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Durham University

School of Education

Staff Profile

Publication details for Prof Steve Higgins

Albaaly, E. & Higgins, S. (2011). The impact of interactive whiteboard technology on medical students' achievement in ESL essay writing: an early study in Egypt. Language Learning Journal 40(2): 207-222.

Author(s) from Durham


This study investigated the impact of the interactive whiteboard on Egyptian medical students' achievement in essay writing in English as a second language (ESL). First, the writing micro-skills judged essential to help these students improve their essay writing were identified, using a questionnaire which investigated experts' views. This gave rise to a taxonomy of 29 writing micro-skills, which then provided the basis for the design of a teaching module. This module was subsequently taught to an experimental group using an interactive whiteboard to model the target micro-skills, thus exploiting the interactive features of the technology, while a control group was taught using traditional methods (pen, paper and traditional whiteboard). A pre-post essay writing test was developed to assess the impact of the module in both its experimental and traditional versions. Results showed that though the students' essay-writing skills improved in both groups, the use of the interactive whiteboard had no additional beneficial impact on the experimental group's achievement. This raises questions about the link between technological and pedagogical change in enhancing learning.