The use of interactive whiteboards (IWSs) in science instruction at high schools.
The increasing installation of the SMART Boards (electronic interactive whiteboards - IWBs) in education is an issue that cannot be ignored. South Africa is not an exception in this issue. The IWBs are gaining popularity amongst schools and educators in South Africa. With the growing number of users of IWBs in South Africa, this modern technology might have brought challenges and new opportunities to education and instructional methods at all educational levels. The purpose of the study was to investigate the use of the IWBs in the teaching and learning science in high schools. The selected schools use modern technologies that enhance teaching and learning such as the IWBs. This study aimed at developing an understanding of educators’ experiences on the benefits and challenges posed by utilizing the IWBs in their current practice with a view to drawing implications for possible recommendations for this type of technology. The study adopted a qualitative research design and followed case study methodology. It employed qualitative data collection techniques such as semi-structured individual and focus group interviews and classroom observations with purposively selected science educators in two public high schools in the Durban metropolis. The participants were six educators and eight learners from the two schools. It also followed a guided analysis based on the principles of both Connectivism and Engagement theories that informed the study. The findings revealed both benefits and challenges on educators. The most prominent benefits which educators recognized included multimedia features of the IWBs; their capabilities in learning; and their support for different learning styles. Alongside these benefits, educators also perceived challenges which involved low level of educators’ ICT skills related to insufficient professional development and training, and lack of planning. Generally; the study revealed that the IWBs can be generically beneficial tools provided some major problems are rectified. Recommendations relating to these findings are also provided, with an emphasis on technology planning and professional development as prerequisites to proper implementation of the IWBs in schools.