Meta-Analysis Summary: Interactive Whiteboard


Interactive Whiteboard Meta-AnalysisInteractive whiteboards, often known as SmartBoards, combine a computer, projector, and dry erase board to make an interactive surface. While interactive whiteboards are popular in k-12 schools, there is little evidence that they improve learning (DiGregorio & Sobel-Lojeski, 2010; Moss et al., 2005; Higgins, Beauchamp, & Miller, 2007; Higgins et al, 2005; Smith, Higgins, Wall, & Miller, 2005). For example, a large study of around 30 schools found that interactive whiteboards had no statistical impact on student learning (Moss et al., 2005). Much of the literature on interactive whiteboards is focused on teacher and student opinions (Higgins et al., 2007), which is interesting and helps direct research, but fails to capture whether or not any measurable learning actually occurred. Further, it unclear if the device is influencing learning or is it simply that teachers changed their teaching strategies because of the device. For example, if teachers use the same strategies with a whiteboard/chalkboard instead of a smart board, would their students receive the same learning benefit? Two of the main arguments for using interactive whiteboards are that they increase student motivation and provide rich visuals (Smith et al., 2005). However, much of the research is anecdotal (Higgins et al., 2007) and there are times that rich media is not beneficial (Mayer, Hegarty, Mayer, & Campbell, 2005). Additionally, some studies that show an increase in student learning are sponsored by an interactive whiteboard company (McCrummen, 2010), which should not be considered, as there is a conflict of interest between the researchers and the sponsor. While both students and teachers enjoy interactive whiteboards, there is little evidence that there is a positive impact on learning.


  1. Do not use interactive whiteboards when learning is desired.

Additional Reading

Deubel, P. (2010). Interactive whiteboards: Truths and consequences. THE Journal. Chatsworth, CA. Retrieved from

Glover, D., Miller, D., Averis, D. & Door, V. (2005) The interactive whiteboard: A literature survey. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 14(2), 155-170.

Lewin, C., Somekh, B., & Steadman, S. (2008). Embedding interactive whiteboards in teaching and learning: The process of change in pedagogic practice. Education & Information Technologies, 13(4), 291-303.


DiGregorio, P., & Sobel-Lojeski, K. (2010). The effects of interactive whiteboards (IWBs) on student performance and learning: A literature review. Journal of Educational Technology Systems38(3), 255-312.

Higgins, S., Beauchamp, G., & Miller, D. (2007). Reviewing the literature on interactive whiteboards. Learning, Media and Technology32(3), 213-225.

Higgins, S., Falzon, C., Hall, I., Moseley, D., Smith, F., Smith, H., & Wall, K. (2005). Embedding ICT in the literacy and numeracy strategies: Final report. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Newcastle University.

Mayer, R. E., Hegarty, M., Mayer, S., & Campbell, J. (2005). When static media promote active learning: Annotated illustrations versus narrated animations in multimedia instruction. Journal of Experimental Psychology Applied11(4), 256-265.

McCrummen, S. (2010). Some educators question if whiteboards, other high-tech tools raise achievement. The Washington Post. Washington, DC. Retrieved from

Moss, G., Jewitt, C., Levaaiç, R., Armstrong, V., Cardini, A., Castle, F., . . . High, S. (2007). The interactive whiteboards, pedagogy and pupil performance evaluation: An evaluation of the schools whiteboard expansion (SWE) project: London challenge. London, UK: Institute of Education.

Smith, H. J., Higgins, S., Wall, K., & Miller, J. (2005). Interactive whiteboards: Boon or bandwagon? A critical review of the literature. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning21(2), 91-101.