Promoting interaction using ICTs
Jean Nasser, Memorial University of Newfoundland
Interaction in the classroom is been highly impacted by the delivery method of the course such as face-to-face, hybrid or online Brannan, 2005). When comparing the level of interaction among students in the three forms of course delivery methods studied, face-to-face interaction ratings among students were the lowest of all forms (Brannan, 2005). Donnelly (2009) reported that teachers have too many choices in selecting the type of interactions to include in their courses; however, they often do not know the extent of the interaction tools and how to use them efficiently to promote interactivity in the face-to-face classroom. Donnelly observed the lack of interactivity in education and suggested a solid need for effective students’ interaction. Domagk, Schwartz and Plass (2010) suggested that it is much less effective in a non-interactive learning setting, to promote interactivity among students and let them explore fully or examine specific task either individually or in a group environment.
Mostmans, Vleugels, and Bannier (2012) reported the need for educational reforms and to bypass what they called the traditional unidirectional teaching style and to use more hands-on, learner-centered approach in order to promote interactivity in a face-to-face learning environment. Oblinger (2004) described the interactivity and engagement of computer games as greatly positive, however, Oblinger acknowledged that a number of challenges and issues stay about how the games will be developed, implemented and accepted in higher education to increase interactive learning in the classroom.
Role of ICTs
Brannan (2005) investigated the interactivity between students and instructors in the classroom and found a trend that classroom interactions are favorably impacted by the use of technology. Brannan observed that student-instructor interaction improved when technology is used more as the delivery method for course instructions. Brannan noted lower student-technology interaction ratings in a face-to-face setting than other setting, and suggested to take advantage of the available technology to promote more interactivity in the classroom.
Celik (2012) describes interactive whiteboards (IWBs) as one of the most evolving educational technologies in the teaching practice. Celik observed that more interactively teaching whole-class lessons is one of the advantages of using IWBs to effectively promote interactivity in the face-to-face setting. Doone, Perez, Bryant and Holhfeld (2012) suggested that IWBs are likely to capture and hold students’ attention more than other resources in the classroom, ensuring improvement in student interaction and reduction in problem behaviors that may interfere with learning. De Koster, Volman and Kuiper (2013) explored the IWB in traditional and innovative schools. They found interactivity pattern such as the IWB operation. De Koster, Volman and Kuiper stressed that it is important to know the different types of aspects of interactivity and this can help teachers make decisions about the type of interactions they intend to promote and use.
Evans and Sabry (2003) evaluated interactivity and found that using the web-based learning systems promoted learners’ interactivity in the classroom. Rasch and Schnotz (2009) investigated how interactivity of pictures can affect learning and found participants with interactive pictures achieved greater learning result. Smith and Winking-Diaz (2004), assessed how course management software programs such as Blackboard and WebCT, hosting online courses and interactive instructions promote interactivity. Smith and Winking-Diaz found that when instructors host online their lecture, notes and presentations for students to access them 24 hours a day, they achieve a greater opportunity of interaction and communication.
Oblinger (2004) examined interactivity in the context of computer games and found that gaming has been part of the learning environment promoting interaction among individuals for sometimes. Also, Oblinger found that a growing number of educators are using games as enhancements to the traditional learning environment to increase interactivity. Grigorovici, Nam and Russill (2003) discussed the impacts of online interactivity on students’ impression. The authors found that using ICTs in the contexts of hypertext links has increased the effect for interactivity. Gibbard and Salajan (2009) evaluated the interactivity of students when studying the design of removable partial denture (RPD) and found that when ICT was used in the form of e-learning sessions, participants enjoyed a positive learning experience. Allsopp, Colucci, Doone, Perez, Bryant and Holhfeld (2012) reported in their analyses that teachers were overwhelmingly positive about how IWBs can enhance their students’ learning experiences and promote interaction in the classroom.
Brannan (2005) found in his study that the online students rated their interactions higher than both face-to-face and hybrid students due to often use of technology. Brannan pointed out that educators need to be well prepared in education technology and educational institutions need to prepare their students as they are expected to face technology challenges at the work place. Celik (2012) found that prior to the use of interactive whiteboards (IWBs) in the classroom, an amount of time and energy is needed for teachers to be trained. Celik suggested that training and learning sessions is needed to make sure that teachers catch the practical use of IWBs to effectively promote interactivity in the classroom.
Allsopp, Colucci, Doone, Perez, Bryant and Holhfeld (2012) reported how some teachers expressed fear and lack of technological skills when asked about the use of ICT in their classroom. Their study suggested effective professional development arrangement that can prepare teachers to use IWBs in favour of promoting the interactivity in face-to-face environment. Smith and Winking-Diaz (2004) expressed that the main issue of concern that affect students’ interactivity in the classroom was related to instructors’ involvement and to students’ time management to succeed. Smith and Winking-Diaz found that when the teacher was involved actively in discussions, the interactivity of students increased. Elango, Gudep and Selvam (2008) investigated issues related to the quality levels of e-learning in term of interactivity. In their study, e-learners expressed issues related to instruction materials and instructors’ support and suggested an interactive tool to use with the instructor to increase the level of interaction in the classroom.
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