How does professional development affect interactive whiteboard use in public and private international school mathematics teaching in Saudi Arabia?

  • Hamad Al Halaibi

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This study is about the integration of interactive whiteboard (IWB) technology in school-based mathematics education in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). While there is a growing body of knowledge in integration of IWB technology in teacher pedagogy and its impact on student attainment in schools in the Saudi context, gaps in our knowledge still remain. Whilst the barriers to using IWB technology in schools-based education have been explored by earlier researchers in Saudi Arabia, processes of change in professional action of teachers has seldom being addressed. This study explored the factors that facilitate and obstruct teacher change in the incorporation of IWB into their pedagogical practice. This study sought to understand the reasons behind resistance by teachers in using IWB. In addition, this study aimed to understand and explore how two different school organisational setting, public and private international schools, implement the policy of using IWB. The differential outcomes of teacher change in incorporating IWB use and the efforts of school administration to overcome the barriers to change in public and private international schools are explored. This study used two theoretical frameworks to analyse processes of teacher change. Fullan's Theory of change with merit which gives seven parameters for change to occur, is used to analyse the factors facilitating/ obstructing change. Howard's Risk-aversion framework is used to analyse why teachers resist the integration of IWB technology in mathematics education. This study also conducted an evidence synthesis to analyse evidence and gaps in knowledge regarding the impact of IWB instruction on mathematical attainment.

The benefits of ICT in education and the use of IWB in mathematics has been recognised by the Ministry of Education (MoE) and it has made budgetary provisions to implement the use of IWB in education. The Saudi government has been prioritising educational development for the last fifty years. Improvement in education was sought by taking structured approaches, such as revising the curriculum and introducing technology to facilitate and enhance learning and teaching. Furthermore, continuous professional development programmes were undertaken to enable the teachers to adopt new technologies in education. However, the use of ICT in education in KSA is in its nascent stage. Even though the importance of IWB as an effective tool with the potential to revolutionise classroom instruction has been widely recognised, it remains underused in KSA.
This study was conducted in the capital city of KSA, Riyadh. Six public schools and six private international schools were selected for study. This study used qualitative interviewing and classroom observations to collect the data. The interviewee sample comprises of 40 participants in total. Two of whom were high-ranking officials from the MoE. The remaining interviews were conducted with 13 representatives of the school leadership team and 25 mathematics teachers drawn from across the six public schools and six international private schools. Classroom observations were undertaken in 12 classrooms (six in public schools and six in private international schools) to assess how students responded to the use of IWBs in the classroom and to triangulate findings from interviews against observed classroom practices.

Findings suggested that the full integration of IWB technology in mathematics education in Saudi Arabia is still aa process in development. The conditions for change as defined by Fullen are often not met, and there was evidence of resistance to change of teachers to the integration of IWB technology in mathematics education. This study concludes by making recommendations for policy and practice in teaching and learning in respect of integration and optimisation of IWB technology in schools in KSA. The limitations of the study are also explored.
Date of AwardJul 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SupervisorAllen Thurston (Supervisor) & Ian Cantley (Supervisor)


  • Interactive whiteboard
  • IWB
  • technology
  • smart board
  • math education

Cite this