Pinelake Church describes itself as one church with multiple locations. Pinelake launched their multi-site churches in 2006 and since then, has grown to the largest church in Mississippi with five locations across the state and more locations planned in the future. Between the five campuses, the church’s sermons reach approximately 11,000 people attending one of their 15 services per week and between 2,000 to 3,000 people who watch the live stream online.
It all started with a request from the Senior Pastor at Pinelake Church.
Pinelake has long been known for its emphasis on teaching the Word of God in an accessible and straightforward way. The pastoral staff wanted to be able to interact with a screen during their sermons to underline scripture, circle key points, and draw illustrations, enhancing the message. They asked the church’s Worship Technology Specialist, Connor Holland, to find the best interactive panel for their needs. “I work directly for the technology director at the church and do everything from helping find new tech to enhance worship to fixing broken tech and training our team to make better use of what we have,” said Holland. “If it’s technology for worship, I’m involved.”
Despite his broad technical background and experience, Holland said that he felt slightly overwhelmed when he first began his search—the number of products and the technical options and innovations were far more extensive than he had anticipated.
The Search for the Best Interactive Panels for Their Ministry
“There were so many brands and lines of products available, and I wanted to make sure I was recommending the absolute best technology for our ministry,” Holland said. “I was looking for a panel that would look great on stage, be incredibly easy to use, and give us the best return for our investment.”
According to Holland, he zeroed in on Clear Touch® due to the company’s hands-on sales process and prompt responses. He reached out to several other companies offering similar products and couldn’t get anyone to respond to his emails, but Clear Touch® responded immediately and followed up with a phone call and visit.
“I completed an online demo with Clear Touch and, shortly after that, I received a phone call to schedule an in-person demo,” said Holland. “The fact that this company was willing to bring their product out and let me test it in person made all the difference. I may not have pulled the trigger without that demo, without experiencing the panel for myself. As the technology specialist, I also have a lot of comfort knowing that I’m working with a US-based company that I can get in touch with easily—and that I know is going to respond quickly and answer my questions.”
Since Pinelake Church was planning to use the interactive panel in a different way than most customers, Holland and his Clear Touch® representatives spent some time together making sure the panel would do everything they needed it to do.
“We’re a multi-site church with a remote congregation watching via our online stream as well, so we needed to be sure the panel would look good on camera and work seamlessly with our current technology,” said Holland. “Clear Touch helped us figure out some work-arounds to integrate the panel into our system and get the colors right for camera so our sermons would have the same quality and our church members have the same experience, whether they’re in the room with the pastor, at another campus, or watching from home.”
“The fact that this company was willing to bring their product out and let me test it in person made all the difference.”
— Connor Holland
Implementing the Clear Touch® Panels at Pinelake Church
Pinelake Church ended up purchasing two panels. One for their teaching pastors to use during their sermons, and one for the upstairs conference room. The church uses the panel in the conference room for conference calls and meetings, but the panel they use during sermons has the most visibility and gets the most use. “We use our panel multiple times a week as a teaching and preaching tool, and we’re finding that we can accomplish everything we need to,” Holland said. “We’ve also connected to other churches and been able to post and share what we’re doing at Pinelake. It’s been really cool to see the reaction, see churches reach out, and be able to help them figure it out for their congregations.” Holland says that integrating the panel into the sermons has required them to find a way to interact with and drive content from multiple places at once. For example, often the pastor is on stage interacting with the panel directly to annotate text, read scripture, play a video, or advance slides. Other times, the pastor needs to speak from the podium, walk the stage, or read from his notes or Bible while someone else advances the presentation for him. “It’s been an interesting new dynamic, working with a panel on the stage. It’s been fun to figure out,” Holland said. “Clear Touch offers a flexible, customizable solution that’s enabled us to run our unique application. It’s a great computer and an awesome panel.”
Pinelake has been able to use the optional embedded PC to remote login and control the content from another computer when needed. “We’ve used a dummy HDMI plug to control the slides from another display that the congregation doesn’t see on stage,” said Holland. “We can move the presentation forward and backward, open webpages, or click on videos without anyone seeing the mouse or browser. All they see is the full-screen display and the content itself.” In addition to the remote login capabilities, Holland and his team appreciate the strong computer, the numerous connection options, and the Android interface. “The ability to detach and upgrade the computer if a better, faster model becomes available was a major selling point for us. We picked the highest-power option and we’ve plugged an ethernet cable into it; we wanted a hardline in for the most secure connection,” Holland said. “But Clear Touch has so many options for plugging into it and connecting, I know we’ll always have the versatility we need to accomplish our goals. I also think of the Android interface as a failure mode, back-up solution. If all else fails and our computers all crash on us, the pastor can still access and control his presentation through the built-in Android interface. We never have to worry that we’ll have insurmountable technical difficulties on a Sunday morning.” As the largest church in Mississippi, Pinelake has developed an approach to preaching and teaching that takes the congregation’s needs and their time into consideration. According to Holland, their worship technology team works hard to avoid situations where the speaker has to fumble with technology. “I know everyone’s seen presentations where the speaker has to spend ten minutes figuring out how to connect the panel or get back to the previous slide. We don’t want to see that here. We take what we put up on Sunday seriously, and we’re always shooting for excellence,” said Holland. “Anything we use needs to be one-hundred percent reliable and work seamlessly. It has to be an aid and learning tool, not a distraction. Ultimately, that’s why we chose Clear Touch—because the technology puts the focus on the speaker and the message rather than calling attention to itself.”
For many people, it’s the first thing they look at when they wake up in the morning and the last thing they check before going to bed at night. No, we’re not talking about the great book you’re reading, your kids, your spouse, or even your own reflection. We’re talking about your smartphone.
According to the U.S. edition of the 2018 Global Mobile Consumer Survey from Deloitte, American consumers check their smartphones an average of 52 times every day, or over 3 times every waking hour. That number is significantly higher for cell phone users between the ages of 18 and 34, who check their phones over 100 times a day. It’s no wonder that discussions about smartphone etiquette are at top-of-mind in our culture—or that July has been deemed cell phone courtesy month.
Naturally, we also check our smartphones at the office. But have you ever thought about the effect that poor boundaries and inconsiderate cell phone behavior could be having on your career? Are you standing in the way of your own success? Overusing your phone at work makes you appear less serious, less powerful, less productive, and less able to focus. Conversely, being able to limit your cell phone use at the office gives you an automatic edge over less disciplined colleagues.
If you’re ready to practice better smartphone etiquette and control your cell phone habit (instead of letting it control you), keep reading. These tips can help you win at work.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Workplace Cell Phone Manners
Even though the modern workplace is becoming more phone-tolerant, older professionals are far more likely to think cell phone use at work is always inappropriate. That’s right—those people who are in direct authority over you and sign your paychecks don’t like it when you’re on your phone too often. Other behaviors, such as talking on the phone in shared spaces or playing games on your phone are also considered taboo in the workplace. We’ve broken down proper smartphone etiquette into five specific scenarios to help you navigate any office situation you may encounter.
Basic Office Smartphone Etiquette.
Our work environments may have changed significantly in the past few decades, but our ideas about respect and basic courtesy haven’t changed that much. Establishing a few professional courtesies when it comes to your smartphone use at work will improve your reputation as a dedicated, collegial employee and coworker.
- Keep your phone on silent. Even if you have your own office, it’s best to turn off both your ringer and any other notification sounds while you’re at work. Our brains are now conditioned to respond to our smartphone buzzing and dinging, which can be a distraction to you and your coworkers.
- Limit phone use to important calls—and take it outside. Or to an empty meeting room, huddle space, or other private area. While it’s perfectly acceptable to answer a call from your child’s school or to respond to a family emergency, save casual conversations for your break or your drive home. Hands-free, of course.
- Keep it professional. Smartphones are often an important business tool, especially if your job requires a lot of time out of the office or in meetings. Conducting business, scheduling appointments, or responding to work emails from your phone are sometimes necessary evils. However, you’re unlikely to score any points with your boss and coworkers if you spend your time sending personal texts, playing games, watching videos, or scrolling social media feeds.
- Don’t use your phone in the restroom. We’ve all seen those movie scenes where an employee is having a loud conversation in the bathroom stall while coworkers are forced to listen in. Don’t be that person. It’s not only rude to your colleagues, it’s also rude to the person you’re talking to.
Cell Phone Protocol At Your Desk.
First, it’s important to recognize that “at your desk” can mean different things for different employees. Do you have your own office with a door that closes? Do you share an office? Or do you work in an open concept office where you share space with colleagues? Your answers to these questions will, in large part, determine the proper smartphone etiquette. Here are a couple general guidelines to keep in mind when using your cell phone at your desk.
- Limit texting. Typically, unless your employer forbids any phone use at work, it’s not considered rude to send a quick text message while at your desk—but be careful and consider how you’re presenting yourself. You don’t want it to look like you aren’t on task during the workday.
- Step away from your desk to take your call. If you have your own office and can close the door, it’s alright to take phone calls at your desk. However, if you share space in any way, it’s best to take your calls elsewhere. (As long as you’re not conducting business or taking personal calls in the restroom or break room!) If you take the call outside, try to observe the 10-foot rule. In other words, don’t pace and talk right next to someone else’s office window.
- Out of sight, out of mind. Did you know that recent studies have shown that the mere presence of your smartphone reduces your brainpower? Even if it’s turned off. That’s right. Just by having your smartphone within your field of vision, you may be splitting your focus and sabotaging your own productivity. The best practice at work is to keep your cell phone in a desk drawer or in your bag instead of on your workspace next to your computer. Discipline yourself to check your phone only at predetermined times and then put it away again. You may feel jumpy, nervous, and disconnected at first—but you can retrain your brain, and your neurons will thank you.
Smartphone Etiquette In a Meeting.
In a recent survey, over half of respondents admitted to regularly checking their phones during meetings and presentations—the problem has gotten so bad that many top CEOs are banning smartphones from meetings.
We get it. Meetings can suck. But they suck a lot more when everyone is distracted, half-listening, asking questions that have already been answered, and causing presenters to have to repeat themselves. The best way to ensure a lively, dynamic and productive meeting is to be alert and engaged yourself. This may mean putting your smartphone away, nodding, speaking up and offering suggestions. Bonus: when you contribute to the ongoing conversation at your office, you’re more likely to get noticed for that upcoming promotion.
- Keep your cell phone off the conference table. Remember that study we mentioned earlier? Your cell phone is a distraction, even when it’s not in use. Placing your cell phone on the conference table causes you to split your attention. It gives your brain a virtual escape route that may prevent you from focusing on the task at hand or keep you from having that next breakthrough idea. More importantly, putting your phone in front of you can signal to your employer and coworkers that you aren’t taking the meeting seriously.
- And out of your lap. You aren’t fooling anyone—we all know what you’re doing down there.
- Unless it’s being used as a meeting tool—then turn off notifications. Of course, it’s all about the context and there are exceptions to every rule. Using your smartphone as a tool to conduct business is a common situation that doesn’t negatively affect your focus during the meeting. You may need to use your personal phone to make a conference call, record a meeting for internal use, or wirelessly connect to an interactive display to control your presentation slides. In any of these situations, be sure you’ve turned off all notifications before the meeting begins. The last thing you want is a sweet text from your significant other popping up in front of all your coworkers.
- Excuse yourself if you have to take a call. Life happens, and even employers understand this. If your spouse is in the hospital, you’re the primary caregiver for your elderly mom, or your kid is on a school trip and you get an important call, it’s okay to step out for a moment. Do it quickly and with as little fanfare as possible—this isn’t the time for profuse apologies and long-winded explanations. Simply say something like: “Excuse me. This is about my mom.” And then step out of the meeting and into a private place to accept the call. When you’re finished, return to the meeting without saying anything. You can let everyone know what’s going on later.
Using a Smartphone While at a Business Lunch or Coffee.
You finally got your manager or a senior partner at your firm to agree to have lunch with you this Friday. Don’t blow the opportunity by practicing poor cell phone etiquette during the lunch meeting. Even if your lunch or coffee is with peers, if they’re important enough to schedule time with outside of the office, they deserve your full attention.
- Don’t make your smartphone part of the place setting. We may be starting to sound like a broken record here, but you don’t want to put your phone on the lunch or coffee table for the same reasons you don’t want it out on your desk or on the conference table. It distracts you and it signals to your lunch partner that you aren’t invested in the conversation. Plus, it’s just too tempting to take a quick peek. Keep the phone in the bag to avoid the temptation.
- Give your undivided attention to the person in front of you. Whatever you do, don’t glance down at your phone while you’re having lunch with a colleague. It may seem like a minor infraction to you, but unless you’re a first responder or other emergency worker, it’s generally considered to be rude. Good things happen when people get together and start talking, especially over a meal. Checking your phone will definitely ruin the moment and interfere with the rapport you’re working so hard to build.
- If you’re waiting for an important call or text, provide advance notice. Have you ever found yourself double-booked or waiting for an important call or text during another important event? If you’re in this situation during a business lunch, give your colleague advance notice. Say something like: “My apologies, but my boss is trying to schedule a big meeting later this week and I may need to take a quick call or text to confirm the time.” When the call or text comes in, deal with it as quickly as possible and get back to the person you’re with.
Cell Phone Use In the Break Room.
Would it surprise you to know that innovative ideas are more likely during informal meetings and casual bump-ins with your colleagues than during a scheduled meeting? Modern workplaces are taking advantage of this fact by designing flexible work environments that may include non-traditional break areas such as café spaces, couches, lounge-like areas, and even foosball or air hockey tables. No matter what your break room looks like, you could be depriving yourself of great ideas and valuable networking opportunities if you spend all of your time buried in your phone.
- Don’t take calls in the break room. Generally speaking, you should treat the break room like any other common area and avoid using it to take your calls. Even if you’re the only one in there at the moment, a colleague could walk in and be inconvenienced by your conversation.
- Glance up from your phone when people enter your space. Sometimes, you really do need a break from everything and everyone. You may need to plug in your phone and watch some videos, listen to your music, or text a good friend—and that’s totally fine. Just be sure that you don’t let your behavior border on anti-social. When other people enter the space, look up. Smile, nod, make eye contact, say a quick hello. Do something to acknowledge their presence before you go back to your phone.
- When possible, prioritize in-person interactions. While you may need an electronic escape from time-to-time, try not to make it a habit or to use your phone as a crutch in uncomfortable situations. Prioritizing conversations with your coworkers over virtual interactions will help you feel more job satisfaction and put you on track for career success.
Remember, there’s a time and a place for everything. As our workplaces become more connected to the outside world, it’s important that we don’t allow ourselves to become disconnected from each other.
If you’re trying to practice good cell phone etiquette at work and you encounter a new situation, use your common sense and follow three fundamental rules: 1.) Don’t allow your phone to become a distraction to yourself or others, 2.) Focus 100-percent of your mental energy on the task at hand, and 3.) Give the person in front of you your undivided attention.
By following these three rules, you will establish yourself as a disciplined, personable, serious employee who’s ready to win at work.
Walton County School District is located about 30 miles east of Atlanta and serves nearly 14,000 K-12 students at 15 schools. This forward-thinking school district recently passed a 1:1 initiative. All junior high and high school students receive personal Chromebooks to enhance their classroom learning, and the 1:1 initiative is planned to go districtwide, including elementary students, in the 2019-2020 school year.
In addition to this initiative, Walton County School District is going through a retrofit process, replacing all of their outdated Smart Boards with Clear Touch™ interactive panels.
“What drove us to look for new technology was the technical and hardware side of things. My team was dying on the vine with projectors and older Smart Boards that were giving us lots of problems at multiple schools every single day,” said Todd Antwine, the Director of Information and Technology Services for Walton County. “We were looking for something that would just work—that we wouldn’t have to support daily in the classroom.”
However, once Antwine and his team started their search, they quickly realized that there were many new factors to take into account in their decision-making process.
“We were thinking of this decision purely in terms of the IT requirements. When we began looking, we discovered almost immediately that we’d need to bring curriculum and instructional support technicians, media specialists, and teachers to the table as well,” said Antwine. “What was now available offered so much more functionality and instructional capabilities than we’d had with our Smart Boards. It was a whole different world of options and possibilities.”
Collaborating with Instructional Support Staff and Teachers
Antwine and his IT team decided to conduct a multi-staged search in order to determine which technology would be the best fit for their schools and deliver the most value for their budget. The process began with six vendors, who were each invited in during a two-day period to pitch their classroom solutions.
“We gave each vendor about two hours to show everyone what their technology could do,” explained Antwine. “We looked at Dell, BenQ, Promethean, all the big ones. In the end, we narrowed our choice down to Clear Touch and ViewSonic. Those two stood out the most in terms of both the reliability of the technology and what they could do for teachers.”
Duane Embry has served as the Director of Instructional Technology for Walton County for 20 years. He was also involved in the decision-making process and pitch meetings, and Clear Touch™ was his hands-down favorite.
“I oversee anything that deals with instruction and technology in the classroom, from conducting trainings to ensure the technology is being used correctly to the backend management of our instructional applications” said Embry. “From the very beginning, Clear Touch felt like a more complete package to me. It was more stable than the other options we looked at and included extra control features on the backend and instructional software on the front end that was far superior to what the other vendors offered.”
After the pitch meetings, Walton County School District placed Clear Touch™ and ViewSonic panels at several different elementary, middle, and high school classrooms and media centers for a 30-day evaluation. Then, they put out a single bid for both brands.
“When we bid, we all knew that Clear Touch was the choice if all things were close in the bidding process,” Antwine said. “The two companies ended up being neck-and-neck on overall pricing, but the experience was so much better with Clear Touch.”
“From the very beginning, Clear Touch felt like a more complete package to me.”
— Duane Embry
Rolling Out the New Technology
Since Walton County had been a Smart school district for so long, Todd Antwine wanted to make sure that they were thoughtful about their roll out plan. They decided to start with six schools, and they installed 323 panels last summer. They also placed a panel on a mobile stand at each of the nine other schools so teachers at those schools could begin training on the panels.
“I knew that completely overhauling 15 schools at once wasn’t going to be realistic for us,” said Antwine. “We couldn’t handle that logistically, because we want to provide enough training and support so each teacher can get the most value out of the panels and transition smoothly. We also wouldn’t have been able to find room in our budget for a complete technology renovation, because funds are typically budgeted out four years in advance.”
According to Antwine, the expandability of the full Clear Touch™ product line allows for a staggered roll out—and was a major deciding factor for his team.
“My job is to provide the best possible tools available for our teachers. But if I can’t afford it, the tools are no good to me. I can’t have any of it,” Antwine said. “That’s where the expandability of Clear Touch becomes so crucial. I can get the panels now and easily add accessories at a later date when more funds become available. I can install panels at six schools this summer and know that I’ll get the newer model when I install more panels next summer. Clear Touch is constantly upgrading their line and making improvements. It’s amazing that I’m able to get the newest panels in the contract and know I’m never going to spend money on older technology. Being able to better manage our cash flow and spread out the expense is a significant budgetary benefit to us.”
This summer, Walton County will be installing an additional 400 panels across the district, leaving only two schools left to complete in the 2019-2020 school year.
The Impact of Clear Touch™ Panels in the Classroom
Walton County has had the panels installed for nearly a full school year now, and the transition has been going well.
“I’ve been hearing lots of stories about how the teachers are using their panels. We’re seeing more student engagement, more teachers letting students take control of the panels,” said Embry. “They’ve changed the way the teachers approach their teaching—the wireless keyboards and Collage are making our classrooms more mobile and interactive.”
Todd Antwine has also noticed the effect that interactive panels and the bundled software suite are having in the district.
“We were sold on the panels because of the hardware and the extremely good warranty. We knew Clear Touch was going to stand behind their product,” Antwine said. “The teachers who rely on the panels every day fell in love with the simplicity of the panels and the instructional capacity of the software that’s included. They turn the panel on and can get started immediately with very little training. Both the panel and the software are so intuitive.”
The panels have also transformed the way teachers approach technology in the classroom because they are dependable.
“I don’t usually hear about the technology our teachers are using unless there’s a complaint—and I’ve heard no complaints,” said Antwine. “That tells me the teachers are liking the panels. I’ve walked the halls this school year and seen the teachers in the classroom using their panels. That made me realize how often I used to look into classrooms and see teachers not using the Smart Boards. It’s extremely important for teachers to have tools that will enhance what they’re doing daily and mirror the way they actually teach. They need to have tools that work every time, or it becomes a total waste. If your teachers don’t trust their technology, they won’t plan lessons around it. They might as well not have anything.”
The Impact of Clear Touch™ Panels for the IT Team
The transformation of how Walton County manages technology has been even more impressive than the changes that Antwine and Embry have noticed in the classroom.
“When I compare our support efforts before and after Clear Touch, there’s no contest,” said Antwine. “We had technicians dealing with multiple tickets per building per day just for A/V equipment in the classrooms. There were blown bulbs, projectors that started pixelating, Smart Boards that had to be recalibrated or that weren’t connecting. Now, on average we’ve had less than one ticket per day across all of our schools that have the new panels. And those typically turn out to be an end user issue, not a technology issue.”
Since Clear Touch™ panels are so reliable, the IT team has been able to dedicate its time to other projects.
“These panels have freed us up to be more proactive about managing our technology and taking on new projects,” Antwine said. “We’ve tackled items that have been on the bucket list for years and solved problems before they start. We’ve been able to actually support the teachers more comprehensively and make their jobs easier rather than spending all our time chasing urgent problems in a reactive way. Clear Touch has completely changed the culture in tech support.”
Antwine believes the rollout has been so successful thanks to the collaboration and communication between Clear Touch™ and the Walton County School District IT team.
“One thing I greatly appreciate is how much Clear Touch is willing to work with us. They invited us to a technology leaders forum and wanted to hear our opinions, wanted to know what was working for as and where they could make things better,” said Antwine. “I felt like they valued our input. You don’t get that kind of considerations from a company that’s too large. I believe that if I sent an email to the CEO, I’d get a response. They’re big enough to meet our demands—but not so big that they don’t care.”
These 10 Collaboration Tools for Education are Boosting Student Engagement and Bringing Interactive Fun to the Classroom.
In many discussions about educational technology, the conversation usually revolves around teachers and their ability to interact with the latest technology. This tendency makes sense, especially since teachers are responsible for guiding and shaping the classroom learning experience. However, as important as it is for educators to be familiar with EdTech offerings, it may be even more important to ensure students are given access to digital collaboration tools that encourage them to become active participants in their education.
To say that today’s average student is familiar with technology would be an understatement. Whether they’re playing educational video games at home, conducting group study sessions on FaceTime, or sharing report research via Google Drive, the majority of school-age children view technology as the norm, not the exception. In many cases, the youngest people in the classroom are often the most technologically savvy.
While opinions vary widely when it comes to the advantages and disadvantages for children growing up in such a technology-reliant society, it’s safe to say that teachers who want to connect with their students will need to find ways to incorporate the latest technology into their lesson. If you’re a teacher wondering which online tools will help you create a collaborative classroom environment that engages your students’ minds and imaginations, we have a few suggestions to get you started.
10 of the Best Online Tools for Student Collaboration
With an intuitive, user-friendly interface designed by teachers for teachers, Edmodo operates as a communication portal for students, teachers, and parents. No more questions about assignments, quizzes, and grades. Edmodo creates a space where everyone can communicate confidently without the pressure of a group setting or the inconvenience of scheduling face-to-face conversations.
Rather than fighting the overwhelming popularity of video games, this app’s designers decided to use it to increase student participation in K-12 classrooms. Loosely based on popular role-playing games like World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy, Classcraft “reframes student progress” by allowing students to create a personal avatar. Then, throughout the course of everyday class activities, students earn character upgrades through positive behaviors, regular attendance, academic achievement, and more.
Despite its potential pitfalls, social media is still a powerful tool for collaboration. But in a school setting, the open source platform of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can be distracting for students. With its familiar, interactive design, Yammer allows customized groups to share ideas, information, and feedback, making it an ideal communication tool for teachers, students, and parents.
For teachers looking to expand their students’ worldview and understanding, PenPal Schools might be the ticket. The global PenPal community, which consists of more than 15,000 educators in 150 countries, is ideal for project-based learning in a variety of subjects. With a focus on security and safety, program access is open only to verified teachers and students, and teachers maintain the ability to monitor all messages.
Part mind mapping tool, part PowerPoint, Popplet gives students a clear, concise way to compile multiple ideas on a single topic and share them with each other. From brainstorming for a writing project to visualizing relationships between newly discovered images and information, this cooperative application lets users record their thoughts from a tablet or computer and display them for the rest of the class to see.
With the tagline “Make Math Social,” this engaging app uses classroom interaction to enhance problem-solving skills. When presented with math problems, students use CueThink to select a strategy and display their work. The app also gives classmates the ability to share positive critique and feedback. As students learn to solve problems, they also gain the ability to communicate their thought process to others.
Minecraft is arguably one of the most popular video games in the world, and this academic version allows teachers to incorporate lessons into the open-world gaming environment. Minecraft Education Edition engages children in group exercises that, according to the game’s developers, “promote creativity, collaboration, and problem solving in an immersive environment where the only limit is your imagination.”
When it comes to exciting subject matter, most teachers will tell you that economics rarely tops the list. However, with web-based games that let students simulate real-world scenarios, Economics-Games.com weaves in a little friendly competition to make the subject come alive. Since there are no apps or software to download, students and teachers can access the games wherever there’s an internet connection.
This exciting educational tool puts the “active” in “interactive.” While GooseChase features an extensive game library that teachers can use to teach everything from physical education to basic grammar, the app also features scavenger hunt-style lessons that can also add an extra element of fun to field trips. As a bonus, GooseChase developers also incorporated staff training and professional development exercises.
By focusing on 3D design, Makers Empire gives students the opportunity to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills in an online collaborative environment. The designers of Makers Empire began with a desire to encourage STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) learning at the early stages of education. The popularity of this online tool suggests they accomplished their goal.
With so many online collaboration tools for students, it is helpful for classrooms to have interactive displays that can accommodate a wide array of apps and programs. Thanks to their software agnostic design, Clear Touch Interactive® panels do just that. Each panel features a crystal-clear, ultra HD picture, bundled software package, and intuitive multi-touch technology that encourage students to get actively involved with their education. To see a Clear Touch™ panels and software in action, schedule a Live Online Demo today.
Which is the best whiteboard app for your school or business
Whiteboards have been integral parts of boardrooms and classrooms for decades, but digital whiteboards are changing the game. Just as it has done in virtually every other part of society, modern technology has transformed the way business leaders and educators interact with whiteboards in professional settings. As computers and cloud-based applications revolutionized the ability to store and share information, traditional whiteboards—while still the go-to for quick brainstorming sessions—were largely relegated to the background. Until the introduction of digital whiteboards, that is.
Thanks to the development of whiteboard apps and software solutions, it is easier than ever to leverage the convenience and functionality of a traditional whiteboard while simultaneously incorporating collaborative features like file sharing, remote accessibility, and video conferencing. But as with any new technological innovation, the digital whiteboard market quickly filled with products touting their design as “the next best thing.” With so many to choose from, it can be frustrating to figure out which solution is best for your needs.
To save you time and research, we compared three of the leading digital whiteboard applications, Google Jamboard, Microsoft Whiteboard, and the AWW App. After reviewing each product, we compiled a summary of their features, benefits, and drawbacks to help you decide which would work best for you, your school, or your company.
These days, it’s almost impossible to have a conversation about technology without mentioning Google. The company that gained popularity as an Internet search engine has quickly become an ever-present fixture in the digital world. With their new Jamboard, Google went big and developed an interactive flat panel with a companion app that showcases an impressive array of collaborative tools.
When it comes to writing, Jamboard’s software boasts a feature that deciphers and transforms physical handwriting into typed text, which helps bring clarity to the written message. The board’s built-in internet connection makes it easy for presenters to access websites in on-screen windows. This online connection also provides video chat capability, though, at this point, the presenter must choose to share the video chat window or the whiteboard screen. Similar to other video conferencing applications with integrated whiteboards like Skype or GoToMeeting, remote Jamboard participants cannot view the video chat window and the whiteboard windows at the same time.
Features: Like any interactive display, the 55-inch panel allows presenters to write, draw, or type notes on the screen for the audience to see. But while the panel provides an aesthetically pleasing presentation tool, it is not essential. The Jamboard app provides all the same functionality of the interactive display, making it possible for teams to communicate and collaborate from their tablet or smartphones as well. Available for Android and iOS, the Google Jamboard app not only gives remote users the ability to observe presentations but the opportunity to interact with them as well. When logged into the authorized G Suite account, users can draw, sketch, or write on their device, and their input will be displayed on the host panel for all to see.
Cost: Google Jamboard offers a free version of the app, which allows users to use basic features without subscribing to a premium G Suite account. However, for a fully enhanced interactive whiteboard experience, users are encouraged to register for a paid version of G Suite. For those interested in the full Jamboard experience, the interactive whiteboard device currently sells for $4,999, plus roughly $600 in annual services fees.
With more than 400 million Windows 10 users around the world, it just makes sense that Microsoft would develop an interactive whiteboard app of their own. Rather than designing a physical whiteboard display panel, Microsoft simply created an interactive whiteboard app that could be added to existing devices. In an effort to increase the app’s collaborative potential, developers also created a version that is compatible with Apple devices running iOS 9 or later. The app is not currently available for Android devices, but rest assured, Microsoft is working on that.
Features: The cloud-based app, which goes by the straightforward name of “Microsoft Whiteboard,” provides the same basic drawing, writing, and multi-user communication tools as many of the most popular digital whiteboard products. However, given its founder’s commitment to improving education around the world, Microsoft’s whiteboard solution delivers a host of features specifically aimed at improving the educational experience. Teachers can take advantage of built-in translation tools that automatically provide live captions and subtitles for PowerPoint presentations, and they can enhance their math lessons with integrated OneNote and Immersive Reader options.
Cost: To increase the cooperative nature of the software, Microsoft Whiteboard ensures that shared learning management systems can be implemented via Office 365’s Teams feature. While this feature does require a paid subscription, it offers full whiteboard functionality within secure group chat, web conferencing, and online meeting services for authorized users on the same Office 365 account.
AWW Whiteboard App (Short for A Web Whiteboard)
While industry leaders like Google and Microsoft have focused on developing impressive digital solutions distinguished by paid premium features, AWW developers decided to create a more accessible, yet equally robust, whiteboard option. Rather than designing a specialized app that would need to be downloaded on various operating systems, the AWW team created a web-based solution that offers touch-friendly services.
Features: To access the program, users can go to AwwApp.com and start working. Easy as that. The interface provides a convenient dot-grid design that makes it easy to arrange drawings, designs, and notes. To include multiple users, the presenter can give invited users view-only or editing access by sharing a link via email or social media.
Cost: The basic version of the AWW app offers simple, yet intuitive features free of charge. Users who want advanced features such as PDF upload and download, unlimited user accounts, and the ability to save multiple boards can upgrade their experience with paid monthly memberships.
Clear Touch Canvas™
When it comes to whiteboard software, Clear Touch Canvas™ offers an educational solution that stands out from anything else on the market. Exclusively available on Clear Touch™ interactive panels, Canvas is our new whiteboard, annotation, and presentation software—and it extends the presentation benefits beyond the traditional limits of most digital whiteboard products.
Features: This powerful application includes an infinite canvas and a live browser tool that allows users to open, save, and use unlimited browsers within their presentation. No more need to hyperlink, save bookmarks, or jump out of your presentation into multiple third-party applications. Build everything within the Canvas environment instead and store to leading cloud services. Not only does this incredible software solution support Mac, Windows, and Android platforms, it also supports flash games and a wide range of the most popular educational games.
Canvas also features the ability to connect a document camera for the crystal-clear presentation of physical documents. For those who don’t want to invest in a separate doc cam, Canvas also includes a camera tool that lets you turn your phone or tablet into a document camera. Between the infinite whiteboard, the unlimited browsing capability, and the versatile camera options, Canvas creates an engaging educational experience that is truly limitless.
As a company, Clear Touch Interactive® is committed to improving collaboration in the workplace and the classroom. Whether you’re considering a Clear Touch Interactive® panel for your school or business or simply want to learn how to better use Canvas on a Clear Touch™ panel you’ve already purchased, schedule a Live Online Demo today.
When it comes to the topic of cybersecurity, much has been written about the need for consumers to protect themselves and their personal information. In a world where digital commerce has become the norm rather than the exception, most people understand the need for basic precautions such as keeping passwords private, shopping only on secure websites, and shielding the keypad when entering their PIN on a credit card terminal. So, why is it that we fail to take the same care when it comes to professional practices like video conferencing?
While interactive technology and advanced software make collaboration applications easy to operate, it is critical to understand that convenience of remote video conferencing comes with an inherent data risk. Whether you use video conferencing to conduct the occasional leadership summit, executive planning session, or routine enterprise-level meetings, the following security recommendations will not only help you keep your shared information safe, they will enable you to create a more welcoming user experience as well.
1. Start by securing your network.
Regardless of the devices you use to conduct a video conference, they will all communicate over your network, which is designed to allow multiple users to conveniently share data with other computers. Without proper security, anyone who gains access to your network can obtain information shared on that network—this includes sensitive business details shared via video conference. From encrypted passwords to customized firewalls, there are multiple factors to consider when it comes to establishing a secure network. For tips on safeguarding your business network, review these practical recommendations from the experts at Computerworld.
2. Assess your video conferencing system.
Unlike fine wine, video conferencing systems do not get better with age. As a general rule of thumb, systems more than five years old should be reassessed for potential security risks. In this assessment, pay particular attention to security aspects such as data management, encryption capabilities, and user access procedures. Some may be able to be updated to provide sufficient protection, but others may require total replacement in order to protect sensitive data and information.
3. Don’t rely on defaults.
When you upgrade your network equipment or conferencing technology, it can be tempting to use default passwords and settings in an attempt to get it up and running as quickly as possible. Resist that urge. Since many corporate video conferences involve the sharing of sensitive, proprietary information, it is essential for organizers to do more than the bare minimum to protect the integrity of the company’s data. With some estimates suggesting that cybercrimes average $6 trillion per year and up to 85% of business assets exist in digital form, the need for enhanced security is clear. When setting up new equipment or a new video conferencing platform, you can boost your security by merely establishing individual usernames for each participant and creating complex passphrases for logging into the video conference session.
4. Put a formal user policy in place.
By design, video conferences allow multiple people in various locations to communicate via a single, shared application. Advances in mobile technology make it possible to your meeting participants to send and receive high-quality video from a variety of computers, tablets, and smartphones. Allowing participants to connect to a video conference from their own devices can help you save on special equipment costs, but it also requires you to set clear expectations and boundaries. Take the time to develop a safe use policy that ensures the security of your information and the proper usage of your conferencing facilities.
5. Provide user training.
When it comes to safe, effective use of video conferencing technology, clarity is key. While scheduling time for potential participants to attend a combined training session can be a scheduling nightmare—especially for remote teams, recording a step-by-step training video is an effective way to present the material one time, but make it available for new users—and existing users who need a refresher—whenever they need it. The most effective training materials are concise, yet thorough, covering essential details without cluttering the presentation with unnecessary technical jargon.
6. Utilize a single-sign-on (SSO) with two-factor authentication (2FA).
By limiting user access options, network administrators can reduce the potential for confusion and isolate problems if they occur. By providing each individual with an SSO, a single set of login credentials for multiple applications, administrators can help mitigate potential delays caused by users attempting to log in to more than one application during a video conference session. Additionally, IT administrators can not only identify user-specific challenges more quickly, they can also track potentially harmful activities or practices back to specific user profiles. While SSO is undoubtedly convenient, it requires additional security considerations since a single login gives each user access to all approved applications. Using 2FA in conjunction with SSO, meeting organizers can provide a winning combination of convenience and security.
Clear Touch™ Chorus combines collaborative convenience with trustworthy security.
As video conferencing technology improves and competition among collaborative platforms increases, Clear Touch Interactive® proudly offers Chorus as a single software solution for business or education conferencing needs. Chorus offers an intuitive, universal interface that allows organizations to streamline the user experience across multiple devices.
Whether your company uses popular communication systems like Skype, Webex, GoToMeeting or another platform altogether, Chorus enhances session security by not only incorporating the individual program’s built-in security features, but also incorporating password protected wireless connections that keep sensitive information safe throughout your network.
Every Clear Touch™ interactive panel is device and software agnostic, which means you are always free to use whichever programs and operating systems that provide the best solution for your team’s conferencing needs. To see how Chorus can streamline your video meetings, schedule a live online demo today.
An interactive display is a mounted device that enables users to make vibrant visual presentations and control on-screen data through digital touchscreen interactions. Available in a variety of sizes, interactive LCD panels are suitable for collaborative spaces ranging from small preschool classrooms to expansive corporate boardrooms. With an estimated 95% of Americans owning a mobile phone of some kind and more than 77% owning a smartphone, innovative technology companies developed interactive flat panel displays to help business and educational professionals leverage the power of personal communication on a larger scale.
Flat Panel Displays are the latest in a long line of interactive technology products.
Interactive technology has been making its way into schools and businesses since the early 1990s. When the first interactive projectors were introduced, they gave presenters the ability to share their computer screen or conferencing feed with an entire classroom or boardroom. While these advancements were certainly an improvement over paper handouts, overhead projectors, and audio-only conference calls, they were ultimately limited by input restrictions and environmental factors.
Today, interactive displays not only allow teachers and presenters to share information more clearly, but their touchscreen capabilities also facilitate a more engaging experience for the entire audience. While traditional keyboard and stylus input options are available, today’s leading interactive displays feature multi-touch controls that recognize up to 20 simultaneous points of touch. Unlike interactive whiteboard products that often require extensive training for new users, these interactive panels capitalize on the widespread popularity of tablets and smartphones by offering intuitive touch controls that feel familiar from the very first use.
Onboard PC provides expanded effectiveness.
Since they were designed to simply broadcast the contents of a computer screen, interactive projectors, also known as digital whiteboards, required the user to establish a wired connection to their laptop or PC. This single input option made them inefficient for collaboration. Conversely, interactive display panels not only feature USB connections that allow users to connect via laptop, tablet, or PC, but many industry-leading panels also include bluetooth wireless connectivity, optional PC modules, and built-in Android interfaces that remove the constraints of a single wired connections.
Ultra HD and 4K display enables crystal-clear presentations
Today’s interactive flat panel displays also reduce the need to address environmental factors like lighting during a presentation. With outdated whiteboard technology, projected images are often difficult to read, especially in bright rooms. Like 4K TVs, interactive panels display pictures, videos, and digital documents with extraordinary clarity—even in well-lit rooms. Thanks to the latest ultra HD technology, interactive displays allow users to present material in brilliant clarity without ever making that age-old request, “Could someone dim the lights?”
Software solutions offer remarkable flexibility.
Whether you’re reviewing a document in a class setting or brainstorming with other professionals in a boardroom, interactive displays give you the ability to manipulate on-screen data. Zoom in. Zoom out. Make notes. Highlight important information. Whatever you could do with an old-school document or interactive whiteboard, you can now do with incredible digital clarity thanks to built-in annotation toolkits. Additionally, should you need to pull up a video presentation or conduct an impromptu video conference call in the middle of your session, integrated software suites give you the ability to minimize your work with a simple gesture, just like a PC or tablet.
Interaction is optional.
While technology proponents focus on the interactive benefits of the latest displays, these devices don’t require interaction to be effective. Their durable LCD screens and ultra HD resolution provide an eye-catching method for sharing advertisements, event details, or whatever details need to be communicated to an intended audience. The displays’ built-in Android interface, USB connections, and network connectivity also make it simple to update messaging, providing even more control and convenience for the user.
Clear Touch Interactive® displays put the future at your fingertips.
Clear Touch™ displays provide an all-in-one solution for your interactive technology needs. Each of our screens offers optional onboard PC and WiFi modules, an easy-to-install software package, and an Ultra HD display for a state-of-the-art viewing experience. Our cutting-edge panels feature true multi-touch capabilities (up to 20 simultaneous points of touch), lighting fast touch response time, built-in high-fidelity audio, and wireless device connectivity through Chorus for easy connection to all of the devices in your room.
Clear Touch Interactive® Displays include:
- Smart Touch Technology
- Multi-touch screens
- Brilliant Ultra-HD resolution
- Energy efficient panels
- Multiple screen sizes
- Integrated software solutions
- Software-agnostic panels that support a wide range of platforms and programs
- No additional licensing fees for bundled software
- Available accessories and peripherals
Along with all these features, we also offer our clients better warranties, stronger service and support from a US owned and operated company, and more accessories and other customization options across the board. Plus, unlike most of our competitors, we don’t make you pay for an ongoing license to use much of our software suite, which reduces the overall cost of ownership. High quality, low maintenance—that’s the Clear Touch™ difference.
How Can I Make My Presentation More Interesting and Interactive
It’s no secret that meetings and presentations can suck—and they can be almost as painful for the presenter as they are for the audience. The audience is tasked with remaining attentive and engaged, but the speaker has the greater challenge of keeping the audience’s attention. It’s no wonder that some studies estimate 70% of the population fears public speaking.
While you’re up on stage or at the front of the boardroom giving your presentation, your audience can easily become distracted. In fact, in-depth analysis of hundreds of public talks reveals that most audience members lose focus around 10 minutes into a presentation, and over half of audience members admit to doing something else (such as sending an email, checking text messages, or sleeping) during a coworkers presentation.
If you deliver a lackluster presentation that doesn’t involve the audience, they’ll start squirming, checking their phones, and spacing out. You, in turn, will notice that they’d rather be elsewhere, feed off the energy of your audience—and begin rushing through or cutting parts of your presentation to get through it more quickly. It’s a vicious cycle that can only be broken by an engrossing presentation that involves your audience.
How Can I Make My Presentation More Interesting and Interactive?
There’s no one set way to create an interactive presentation, but there are some common (and easy) tips and strategies you can use to boost the interactivity.
- Ask questions
- Plan for breaks
- Pause and make eye contact
- Poll the audience
- Break up your talk with videos, slides or other multimedia content
Whatever methods you choose, the good news is that, simply by making your presentations more interactive, you can reduce your own nervousness while creating a more dynamic experience for the audience. When your audience is more directly engaged and is able to interact with your presentation, your job becomes easier. Here’s how to do it:
1. Plan With the Audience in Mind
The first step to making sure your presentation resonates with your audience is to plan your content with them in mind. Before you begin gathering data for your presentation or putting together the first slide, you should be gathering as much information as possible about your audience.
Who are they? What do they already know about your topic? What kind of information is most likely to be interesting and valuable to them? If they walk away from your presentation knowing one thing, what would it be?
Answering questions like these before you dive into creating your content will help you focus on the details that will be most useful to your audience and keep you from rehashing things they already know. Because no matter how slick or polished your presentation is, your audience will lose interest quickly if you aren’t providing anything new.
2. Practice Confident Body Language and Eye Contact
Before you give your presentation, be sure to practice your body language. It may be uncomfortable at first, but many experts recommend practicing in front of the mirror a couple of times. That way, you can see if you’re pointing a foot in or cocking a hip out rather than standing straight. Or if you have a nervous physical tic like shrugging your shoulders or licking your lips.
Your audience will take its cues from you. If you seem low-energy, nervous, or less-than-thrilled to be there, your audience will quickly disengage as well. To avoid this problem, use strong, assertive body language such as open, welcoming gestures, deliberate hand movements when highlighting key points, and good posture (no crossed arms or legs!) You should also plan to make eye contact at least once with each section of your audience, if you’re addressing a larger group, or for smaller presentations, with each individual audience member.
3. Use a Clear, Understandable Structure and Engage The Audience Early
The two most important parts of your presentation are the beginning and the end—these are the parts of the presentation that audience members will remember most.
Because of this fact, it’s a good idea to open with a clear overview of what you’re about to discuss, highlighting all the key points upfront. Don’t leave your audience guessing about what you’re going to say or what the main purpose of the presentation is. Get it out there early. Similarly, you should end the presentation by recapping the main points and giving the audience a few takeaways. Using this kind of structure also puts your audience at ease early by giving them confidence that you have a plan for their time.
In addition to previewing your presentation in your opening, it’s important to begin interacting and breaking the ice with your audience. Ask questions, tell a funny story that relates to your topic, use an illustration, open with a brief video introduction, or use another tactic that works for your talk. The key is to be creative in how you warm up your audience—without allowing that creativity to get in the way of overall goal and structure.
4. Use Video, Digital Storytelling, or Non-Linear Presentations
People like videos and stories, so it makes sense to combine the two into digital storytelling. Consider beginning your presentation with a brief, impactful video about the issue or concern you plan to address to capture the audience’s attention before moving into your presentation overview. Or, use video to dig deeper into the topic you’re covering or to provide a mental break for your audience.
Another effective strategy is to create a non-linear presentation. Gone are the days of clicking through a poorly-designed Powerpoint. New business presentation software operates much more like a choose-your-own-adventure novel. Create a presentation that could take multiple paths, gauge audience understanding and interest, and click through to the parts of your presentation that are the most relevant on your interactive display.
5. Ask Questions
One of the most tried-and-true ways to get your audience involved in your presentation is to ask questions—and allow them time to ask you questions as well. That’s why so many presentations end with a Q&A session. However, we’d recommend that presenters carefully consider where to place their questions. If you schedule a Q&A as the very last part of your presentation, you could lose the opportunity to deliver a powerful closing statement to your audience. If you ask too many questions too early, your audience may not be warmed up yet or know how to respond.
One effective strategy for longer presentations is to build in some Q&A time right around the 10-minute mark when audience attention tends to drift. This breaks up the presentation and, in effect, creates two separate blocks of time. Another strategy is to use a question-asking software such as sli.do and allow participants to connect to your interactive panel through their own laptops and tablets via a wireless screen sharing software like Collage or collaborate on files real-time using Chorus. Participants can submit their questions at any point during the presentation for you to pull up and answer during the scheduled block. This strategy helps keep audience members engaged while eliminating the problem of nagging questions taking up mental space.
6. Use Live Quizzes and Polls
A final effective strategy is live quizzes and polls. There’s something fun and dynamic about gathering audience data on the spot. This practice piques your audience’s curiosity and creates a mental break for the audience that refocuses their attention on the content. It also makes everyone feel involved, fostering a sense of community and camaraderie among your audience members.
Unlike rhetorical questions or old-school techniques like asking the audience to respond by nodding or shaking their heads, live quizzes and polls engage the brain and provide instant gratification. The audience must think about their response and enter it manually. Aggregating the data and seeing the results live on a large, interactive display is a powerful, rewarding experience for the audience.
There are dozens of additional ways to invite your audience into your presentation and make the final result more interactive. Think about your audience and experiment with a few ideas that you think will work for them the next time you’re called upon to present. With next-generation technology available, like interactive displays and collaborative business software, it’s easier than ever for you to be more dynamic in your presentations.
Digital signage has numerous advantages over traditional leave-behinds, displays, and other trade show marketing materials. Not only do moving images and light naturally attract greater attention to your booth, but digital signage can also be tailored more easily from show to show, keep your visitors engaged while they’re waiting to speak to your sales people, and save your company money on printing and storing large trade show banners and other physical media.
Perhaps you’ve been thinking about adding digital signage to your trade show booth but aren’t quite sure how or where to start. Fortunately, implementing the shift to digital signage doesn’t have to be overwhelming for your team. It simply requires a little planning. Follow these simple tips to help you use digital signage effectively and get the most out of your trade show booth display
Simple Steps to Make the Most of Digital Signage at Your Next Trade Show
Digital signage is a compelling visual medium—so it’s important to begin planning your trade show booth by thinking through design and presentation. Using digital signage, you have the opportunity to catch the eye, make an impact, and create ambiance in a way that isn’t possible with traditional media.
However, this won’t happen if you add digital signage to your booth as an afterthought rather than thoroughly considering every aspect of design from the outset:
1. Design Cohesive Digital Signage that Maximizes Your Brand Message
First and foremost, make sure that your digital signage design is consistent with your company’s other branding and fits well with the overall look of your booth. While you may have a fantastic idea for a new, modern digital signage design—if it doesn’t mesh with your existing marketing materials the result will look jarring and haphazard rather than cohesive and compelling. Either redesign your existing marketing materials to match your digital signage or rethink your digital signage and save the brilliant idea for your next rebranding effort.
2. Create a Digital Signage Layout that Works With Your Space
As with physical banners and displays, it’s important to mentally walk through your trade show booth as you plan your digital signage layout. Think about your space on the trade show floor, the dimensions of your booth, any other objects or furniture you’ll need to accommodate before you start positioning your digital signage. We’d suggest sketching out your plan with pen and paper or using a more high-tech design tool.
The Clear Touch Interactive® team has presented at hundreds of conferences and trade shows all over the world. Here are a few of the questions we ask ourselves before designing our booth for each show:
- Where are we located on the trade show floor? Are we in a corner, against a wall, or out in the middle of the floor?
- How big is our booth? How does it compare to other booths? How large is the convention center? Have we chosen the right interactive display sizes for our booth and for the space as a whole?
- Who are we next to or across from?
- Will visitors be able to approach our booth from all directions? Do we need 360-degree visibility? Or will there be a clear entry and exit to help us create a focal point?
- What other objects or furnishings do we want to have in the booth? Will we have seating for visitors?
- Where will our sales people stand? How do we want them to interact with our booth visitors? How much space do they need to interact naturally and not feel cramped?
- How will traffic flow through the booth? How can we ensure visitors can easily move through our space while interacting with our displays? How can we create the best experience for our visitors?
While design and layout will give you a lot to think about, switching to digital signage can make planning and customizing your approach for each show much simpler. For example, with Clear Touch accessories like the adjustable wall mount light and the convertible mobile stand you can set up and reconfigure your digital signage quickly and easily. Our wall mounts attach to nearly any surface and our mobile stands glide effortlessly from one location to the next.
When in doubt, keep it simple. The EVO Lite, a Clear Digital offering, features a stunningly beautiful, crystal-clear display and a lightweight, mobile, rugged design. Roll your digital display from one location to the next to create an attention-grabbing booth in any space (all while not having to run wires – runs on battery power!).
Digital Signage Content Considerations
Whether your marketing materials are physical or digital, content is king. While a brilliant 4K display, high-quality images, and the overall look of your booth may draw people in, having engaging content that applies to them is the only way to keep their attention long enough to make a lasting impression.
Here are four tips to help you make the most of your trade show booth visitors’ attention:
3. Make Your Digital Signage Interactive
Interactive content is one of the best ways to increase the average time that visitors spend at your trade show booth. Touch screens can also engage visitors when all of your sales representatives are busy or give potential customers (who may not want to talk to a salesperson) another option to actively learn more about your product or service. Use interactive digital signage to get visitors to enter their contact information, explore a new offering, play games, watch product demos and testimonials, click on key product features, take quizzes, enter a giveaway, or anything else you think will add value to their experience.
Whatever you choose to offer, it’s essential that the information is quick and easy to access and that the user’s touch experience is seamless. Clear Touch interactive panels feature 20 points of simultaneous touch and a cool, smooth-glide surface that won’t lag or skip.
4. Use Digital Signage for Product Demonstrations
Why tell potential customers about your product when you could show them. With their built-in speakers for rich audio, crystal-clear UltraHD display, and ability to stream video from multiple sources, Clear Touch interactive panels are beautifully engineered for stunning product demonstrations.
Or, choose the ultra-simple EVO Lite. You can place the EVO wherever you need to for a demonstration, set up quickly, and run looped images or video content. You may not be able to bring your entire product line onto the showroom floor—but that shouldn’t stop you from showing visitors exactly what you have to offer.
5. Showcase Social Media and Testimonials
The best marketing is word-of-mouth, and digital signage gives you an easy, interactive way to bring the buzz to your trade show booth. Intersperse quick, recorded customer testimonials before, during, and after your product demonstrations and interactive content. Or let visitors click on links that take them to Google, Yelp, and Facebook reviews as they explore your company in more detail.
6. Deliver Customized, Targeted Content for Trade Show Attendees
Gone are the days when companies had to make the same marketing slicks last for an entire year of trade shows. The brilliance of digital signage is that it enables you to easily update, replace, and tweak content from show to show. You can even target your messaging for specific times of the day at the same show—perhaps by promoting a flash sale, a giveaway, a morning keynote address, a Lunch & Learn, or a company-sponsored evening event. Customizing your content for the trade show you’re attending, and for the products, events, or services you most want to promote, is an important benefit to remember if you want to maximize the ROI for your digital signage investment.
Other Considerations When Using Digital Signage
Have you thought about how you’ll use audio? Or whether you’ll use it? Is your brand message short enough? How will you reach out to potential customers after the show? What are your next steps?
7. Carefully Consider How to Use Audio
Audio is almost as big of a consideration as your visuals. Will you use music? Dialogue and sound effects? Not only do you need to make sure that you are licensed to use any music you choose to play in a public place—you also need to make sure that whatever music, dialogue, or other sound you use makes sense with your overall design and messaging.
Some trade show presenters choose to forego audio altogether, reasoning that the last thing visitors need in a busy convention center or exhibit hall is more noise to contend with. Another plus to going without the audio: Your visuals work like a silent film, delivering a coherent message to attendees whether they’re at your booth or across the room. You could also opt for a hybrid option, using no audio for your large, attention-grabbing displays and having low audio or headphones for visitors interacting with content at your booth.
8. Keep Your Messaging Short and Sweet
We know that you’re going to do everything in your power to keep potential customers at your booth, interacting with your carefully-curated content for as long as possible. Certainly, your interactive content can go deep and give visitors plenty to discover. However, your overall brand message should be clear and concise—something that makes sense at a glance and sticks with the casual passerby after the trade show is over.
9. Plan for Ongoing Customer Interaction that Goes Beyond Digital Signage
Ideally, your digital signage should be a conversation starter that prompts personal interaction with your sales people. In other words, don’t rely too heavily on technology to do the heavy lifting. Your sales team should have a clear plan in place for how to engage potential customers and close the sale.
By following these suggestions and thinking through these considerations, your trade show team will be well on its way to getting the most value out of your investment in digital signage.
The main principle to remember is that your digital signage plan should complement your overall trade show strategy, rather than replacing it or competing with it. Integrate digital signage with the things that are already working for you for a successful rollout.