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Getting Students Involved with Clear Touch™ Panels

That insight into the learning styles of today’s students is precisely what drove McIntyre to find an interactive panel to replace whiteboards and projectors used by Lorain County JVS teachers.

When McIntyre first saw the multi-touch flatscreen panels from Clear Touch Interactive at the Ohio Educational Technology Conference (OETC) in 2014, he was highly impressed, not only by the brilliant display and advanced features, but also by the reasonable price point. “I immediately thought about one for our board conference room,” he said.

“Students today don’t want to sit there and be lectured to. They want to be involved. They want to show teachers what they can do. They want to learn by doing.”

— Gary McIntyre
Director of Technology for Lorain County Joint Vocational School in Ohio

Replacing Whiteboard & Projectors

“My Superintendent Dr. Glenn Faircloth didn’t immediately buy into it,” said McIntyre. “We had an old projector in the boardroom, and he said it was fine—but it wasn’t fine. We’re a leader in career tech studies, and we have a lot of visitors and media in that room, and we couldn’t use an old blurry projector in there anymore. It was a logical place to put a new piece of technology, and in the end, Dr. Faircloth agreed. In fact, he loves the new Clear Touch display now and the fact that a technology school is leading the way in technology in the classroom.”

The following year, McIntyre purchased eleven 65” Clear Touch panels as part of a pilot program, and a year after that, 32 more, bringing the total to 43 panels in use throughout the district as of the 2016-2017 school year.

“My goal is to replace every projector and whiteboard in every classroom throughout our campus over the next several years,” said McIntyre. This means purchasing another 60+ Clear Touch panels.

Though it will be a while before they achieve district-wide rollout, Lorain County JVS is already saving money on consumables. “Projectors are costly to maintain and use a significant amount of electricity,” said McIntyre. “We still have some expensive lamps for the remaining projectors, but that will eventually disappear altogether.”

In addition, McIntyre explained that his team spends a significant amount of time maintaining projectors and servicing projectors, and it is particularly disruptive to learning when a projector lamp fails in the classroom.

The Clear Touch panels are virtually maintenance-free, and IT staff can remotely connect to run updates.

With the latest 32-panel order, McIntyre opted for Clear Touch’s Integrated PC, a compact and powerful PC that conveniently slides into the back of the panel.

The vast majority of the Clear Touch panels are wall-mounted, but several of them can be found on mobile carts. “Clear Touch …did a great job mounting the panels for us,” recalled McIntyre.

“At the beginning of the school year, my staff held weekly training sessions after school for teachers interested in learning the basics of working with the new panels,” said McIntyre. “There’s no huge learning curve involved with the Clear Touch panels, but the training helped to increase teachers’ comfort level. We’re actually looking at starting training sessions up again soon, so we can offer some new tips and tricks to our teachers.”

Preparing Students for the Future

Lorain County JVS provides career-technical training for both the high school and adult populations of Lorain County, which is located in northeastern Ohio. It serves over 1,000 high school students and 3,000 adults on campus as well as over 500 students through satellite programs offered in 12 surrounding school districts. “We placed a Clear Touch panel in the Midview School District – JVS Satellite Program last summer, and Instructor Mattias Hauck has told me the students love it,” said McIntyre.

“We’re preparing students to enter the workforce, and therefore, part of our job is to introduce them to the technologies they’ll be using when they leave here,” said McIntyre. “That’s one of the reasons why we chose Office 365 over Google Classroom, which is used by many K-12 schools. We want our entire career-focused student population to know their way around Microsoft tools that are prevalent in the business world.”

And according to McIntyre, the need to arm teachers and students with the latest and greatest technologies doesn’t end there, and it can’t end there either. “Some of our classes are technology-focused—for example, we have a Cisco Academy, and Web Graphic Design, Digital Media and Marketing Management programs all housed in a modern updated wing—and we’re looking at growing our tech class offerings in the future to include health care. We need to have great technology in our classrooms to deliver great technology instruction,” he said.

Complementing Existing Technologies

Lorain County JVS Superintendent Dr. Glenn Faircloth is particularly proud to be the first school in Lorain County to offer a 1:1 technology program. All high school students have iPad minis, and all teachers have iPads. Most teachers, including those with Clear Touch panels, have Apple TV systems.

This wide variety of devices in classrooms provides for infinite possibilities with the Clear Touch panels, which are software agnostic. Connecting a Clear Touch panel to a third-party device—iPad, Apple TV, laptop, etc.—provides for instant screen-sharing, enabling teachers to quickly and easily display on the panel any Windows-based application, iPad app, video, website, etc., and manipulate what’s on the screen using only their finger.

Unparalleled Presentation Quality

McIntyre said that Lorain County JVS teachers love Clear Touch because of the display technology. “The panels are much better presentation devices than the old whiteboard screens,” he said. Clear Touch panels are made with HD LED displays that produce brilliant colors on a 4mm anti-glare, anti-friction tempered glass surface.

Social Studies Teacher Jennifer Pluta said this makes the panel more conducive to classroom settings. “There’s no spotlight on me now while I’m teaching, and the panel can be easily seen with the lights on,” she explained.

English Teacher Megan Champagne agrees. “I so prefer the Clear Touch panel to my old board and projector,” she said. “The Clear Touch display is really easy to see from every angle and in every kind of light.”

Using the Panels to Engage Students

Champagne often starts her classes with a short YouTube or TED video, which she noted shows seamlessly on her Clear Touch panel. She uses the Apple TV almost daily, and she loves taking “virtual field trips” with her students simply by pulling up Google Earth to explore the places they’re reading about in class.

In Champagne’s classes, students often show their work by moving it from their iPad to the Apple TV for display on the Clear Touch panel. She says that apps like Haiku Deck and ShowMe enable her students to quickly create presentations and videos that allow them to demonstrate learning and meet public speaking standards. She also uses the Padlet app to show real-time class-wide collaboration on the Clear Touch panel.

Like Champagne and other Lorain County JVS teachers, Math Teacher Timothy Glahn pulls up YouTube videos on the Clear Touch panel and has his students share presentations from their iPads by way of the Apple TV in his classroom.

Glahn has also started using Clear Touch’s EasiNote software, which he says is “particularly useful because it recognizes Sigma notation” that’s used to write out a long sum in a concise way. EasiNote has tools for drawing, annotating and writing on presentations, photos, videos, etc., as well as background images like graph paper, and an extensive tools section that includes a stopwatch, ruler, protractor, shapes and more.

“We’re off to a great start, but this is just the beginning. We look forward to rolling out more Clear Touch displays in the future and helping teachers further drive student engagement in their classrooms,” said McIntyre.

February 14, 2017

Clear Touch Team

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