An I-what? Promoting Intellectual Quality with an IWB

“The difference between high quality teaching with an IWB (Interactive Whiteboard) is not the ICT (Information and Communication Technology) or the technological competency of the teacher…It is the quality of the underlying teacher.” (Kent , 2010).


The NSW Quality Teaching Framework suggests, as its first of four guides to what quality teaching is, that good teaching involves promoting ‘intellectual quality’ within the classroom. Although the concept of intellectual quality is ambiguous and does not stand by a concrete definition, there are three generally accepted aspects which contribute to the intellectual quality of teaching and learning (Newmann, 2000):

  • Construction of knowledge, which requires not only reproducing knowledge, but understanding and interpreting this knowledge through higher order thinking skills.
  • Disciplined inquiry, which constitutes being able to communicate this knowledge and an  informed conclusion of this knowledge.
  • Value beyond school, which requires the content being taught or learnt, to be relevant and applicable to the student’s context and world beyond the classroom.

One way in which intellectual quality can be promoted in the classroom for students, is through the use of the Interactive Whiteboard, or the IWB, as an “amplifier of teaching” (Kent, 2010). The IWB has a myriad of benefits, including catering to the different learning styles and levels of students (in keeping with Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Theory), and its ability to be used in a group dynamic and promote student interaction and engagement.

Although the use of an IWB in the classroom has its benefits, the traditional emphasis on the quality teaching methods of the teacher, and the learning of the students, is most important when it comes to education. Technology is there to assist the teaching and learning occurring in the classroom. It is not the main method of teaching and learning. A number of teaching and learning styles must be implemented to the learning environment to cater to the different subject areas, and the different learning needs, styles and levels of students. As Kent (2010) states, “…focusing on technology is no guarantee in improving student outcomes. The focus needs to be on the teaching, he pedagogy.”


Hedberg, J.D. (2011): Towards a disruptive pedagogy: changing classroom practice with technologies and digital content. Educational Media International, 48:1, 1-16

Kent, P. (2010) Secondary Teaching with Interactive Whiteboards. Macmillan Education Australia PTY LTD: South Yarra. Chps. 1 & 3

Newmann, F. M. Research/Practice (2000). Center for Applied Research and Education Improvement (CAREI):University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. Retrieved from:


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