Using Interactive whiteboards (IWBs) to build professional learning communities

Year: 2009

Author: McLoughlin, Catherine, Broadbent, Carolyn, Brady, Jo, Boyle, Maureen, Wilson, Sue

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper reports on the project Utilising the information and communication technologies to build a professional learning community. The project aims to enhance the learning outcomes of teachers and students in rural and regional schools in NSW and the ACT. The project comprises two phases. Phase One involved bringing together staff located at St Francis Xavier Primary School, Lake Cargelligo, NSW with teachers from four other participating schools (two rural and three Canberra-based schools). This Phase of the project demonstrated that collaborative partnerships between universities, schools and the wider educational community should be fostered as they have the potential to revitalize teachers’ professional learning, creating opportunities for the construction of new knowledge and development of skills. As the project developed, three more rural schools joined the newly established ‘professional learning community’ and the urban teachers from Phase One assumed a leadership role in mentoring their rural colleagues throughout Phase Two. This new aspect of the project supported the teaching and learning process following the introduction of IWBs into the classrooms of schools located at Cootamundra, Temora and Young, NSW.

This project has been developed to assist in enhancing student achievement for those living in isolated areas. It also provides a research base to support teachers’ professional growth through the development of a dynamic community of practice. The project utilised the information and communication technologies to improve the sense of connectedness and enhance the learning of all participants.