Link to Curtin homepage      CurtinSearch | Curtin Site Index 
SiMERRWA: National Centre of Science, Infomration and Communication Technology and Mathematics Education for Rural and Regional Australia - WA Hub
Contact us



Supporting a remote community school in whole-school teacher professional development to use interactive whiteboards to enhance teaching and learning in science, ICT, and mathematics

Project Title Supporting a remote community school in whole-school teacher professional development to use interactive whiteboards to enhance teaching and learning in science, ICT and mathematics
Project Coordinator Associate Professor Len Sparrow
Period 2006-2007
Funding Agency SiMERR WA


The use of interactive whiteboards in schools in Australia is relatively new, and hence there is little research into how teachers learn to use them effectively or what their impact is on students. It has been suggested that the interactive nature of interactive whiteboards is a powerful tool to motivate and engage learners and thereby enhance learning outcomes, particularly outcomes related to communication, visual learning, literacy, and numeracy. In this way interactive whiteboards can serve as powerful catalysts for innovative curriculum development that integrates ICT as a learning platform for other curriculum areas. The focus in this project was upon science, ICT, and mathematics teaching and learning.


The project aimed to support and document the use of interactive whiteboards in a remote location through an action learning/research program. The participating school is located in a remote mining community of about 500 people with an approximately 80% Indigenous population. Specifically, teachers at this K-12 remote community school were supported by SiMERR WA as they engaged in learning about, planning for, and implementing the use of interactive whiteboards. The project also had a focus on professional development, as it evaluated the processes and outcomes of a whole-school teacher professional development initiative focused on the innovative use of new technology to enhance teaching and learning in science, ICT and mathematics.

The two main research objectives of the project were:

  • To document the process of whole-school professional development in a remote school.
  • To identify the impact of the use of interactive whiteboards on teachers and their curriculum and classroom practices.

Benefits to Rural and Regional Education

The SiMERR WA Focus Group research for the National Survey highlighted a need to address the professional isolation felt by teachers in rural and remote communities. This was consistent with Focus Group findings from other areas of Australia. Teachers expressed a need to 'bounce' ideas off other teachers, and they expressed a desire for professional development to 'come to them' and be developed and conducted 'in context'. They also held views that the capacity of schools to develop school-based curricula to suit the specific local context and specific needs of students was a teaching/learning strength, and they often noted that school-developed curricula were vital for promoting school attendance and student engagement in learning, particularly for largely Indigenous cohorts of students. This project addressed all three of these identified needs: (i) structured opportunities for teachers to share ideas and work with one another; (ii) professional development support delivered to the school (not the school going elsewhere); and (iii) locally developed curricula.

Contact Associate Professor Len Sparrow