Do “Interactive” Educational Technologies Promote Interactive Literacy Instruction?




This article explores the concept of lesson interactivity within six primary and elementary teachers’ use of whole-class and personal digital devices over multiple lessons including Interactive Whiteboards, data projectors, laptop computers, and others. The analysis focuses on the differences between technical vs pedagogic interactivity (Smith, Higgins, Wall, & Miller, 2005) where technical interactivity refers to direct tactile interaction with technology and pedagogic interactivity refers to the interaction between teachers, students, and lesson content which may occur with or without technology use. Technical interactivity varied in duration between teachers and lessons, but teachers’ use of whole-class devices typically exceeded students’ use. Use of personal devices by students was infrequent, and often supported the content displayed on a whole-class device. In terms of pedagogic interactivity facilitated by technology use, the most frequent activities were teacher-directed questioning and guided practice, during which the teachers had a correct answer or method in mind. Use of deeper pedagogic interaction through discussion, student inquiry, or research were not observed. Teachers expressed that they faced barriers to interactive technology use including program and resource constraints as well as lack of teacher comfort with technology.  This research was conducted following Tri-Council guidelines for the Ethical Conduct of Research Involving Humans. It has passed the research ethics board of two universities and two school districts.   

Author Biography

Meridith Ann Lovell-Johnston, Lakehead University

Meridith Lovell-Johnston is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Education at Lakehead University’s Orillia Campus. Meridith graduated with her PhD in language and literacy from the University of Alberta in 2014. Her research areas include reading pedagogy and assessment and the integration of technology into teaching. Her most recent projects investigate the implementation of literacy and inquiry practices within the Full-Day Kindergarten model in Ontario and the development of self-regulation and literacy capacity amongst Indigenous children in Northern Ontario.




How to Cite

Lovell-Johnston, M. A. (2019). Do “Interactive” Educational Technologies Promote Interactive Literacy Instruction?. Language and Literacy, 21(3), 79–111.