Today's classrooms use a variety of advanced technology to engage their students and boost their academic performance while making teaching more fun and interactive. The introduction of interactive displays and smartboards represent digital technology that can increase the potential of every lesson that you teach.
We couldn’t help but notice how many early classroom technologies have been adapted and are still readily used today. Take a look at some milestones in classroom technology:
1971: The University of Illinois introduced the PLATO IV terminal, the first classroom touch screen computer.
1993: Apple built and sold a touchscreen PDA (personal digital assistant) device called the Newton MessagePad 100, which featured a stylus for control and handwriting recognition software.
1999: Interactive Whiteboard: This board connects a computer to a digital projector, allowing presenters to change the images on the screen with a pen. Today, the Panasonic Panaboard and PB1 Series Interactive Displays take interactivity to the next level, with the PB1 providing pixel-by-pixel accuracy.
2007: Apple released the iPhone, which featured an innovative user interface that was completely touch-based. Simultaneously paired with Apple’s App Store, this changed the way people use touchscreen technology today.
2007: The Surface, a high-end tabletop graphical touch screen, was built by Microsoft.
2010: Tablet: Many believe the tablet to be the next classroom staple due to its versatility and portability. In this year, Apple began selling its flagship tablet, the iPad. Soon after, many competitors, including Samsung, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon, started building and selling their tablets.
Benefits of Interactive Displays in the Classroom
Increased Interaction & Collaboration
Interactive displays support active learning through student engagement opportunities and creating a more efficient classroom for teachers and administrators. Showing videos and slides can be enhanced to allow students to become involved in the learning process. By providing these newer and increased numbers of activities, teachers facilitate active learning. Multi-touch capabilities let groups of students edit and experience onscreen content as a team and brainstorm. Students can experiment and demonstrate their results to the rest of the class.
Better Student Engagement
Students in classes that utilize interactive touch displays are often more engaged and more attentive. This benefit is seen at all levels of education, along with improvements to participation, motivation, and cooperation.
Enhanced Support for All Learning Styles
Lessons that allow students to use the board let kinesthetic learners be active by standing up and moving while learning. Videos and multimedia presentations are great for visual and auditory learners. Teachers can capture and save notes written on the screen to send to students who learn from reading. This support creates an opportunity for learning at home or at one’s own pace. Assistive technology built into interactive displays can help students with special needs by displaying captions, text highlighters, and using text to speech software.
Touch screens create a more inclusive classroom by supporting users with special needs, including physical impairment, as using a mouse and keyboard can be a challenge. Arthritis for some creates difficulty operating a mouse or keyboard, whereas using a stylus or ‘touch’ can be easier with the same or similar results.
Interactive displays offer effective and trackable feedback. When students receive more feedback, the learning environment is improved. By providing timely and consistent feedback, students learn at a faster rate.
Interactive touch screen displays help keep classes productive and focused. When students are more engaged, they are less likely to become disruptive. Fun and dynamic lessons, when created effectively, fascinate students and gain attention. Handy tools such as timers, games with animations, and noise level meters make a cohesive classroom.
Interactive displays enhance the communication of teachers to students. One opportunity is when displays aren’t in use, IT and media specialists in a school can use them to share important messages such as emergency alerts. In the event of an emergency, interactive displays can display alerts that communicate important information. To improve the communication in your school, you should choose an interactive display for your classroom that allows you to show Rise Vision on it when it’s idle.
Ease of Use
Ease of use is one of the most important aspects when building touchscreens. This user-friendly focus does not require concentration compared to a keyboard and mouse setup. Interactive displays should not require any training other than using the software and tools that come with each unit.
Like most work, speed is relative to the task at hand. Teachers using these devices are looking for efficiency in their lesson instruction. Traditional mouse and keyboards are a quick click-and-drag but the accuracy of clicks is improved with a stylus. Using a finger on a touch screen display affects this accuracy and may result in a delay of lessons if a mistake is made and needs to be corrected.
Interactive displays use glass coated with a material that prevents smudges and dirt from collecting on them. For this reason, teachers enjoy incorporating classroom engagement with student volunteers to use the technology as a learning opportunity. Then when the lesson is completed and before the following one, screens can be easily cleaned.
Where do touchscreen devices find their way into classrooms?
SMART boards were one of the first established interactive displays for education and still one of the most well-known and recognized interactive whiteboards today. Interactive whiteboards are often called a “smartboard”. SMART is a brand name and subsequently has many competitors.
SMART gained brand recognition by providing durable, steel-backed, touch-sensitive, multitouch whiteboards with an additional offering of interactive LED and LCDs. SMART is known for its Notebook classroom software which offers a great user experience. Notebook is an educational tool that provides abilities to draw, annotate, and screen record. No board fits all size requirements and needs for a classroom.
Promethean launched themselves into the market by offering touch-sensitive interactive whiteboards with styluses. Their current products now include multi-touch LED and LCD interactive displays. Their devices allow more than one user at a time or one user to use two-handed gestures. These core offerings make them comparable to SMART.
Licenses for ActivInspire and Classflow software are included with Promethean interactive systems, making them impactful for educators, businesses, and government applications. Promethean displays offer tools for math and media, as well as high-quality presentation functionality. ActivInspire is an interactive presentation program. These award-winning lesson delivery applications are pre-built and configurable to educator's needs through the Promethean Planet Platform.
Promethean devices come pre-installed with their Whiteboard app with the capability of true annotation; which is comparable to SMART’s screen capture with text that can be layered on top. Promethean Titanium arrives with a built-in Android 8 computer with no annual maintenance fee (SMART Notebook software has a fee).
Newline Interactive Displays provide benefits no matter the location in the school. Some key features include wireless content sharing from any device and two-way screen control with built-in speakers. Newline displays are optically bonded (the process of gluing the touchscreen to the LCD cell to fill the air gap between them completely). The end result of this process creates a clear viewing experience from anywhere in the room.
Clear Touch is another competitor in the interactive display industry. Their product and service offering makes them unique. Clear Touch sells interactive displays, software, and solutions in all shapes and sizes. They offer training and technical support for all of their devices.
Viewsonic is unique for its projectors and ViewBoards. Their projectors can be adopted for home theatres, conference rooms, large venues, and classrooms. Viewsonic currently features a line of monitors, used for gaming, home, and business professionals.
TouchView is a certified partner of Microsoft. They offer interactive display solutions for businesses and schools across the United States. Their displays for education are built with Anti-Glare protective glass and Android OS with a 4K resolution. Magnetic pens for annotation are included and their touchscreens are capable of 20 simultaneous points of touch.
Benq, similar to Viewsonic, builds and sells monitors, home projectors along with eye-care monitors and computer monitor lights. For education, Benq’s line of interactive displays are designed with functionality for running two apps side by side (e.g. a whiteboard on one side and supporting content on the other). Personal settings and documentation can be loaded onto an NFC card. This makes loading lesson materials from Google Drive, OneDrive, and Dropbox simple and convenient.
Is the learning environment improved?
Everyone can agree, interactive touch screen displays create a fun classroom. Teachers draw students’ attention and overall students are more engaged. This makes a cohesive classroom. Through active learning and support for all learning styles, teachers can incorporate new lesson activities, including games, video, and active discussions with on-screen annotations. These displays are easy to use, do not require hardware training, and are easy to implement. So the question is not, “how are interactive displays beneficial,” the question is how soon can we implement these into our classroom.
Interactive displays are one of the technologies that provide benefits to your classroom. To learn about other tools click here.