. The ICT Co-ordinator felt this to be an unfair reflection of the process and
said she’d remind teachers of how the recommender process should operate.
The second recommender system is a list of useful interactive resources for teachers using interactive
technology in the classroom. Peer recommendation appears to happen on an ad hoc basis between
class teachers in the same year group. There is a list of useful online resources provided by the ICT
Co-ordinator, but some teachers feel a more interactive or up to date listing may be useful, as might
structured inputs around interactive resources (see Appendix D for a list of interactive resources
mentioned during the course of the study).
Resourcing ICT Co-Ordinator Role
An additional comment made via the online survey about the broader role of an ICT Co-ordinator in
primary school:
“I believe our schools should have access to fulltime IT support, outside of the school staffing
schedule: How any teacher can fulfill the role of IT support within a staff is beyond me, unless the
DES think it OK that a teacher can absent themselves from their class every time an IT problem
crops up? Impossible.”
Comment by teacher outside St. Peter’s N.S. self-described as having ’33 years experience at the top of a
Table 1. details feedback given by teachers in an online survey which reflects sentiment towards the
use of interactive technology in the classroom.
Every teacher that participated in the study has some access to interactive technology in their
classroom. Their reliance on the technology varies as does their acceptance of the technologies as
useful teaching tools. This is particularly evident in the disparity of use between whole class
instruction on IB devices and sessions using individual learning where each child has their own device.
Interactive devices
At St. Peter’s N.S. every teacher has a
full interactive IB suite at their disposal
including a laptop. They also have the
opportunity to schedule the use of
individual devices on a weekly basis.
Teachers who responded from outside
of St. Peter’s N.S. have less opportunity
to use interactive devices. One
respondent had only a laptop at her
Fig. 4 shows the spread of interactive
technology devices used outside vs.
inside St. Peter’s N.S. school. (11
teachers out of 18 are based outside of
St. Peter’s N.S.) The spread of
platforms, including mobile phone
technology, tallies with the expectation
that St. Peter’s school is at the upper
(poor) education value
overload of screen time
network problems
beneficial to children with visual or aural
new / interesting
Appendices E - F contain keyword feedback from teachers on whole class and individual learning.
Fig. 3 Online Survey responses from teachers in St. Peter’s N.S.
about types of interactive technology available in their classrooms
end of ICT resourcing and may suggest that increased access to diverse interactive technologies may
also enhance teacher uptake.
Session frequency
The devices used were further categorised as facilitating whole class (IB) or individual (iPad, laptop)
learning in order to see how often they were used in class. Fig. 5 contrasts the use of both and
reveals a high-reliance on IB technology with almost 90% using whole class approaches at minimum
daily. (These frequencies relate to information gathered in the teachers online survey of 18 primary
teachers both inside and outside of St. Peter’s N.S.). These frequencies indicate an internal validity
with the data on device availability shown above.
Observations arising from one-to-one interviews indicate that at St. Peter’s the Junior classes have
weekly scheduled sessions with iPads. The uptake will depend on class teacher discretion. The older
classes upstairs book sessions with iPads or laptops, teachers tend to wait for specific projects e.g.
report writing, project research or the need to use a particular software such was Powerpoint before
they schedule use with individual interactive technology.
Multimedia instruction
The Principal at St. Peter’s N.S. commented that interactive technologies are simply an added
resource ‘bringing the classroom to life’. What she finds most interesting is the success of the
interactive Irish curriculum resource Bua na Cainte, which has proved hugely popular with children
and teaching staff alike. It offers bespoke media content and interactive games via a website and for
the most part is included using what can be described as whole class multimedia instruction
In interview, a teacher commented that she had noticed her student teacher
needed to create more interactive content and not to rely on Powerpoint so
much. The approach was too prescriptive and static to keep the children’s
attention. She noted the expectation among children to have interactivity
included in their education and that compared to when she started in
teaching, more than seven years ago, children’s attention span is shorter,
she felt teachers need to be ‘all-singing and all-dancing’.
A number of teachers noted that the use of interactive technology in the
classroom is generally well-received by students but also poses a learning
curve for teachers. This was described in interviews with teachers at St.
Peter’s N.S. Two teachers described the process of changing from IWB to
ISB, they described the process of upscaling and learning how to use the
new equipment during the tasks of teaching. Many described how they had
themselves, or seen their teaching assistants ask the children for advice on
how to do something with the devices. It was remarked here and in the
online survey that children often remember or intuit how to accomplish tasks
with interactive technology. This is attributed to a high degree of mode
competency, where many children are already familiar with mobile, tablet and
games console technology, regularly engage with YouTube, games, apps
and other online content outside of their school environment.
While all teachers agree IB technology in particular is a beneficial aid to them in classroom
management and tuition, a number question the educational value of individual learning on iPad or
laptop devices. Many games Apps on the iPad are so feature rich, it is difficult for teachers to have the
time (or patience) to assess the educational content.
Fig. 6 Screenshot from Geared
2! iPad App published by Brian
One of the Apps noted in an observation session, ‘Geared’ is a gamified problem-solving App which
requires players to compute speed, direction, size, motion and time sequencing in order to place cogs
into a moving mesh of cogs. The researcher determined the game had a high degree of connection to
real world learning and scientific concepts in physics, but noted however that without enough time to
consider the added value of the App, teachers were inclined to dismiss the educational value or the
problem-solving benefits of the game and what it was about. This is also reflected in findings by
Rocha et al (2015).
These qualitative descriptions point towards evidence of the existence of a sort of fluency in
multimedia instruction that can enhance multimedia learning.
Fig. 4 Contrasts use of interactive technology outside St. Peter’s N.S. with total
Fig. 5 Contrasts use of whole class vs. individual interactive technology
Teachers were interviewed, one-to-one, and were asked in
the online survey to consider degrees of educational or
cognitive value to using individual interactive devices in the
While, no one claims the impact of these technologies has
a negative impact on child cognitive development. It
appears 22% (Fig. 7) or 2 respondents of 18, feel that
these technologies have no impact on cognition in children,
while 78% feel the impact is positive.
The questioning of the educational value and the feeling
that interactive technologies have a positive effect on child
cognition reflect somewhat contradictory or conflicted
Further comments made by teachers were coded to reveal theme patterns in how teachers view
technology impacts on child cognition. These are shown in Table 2.
Table 2. excerpts from teachers online survey reflecting sentiment towards the impact of interactive technology
on child cognition.
Learning process
Learning style
increase readiness
promote independence
ICT (x2)
instant feedback
mode competency
higher-order thinking
applied learning
Fig. 7 Online Survey responses from teachers:
impact on child cognitive development
Fig. 8 Survey with 16 primary school children showing counts of interactive devices available in their
classrooms and their favourite interactive devices
Devices and Learning Preferences
Descriptions by children of their preferred devices may indicate a reduction in the use of iPad
technology once the move is made from IWB to ISB, which may be a source for concern, considering
the a sizeable portion of students state a preference for individual learning opportunities.
Preference for whole class or individual learning with interactive technology, are arrived at from their
responses to these two questions: describe your favourite activity and describe how you learn best.
We see in Fig. 8 that children are almost equally split across whole class and individual learning
ISB + IWB = 9
iPad + laptop = 7
Further examination of the data by gender reveals what appear to be strong preferences across the
categories when gender is factored.
Of 7 boys 5 prefer whole class learning, of 9 girls, 5 prefer individual learning.
Fig. 9 appears to reveal a marked
preference among boys for whole
class activities. While girls are almost
equally split between individual and
whole class activities.
The categories used in Fig. 10 in
relation to learning style are derived.
This is described further below.
Fig. 10a indicates all girls’ favourite
actives are self-directed, with four of 9
preferring games (potentially problem-
solving meaningful learning (Mayer,
Fig. 9 Preferred devices by gender: 9 girls, 7 boys
Fig. 10 (Aggregated) Preferred activities and preferred learning styles.
Fig. 10b would also seem to show that while boys almost all prefer to learn by doing, girls are 50%
more likely to prefer learning though verbal or multi-sensory input.
These insights suggest, contrary to statements gathered in interviews, where class teachers identified
age and not gender as factors which influence the children use of interact technologies, that gender is
an significant factor in multi-media learning.
The influence of age could not be adequately tested as
while the spread of ages represented was broad the
representation of different ages within the sample was
Figs. 11 and 12 show two steps in the
hypothesis coding process. In the first,
Fig. 11, childrens’ own words are used
to categorise data which is significance
tested using frequency analysis. Children
described how they learn things most
effectively e.g. ‘Teacher asks and we
answer’, ‘Using cubes to count up’,
‘Drawing a picture to figure things out’.
In Fig. 12, using hypothesis coding to
them the descriptions according to
sensory and active learning keywords, we
reveal that 50% of students learn best by
‘doing’ and 50% identified verbal and
multi-sensory input as their most effective
learning processes. These categories are
aligned to the processes of multimedia
learning (fig. 2) outlined by Mayer &
Moreno (2003) and may signify an ability
on the part of some students to
distinguish how they are utilising
working memory to incorporate new
knowledge with knowledge already held in
meaningful learning processes.
Fig. 11. In their own words - Children identify how they learn best.
Fig. 12 Aggregated metacognition categories by sensory-
input / active-processing descriptions
This insight, also termed metacognition (Mayer, 1998), reveals potential evidence to support cognitive
theory of multimedia learning and may further suggest a gendered response to interactive multimedia
Important themes emerge from the findings. The search for evidence of enhanced multimedia
instruction and learning facilitated by interactive technologies in the classroom was the core objective
of the research.
Multimedia instruction and learning
While the embeddedness of whole class multimedia instruction, facilitated by IB technology appears
to be appreciated as a useful teaching resource and well received as an aid to learning by young boys
in particular, there appears to be a reluctance on the part of teachers to embrace individual interactive
devices in similar fashion. There are numerous good reasons for this, as noted in the results section
e.g. battery life, poor network connection.
If the use of individual devices, in self-directed learning and problem-solving is reflective of a
meaningful learning as described by Mayer (2009) the potential benefits, especially on the part of girls
are not to be dismissed lightly. Mathews et al in their paper titled ‘Early gender differences in self-
regulation and academic achievement’ (2009) found small but statistically significant gender-based
differences in self-regulation at primary school ages. The gender differences here may support or
reflect these findings.
It is recognised that the world of technology and the world online are fast moving entities, where
timeliness are important elements. It appears there is a time resource issue for ICT Co-ordinators
generally. They are full time teaching staff with an additional role, which can require class-time
Further, without ongoing upkeep, recommender systems falter and no longer achieve their full
potential. There may be a role for online peer learning in solving this issue. The idea of resource
sharing, given the timeliness constraint, is a potential boon amongst teachers at St. Peter’s in
particular. If as is suggested in the data, the school is at the top tier of most highly resourced schools
in the country, then teachers there are in a pioneering position regarding the use of interactive
technology in their classes and are forging new paths in multimedia instruction.
This report summarised findings from a single in-depth case study which proceeds from the cognitive
theory of multi-media learning (derived from cognitive load theory). The main research question asked
to what extent interactive technology impacts on learning in primary school classrooms? The Case
Study was carried out with staff and students at St. Peter’s N.S in Phibsboro, Dublin 7 and with
members of the wider primary school teaching and student communities.
In order to determine the impact of interactive technologies on learning in the primary classroom three
important domains were identified: cognitive, pedagogic and administrative. Core objectives were to
discover how interactive technology is deployed in a primary school setting, what impact the
technology has on knowledge transfer, and existence of evidence to support the hypothesis that
multimedia learning is enhanced through the use of interactive technology in multimedia instruction.
The perspectives of both teachers and students were considered equally important in making
determinations about the process of knowledge transfer in the classroom. The sampling frame
included three key actors: teaching staff, primary school students and school administrators
represented by the school Principal and ICT Co-ordinator. It was deemed out of scope to seek input
from parents for a study of this focus and size.
The report scoped the breadth of interactive digital activities in primary schools and documented the
administrative support structures necessary for successful program co-ordination. The study sought
to categorise the struggles that exist for teachers in their planning of multimedia instruction sessions
with interactivity in mind, it is important to note the relevance of mode competency of children in ICT
in the classroom.
The trust placed in children in particular, to be able to recognise how they learn best proved fruitful.
The methodology used with children in this instance may offer scope for other researchers to proceed
from. Further work may include investigation of the role of interactive gaming in fostering problem-
solving and meaningful learning in primary and other education (secondary, adult, life-long).
In terms of evidence for enhanced multimedia instruction and learning, there is some food for thought
including gendered preferences for either whole-class or individual, self-directed learning. The
possibility of gendered responses to, or preferences for, individual activities vs. whole class activities,
may offer useful context for multimedia learning and instruction in the future. Follow-on study with a
larger dataset is recommended to uncover statistically significant and robust results.
It seems clear that evidence to support successful multimedia instruction using a wide range of
interactive platforms is not yet comprehensively understood.
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Appendix A - Interactive devices, accessories and resources used at St. Peter’s N.S.
Name, source and description of how the hardware is deployed across the school.
Interactive Technology -
Description of context
Interactive WB -
Interactive whiteboards. Used with overhead projector to display digital
content. Interactive pens can be used to integrate mark-making with digital
content. Mimio products used. Every class has one, unless it has been
replaced with interactive SB
Interactive SB -
Super-sized, wall-mounted tablet. Swipe and touch interactivity, no need for
accessories: projector or pens. Liyama products used. There are currently 4 in
use in the school.
Necessary for use with IWB & ISB.
Three laptop trolleys with 18-20 laptops each. Can be booked for use with
1st-6th classes for project work, research and presentation preparation.
Two trolleys with 20 iPads each. One for downstairs classes the other for
upstairs classes. Downstairs Jnr classes have weekly scheduled sessions.
Upstairs1st-6th classes can book a time, morning or afternoon with the iPads.
Teachers are asked to recommend Apps to ICT Co-ordinator for downloading.
Mobile phone
Teacher’s own. Used to store and play music
Interactive Technology
Description or context
Mimio Visualiser
An interactive resource, projects what’s under it onto the screen. Mimio
product. Also works with ISB.
Mimio Interactive pen
For use with Mimio IWB products.
Mimio Projector
Paired with Mimio whiteboard.
Interactive Technology
Applications & software
Description or context - List of interactive resources mentioned
during case study.
Mimio software
IWB company, with support software for teachers to create interactive
games. Software also compatible with ISB.
Microsoft PowerPoint
Teachers use this to create Show & Tell topic presentations.
Videos shown in class eg timelapse video of lifecycle of the butterfly
Google Maps
Interactive maps good for teaching geography, SESE
Google Search
Browsing and research
Resource website for interactive teaching methods, tools and activities
Bua na Cainte
Lets Dance
News of the Day
Opperation Transformation
10 at 10
Appendix B - Semi-structured interview questions
Semi-structured interview question guide
What class do you teach?
How long have you been delivering this type of education?
What inspired you / influenced you to adopt this approach?
List and describe the usefulness / effectiveness of the digital artefacts you’ve used (hardware, OS,
software applications, games).
What, if any, external sources or other research did you undertake to support your approach?
What have been the most successful outcomes of your approach?
The least successful?
The most interesting or surprising outcomes?
How would you describe the reaction / reception of your students to this approach?
Are attributes like age, gender or aptitude influential factors in the success of this approach?
What, if any, aspects of your approach, would you recommend to a colleague?
Would you like do add anything else?
Appendix C - Teachers Questionnaire -
The invitation to participate to teachers to participate in the online survey was shared by and
distributed amongst primary teachers themselves. Further to a number of requests to share the
questionnaire beyond the staff at the school and in the interests of gathering as wide a dataset as
possible within the timeframe, both teachers within and further afield than St. Peter’s N.S were
allowed to participate. There were eighteen participants, seven teachers at the school and eleven from
Teachers Questionnaire
What's your email address?
Are you a primary school teacher?
In your experience does the use of interactive technology in the
classroom enhance the act of learning for children?
Do you find using interactive technology in the classroom affects
classroom management negatively?
Would you say the use of interactive technology in the classroom
impacts on child cognitive development?
No impact
What if any, interactive technology do you use in your classroom?
Interactive Whiteboard
Interactive Smartboard
iPad or tablet
Mobile phone
None of these
How often do you use whole-class Whiteboard/ Smartboard interactive
tech in your classroom?
Once a week or less
A few times a week
Once or twice a day
Every session
Using keywords, what approach is least effective for whole-class learning with interactive tech?
Using keywords, what approach is most effective?
Describe an interesting aspect of interactive tech for whole-class learning in your classroom?
How often do you use individual interactive tech in your classroom: eg
tablet or laptop, where each child can use a device?
Q. 12 cont’d
I've never used individual
devices (tablets/ laptops) in
the classroom
Rarely, almost never
Once or twice a year, when
we work on projects
Once a month, if we are
doing a project
Once a week
More than once a week
Using keywords, what approach is least effective for whole-class learning with interactive tech?
Using keywords, what approach is most effective?
Describe an interesting aspect of interactive tech for whole-class learning in your classroom?
Would you like to make an additional comment?
Teachers Questionnaire
Appendix D - Students Questionnaire -
The participation of children in the online survey was conducted either by the researcher, in the
presence of the child and their parent, or was emailed to parents who agreed to assist their child in
completing the questionnaire. The gender of the children was determined at the time of their parents
consent being gathered. Sixteen children participated between the ages of 4 in 12 years. Nine girls
and seven boys took part.
Students Questionnaire
What's your first name?
Tick the class are you in
Jnr Infants
Snr Infants
1st Class
2nd Class
3rd Class
4th Class
5th Class
6th Class
Tick the interactive technologies used in your
Interactive Whiteboard
Interactive Smartboard
iPad or tablet
Mobile phone
None of these
Describe your favourite in-class activity with one of the technologies listed above
When you learn something new, describe what teaching method works best, to make sure you
Appendix E - Keywords and comments about whole class IB use - by teachers.
PMI-based questions asked of teachers about whole class learning sessions using IB technology. Note: not
every teacher made a comment while some made more than one.
least eective for whole-
class learning
most eective for whole class
Most interesting aspect for whole
class learning
noise levels
interactive whiteboards, ipads
Ipads-the children get half an hour of ipads
a weeks. During this time, the children
practice their letters, play interactive maths
games, read for the teacher and use
phonic games to help break down words.
Not enough devices for
each child
Games are always popular
Children creating their own powerpoint
presentation or photostory. They get to
create and design their project which
involves more than the content alone
poor quality graphics/
Bua na Cainte: they love cartoon
characters that they can get to
know. They like to come up to the
board to try the assessment
It is amazing to watch children teaching
each other through technology.
a resource not to be relied
upon for an entire lesson.
introduce topics, or to consolidate
learning at the end of a lesson
through an interactive activity.
Children are so interested in everything
technological nowadays and they are so at
ease with using technology.
Active learning like PE and
Environmental Education
I think we are only beginning to
scratch the surface of interactive
technology and that it can be of
use in most lessons.
You can use it to create a flipped
classroom which enables the teacher to
facilitate rather than participate in direct
teaching and then work with small groups
and cater to all learning needs.
group challenges
small group focused activities.
Group work
Interactive games
Using interactive maps makes Geography
very interesting for pupils
Pupil self directed use
probably not the most
effective teaching method
in order to maximise
learning outcomes.
Differentiating according to ability
e.g. Peer Tutoring (high ability
paired with weaker ability child) or
small group focused activities.
children not familiar with
the keyboard or the mouse
on a laptop.
Learning to effectively use
technology is also a beneficial life
skill in itself.
If teaching children a topic like "The
Titanic" for example it is wonderful to have
old photographs, letters, newspapers and
short video clips to show the children, all
have which have been sourced online and
can be projected on tne IWB.
"free use" of ipads
problematic, content needs
to be monitered
Interactive smart board
Bua na Cainte the Irish programme has
interactive games and songs based on
each lesson and topic.
PDST Blocks on safe sites
Research for project work
There are a number of fantastic interactive
maths game which brings an element of
"fun" to lessons.
Lack of use.
interactive games
rocket timers
IT connectivity difficulties
Interactive games to enhance
Interactive games.
IT difficulties
An interactive activity to introduce
a new topic. Research.
least eective for whole-
class learning
Seriously, when IT difficulties don't
thwart planning done ahead of
Children learn MOST when they guide the
learning by a leading question, and the
class gets motivated. Interactive Tech
facilitates this incredibly: Instant access to
information, images, and latest
developments. The awful side to this is that
curriculum constraints tell us teachers that
we cannot utilize such a learning tool, if it
isn't itemized in fortnightly plans...
Children using board
Pictures and photos
Fun, varied and child centred.
Focus point, opportunity to play games/
watch videos to enhance learning.
direct teaching prior to an outing.
Maths and English interactive games are
brilliant for whole class revision of times
tables, spellings and creates competition
within the class group.
Great for showing videos of SESE topics,
such as the lifecycle of a frog, how milk,
wool, silk are produced, the moon landing.
most eective for whole class
Most interesting aspect for whole
class learning
least eective for whole-
class learning
Appendix F - Keywords and comments about individual devices - by teachers.
PMI-based questions asked of teachers about whole class learning sessions using iPad and laptop technologies
where every child gets to use their own device. Note: not every teacher made a comment while some made
more than one.
least eective for individual
most eective for individual
Most interesting aspect for
individual learning
pair work
whole class or one to one lessons
The children are learning new things in
a new and fun way.
Time management can be
tricky with children working
Individual research and information
Children can self correct using spelling
and grammar tools
my school is very badly
resourced. I have never been
able to give this a go
They are growing up in an era of an
ever-changing technological
environment and already have a vast
amount of prior knowledge already
I do not believe interactive
technology to be effective when
children are not given a clear
outline of what they are using it
for. Children need to be given
some direction before and
throughout using it.
Interactive technology is an
excellent resource to expand
children's prior knowledge on a
topic being studied, or to allow
them do some research for a
current classroom project. Pair
work with interactive tech is very
effective as the children learn from
each other.
The ease at which they navigate new
websites and their ability to scan
information and take the important
points from it.
Listening without the
requirement of giving feedback.
Anything that requires a response
that can be measured.
The ability to allow children to work
independently, at their own level and to
often let the learning be driven by
there is a big difference
between children's ability to
use software and applications
Ipads-the children get half an hour of
ipads a weeks. During this time, the
children practice their letters, play
interactive maths games, read for the
teacher and use phonic games to help
break down words.
Whole class performing the
same task
Individual discovery learning
Individual project work
Unplanned lessons or
unresearched applications
made by the teacher. I think it is
of vital importance that
teachers, themselves need time
to explore apps and critically
evaluate them (in seeing their
educational worth before
inviting the children to use
Tiny achieveable tickable targets -
simple step by step instructions
which are pre-thought and easy to
follow to ensure all abilities are
catered for. Appropriate language
needs to taught discretely prior to
using IT e.g. tabs, power, interface,
apps (using visual cues).
Pupil enjoyment or satisfaction. All
children love to handle/use IT.
least eective for individual
Pair work with interactive tech is
very effective as the children learn
from each other.
I personally find the use of Ipads
reinforces learning (e.g. phonics) in a
playful or visually stimulating way,
which all children eagerly enjoy.
The laptop. The kids are not
familiar enough with the use of
laptops and they are very
unpredictable, in relation to the
battery life and internet
The iPads prove effective in the
infant classes and I do believe if
there were advanced apps
downloaded on them for the senior
classes, they would be very
The accessibility of the internet, you
can find anything on it. It's great for
showing a picture of a new vocabulary
word which is hard to explain in words.
Much easier to show the kids an
Exposing children to content
that is not relative to their ability
would be ineffective.
Tailored educational apps are easy
to monitor and can be very
beneficial so long as they are
pitched at the appropriate level.
use of technology for project work and
independant research.
logistical difficulties, log ins
batteries etc
tailored activities
*coding education *programmes such
as "scratch",
Children need direction and
instructions, you can't just let
them off.
Giving clear instructions,
recommending what websites/apps
they use, etc.
When doing research children love
discovering new facts themselves
Just to play games.
peer ipad time
*interractive educational apps
Curriculum objectives
Child-centred exploring and
therefore meaningful learning
I remain frustrated by IT problems,
without an IT person on hand to help.
Our IT POR teacher has a class
fulltime, so cannot be onhand to help
with IT problems. I'd find a lot of
interesting aspects of interactive tech
for individual learning in the classroom
if I had support for interactive tech
indiv learning in the classroom.
Targeted approach, pairwork, etc.
Gives sense of responsibility.
research work
most eective for individual
Most interesting aspect for
individual learning
least eective for individual
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