Before making any large technology purchase, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons, especially in an educational setting. Using interactive panels in the classroom has many advantages, from simplifying lesson prep for teachers to helping students gain more confidence in their work and take a greater interest in their own education. Some of the potential downsides include the sticker price and the time investment required to implement any new technology.
Clear Touch™ works hard to eliminate these potential disadvantages for the teachers, administrators, and IT departments who rely on our technology, so you can enjoy the benefits worry-free.
Six Benefits of Using Interactive Panels to Enrich Classroom Learning
To us, the most impressive aspect of interactive panels is not the technology itself but the creative ways that teachers are using this technology in the classroom to support their teaching and learning goals. Here are five of the advantages that teachers who use our panels have noticed in the classroom:
Increased Interaction & Collaboration. The multi-touch capabilities that interactive displays offer mean that more students can get around the panel and learn together. Educators have told us that students easily work in pairs, share their work with the class, collaboratively edit writing or design work in real-time, and more. Clear Touch™ panels feature 20 points of simultaneous touch and educational software that divides the screen into quadrants so more students can participate at once.
Better Student Engagement. Many teachers who use our panels report that the BYOD connectivity and simple screen sharing apps help them flip the classroom and get more students engaged. Students can take a picture of their work on their phone or tablet and send it to the screen for class discussion, learn coding in the classroom, and use game-based learning to reinforce a concept. Teachers use the panels as learning station for both advanced learning for early finishers and remediation. An added bonus: Students are more engaged, and teachers save time and money when they aren’t making endless copies of worksheets.
Enhanced Support for All Learning Styles. Research shows that, while students have preferred learning styles, all students benefit from learning new material in multiple forms. So, for decades, teachers have stressed over whether or not they’re adequately addressing multiple learning styles in every lesson—which is a difficult thing to do when you’re one person trying to best serve 25 or more students. Many of our teachers have told us that including visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning practices occurs much more organically when they use their Clear Touch Interactive® display. Teachers can embed multiple media sources in a single presentation, conduct surveys, and give students hands-on practice to free themselves up from too much direct instruction.
More Inclusive Classrooms. We regularly hear from administrators and resource teachers who tell us that their interactive panels have greatly enriched their special education classrooms—which is so exciting for us. Specifically, teachers credit the write to text feature and the mobile, adjustable stands, which can move up and down to accommodate height or different class structure needs, for creating a learning environment where more students have the confidence to express themselves and easier access to the panel in order to do so.
More Flexible Learning Environments. Many teachers have told us that they are most happy with their interactive panels because they feel like they have greater flexibility in the classroom. Teachers can dig deeper and explore a topic that students are interested in right from the panel, walk around the room while still controlling the presentation from their mobile devices, get instant feedback, easily conduct formative assessments, and securely turn the panel over to their students for small group work or student-led discussions.
Greater Efficiency for Time-Strapped Teachers. With our cloud-based Snowflake Multiteach software, teachers can create lessons offsite from any device (no more need to lug a school laptop back and forth just to plan lessons from home!) and then pull the lesson up on the panel in class. Teachers can also build up and refine their own library of lessons and other resources, including recorded presentations, that they can easily use if they have to be out. No more scrambling to make a class set of worksheets during lunch or having to create additional lesson plans for the substitute. Your IT department will also save time, since they can monitor and control all boards through the EasiRemote application and even repair issues offsite.
Potential Disadvantages of Implementing Interactive Displays in the Classroom
While there are many benefits to using interactive displays in the classroom, including increased collaboration and student ownership of their learning, there are a few potential downsides or, at least, considerations that school districts will want to evaluate before making a purchase.
Price. By far the most important consideration for most school districts is the overall price of the technology—and interactive displays are generally more expensive upfront than projectors or interactive whiteboards. However, projectors and interactive whiteboards can actually cost more when you consider total cost of ownership. Replacement bulbs and cords, IT time, and ongoing maintenance all add to the initial tab, and there are some major competitive differences between interactive whiteboards and interactive, multi-touch displays. In general, interactive whiteboards are an outdated technology that are cumbersome to use in the classroom. In addition, Clear Touch Interactive® is committed to making purchasing easy for our customers. Our panels are flexible and interchangeable so that schools can build on their in-classroom technology as budget allows, and we even offer competitive, fixed-rate financing through our Clear Touch Capital program.
Need for Technical Support. After price, school district administrators and IT professionals tend to be most concerned about how easy the solution is to implement. While it may seem like a more advanced technology would require complex infrastructure that leans on IT department time, the opposite is typically true. Clear Touch™ panels, for instance, feature out-of-the-box functionality and can run with or without your school’s network. Installation requires no complicated in-wall wiring, no construction crews, and no ceiling mounts for projectors. IT departments love the simple, remote management and the all-in-one packaged solution. When your school does need help, we also feature industry leading, 100% US-Based service and support
Need for Teacher Training. Since Interactive Whiteboards and projectors have been on the market for over a decade now, many teachers already know how to use the technology, so it may seem that these devices require fewer training sessions. Teacher training is always helpful, which is why we offer professional development packages that help schools get the most out of their investment. We also work with your decision-making team to get buy-in from teachers and IT departments and determine the best way to implement the new technology without disrupting the classroom before the purchase is made. We understand that the choice to purchase new technology for the classroom is not a one and done decision; it impacts every aspect of the learning environment every single day.
Of course, the real beauty of the Clear Touch Interactive® solution is that anyone can turn on our panels and begin using them right away—and then build on their knowledge and expertise as they have the time. Since our panels are intuitive and can run any software, including competitor software, there’s no need for teachers to create a library of lesson plans and other resources from scratch. Simply use what you’ve created in previous years and work in lessons created with our educational software suite when you can.
At Clear Touch™, we’re dedicated to creating classroom technology that maximizes the benefits of collaboration and student-centered learning while minimizing or eliminating any potential implementation hurdles. To find out more, schedule a live online demo and see the technology in action.