How to know which product is right for you:
Educational technology represents a big investment for schools—so it makes sense to do your research before you buy. Which products will make the greatest difference in your learning environment? Will the teachers and students really use the technology in meaningful ways? How will you roll-out your new technology? Who needs to be involved in the decision?
We can help set up some purchasing guidelines to help drive your decision. Don’t get overwhelmed by the sheer number of different options that are available. Instead, take a look at these 6 essential questions to establish your requirements and to point yourself in the right direction.
1. What is your budget?
This is the first question that you should address before you begin making your purchasing decision. However, it’s not as simple as it first appears. Many schools opt for the device with the lowest possible price per unit—but this approach can be short-sighted.
Lower-priced devices often have associated costs, such as software licensing fees, repair and replacement costs, and IT support, that drive up the total cost of ownership. For example, a classroom projector may cost less than an interactive panel upfront, but the cost of installing, repairing the technology and replacing bulbs is significant and may end up costing you more over time.
Clear Touch Interactive panels arrive fully loaded with our educational software suite, which includes a user license for Snowflake, EasiConnect, and EasiNote as well as 10 licenses for DisplayNote. Unlike projectors, our smart flat panels run for years with no decrease in brightness or need for expensive bulb replacement.
2. How old are your students?
This is an important question to ask because it highlights the functionality your students need in their classroom technology. Younger students, for instance, typically do better with tablet-style devices with touch screens that help build their manual dexterity while Junior High and High School students tend to need more functionality than tablets offer and do better with laptops or desktop devices.
Fortunately, our durable, flexible interactive panels offer multiple connectivity, including mobile connectivity, and feature 10 simultaneous points of touch so that students can collaborate more easily. Plus, the built-in DisplayNote software not only allows students to connect to the interactive display, it also enables them to annotate and share their work on the screen. Our convertible mobile stands are an excellent choice for younger students and older students alike, turning the panel into an interactive learning station that gets students out of their seats.
3. What educational technology do you already use or plan to purchase?
New technology may not work on all devices, such as Chromebooks, iPads, Windows, Lynux or third party cameras. Make sure that you confirm that any new purchases will interact smoothly with the educational technology that you are already using so that you don’t end up with the logistical nightmare of devices that won’t communicate.
Our interactive panels work with virtually all existing technology. The displays include 9 input ports and work equally well with all types of devices, including DVD players, iPads, document cameras, laptops, Chromebooks, and Apple TV. They are also available with an optional onboard PC to enhance processing power, and they run on a built-in Android OS that features a familiar user interface and robust functionality.
4. What are the technology goals of your school?
By the time students reach Junior High, most schools that are serious about digital readiness expect them to be familiar with a wide variety of devices and software programs. STEM, STEAM, and STREAM programs emphasize complex applications such as CAD, PhotoShop, and multi-media software that prepare students for the workplace.
Not all devices are robust enough to run these large programs at all—or without a significant reduction in speed. Don’t forget about the processing power that’s required to run some of these more heavy-duty applications. Our interactive displays include enough memory to run most programs, and we offer three levels of optional onboard PC Modules if you need more processing power or decide to upgrade at a later date. Plus, the familiar Android operating system lets users seamlessly integrate multiple devices and run programs from the cloud.
5. How tech-savvy are your teachers? How much training time are they willing to invest?
The best educational technology in the world is useless if the teachers at your school aren’t willing to learn it and use it. Don’t choose technology that’s so complicated that it discourages teacher participation and buy-in, or that takes so much time to set up and calibrate each day that it cuts into their valuable teaching time. Educational technology is supposed to make planning and teaching easier on your teachers—not more difficult.
Our interactive displays are so simple and intuitive to use that we can typically complete set-up and conduct initial training in one day. All your teachers have to do each day is turn the panels on and connect. The panels work with any software, which means that teachers can use applications that they already know and love. Plus, we offer comprehensive ongoing training and support through webinars, Clear Touch Academy, and community groups for users who want to gain a more in-depth knowledge of everything our powerful panels can do.
6. How involved is your IT department? What kind of support services do you think you’ll need?
At many schools, the IT department is stretched thin trying to maintain a large network and keep every classroom online and operational. Setting up new educational technology may or may not require IT expertise, so it’s wise to determine how much IT support you think you’ll need before making a purchase.
Clear Touch Interactive offers ongoing support, including on-site training, and our interactive displays feature out-of-the-box functionality so that you don’t have to overburden your IT staff. As a U.S. owned-and-operated company, we partner with certified resellers around the country, who can provide professional installation and set-up as well.
There are other questions to consider before investing in educational technology for your school—How often do you plan to upgrade? Which operating system do you want your students to learn?—but these initial 6 questions will get you a long way toward a smart decision. Browse our product selection to see if Clear Touch Interactive panels might be the right solution for you. Or, if you’re ready to see our panels in action, contact us for a no obligation on-site demo. Our certified representatives are always happy to answer your questions and tell you more about our unique product.
Interested in learning more and talking in person? Visit us at booth 315 at NCCE March 22-24