As we write and design this piece the UK government has announced its latest Coronavirus quandary – do we contain the spread of the virus by reposing lockdown on the pubs or schools? It might seem an obvious choice, but if EdTech providers can make classroom and remote learning and tuition more immersive the choice between Latin and lager might not be so clear cut. Vestel reports.
With schools and educational institutions anticipating the return to full time education in September after a period of remote teaching, many will be thinking about how to revive student engagement. Solutions offered by EdTech providers can play a vital role in ensuring schools do not neglect the benefits of tech-enabled teaching when students return to the classroom.
For example, the use of interactive screens and whiteboards within classrooms and lecture halls help to combine the benefits of online and in-person teaching. While also supporting a modern and tech-forward environment for schools as we look towards the new idea of normality, these solutions allow students to proactively get involved in classroom discussions and demonstrations.
Pupils can wave at the screen to perform actions, as well as work within small groups to complete tasks collaboratively and in front of the class, bringing learning experiences to life. Teachers can also leverage platforms such as Google Maps on the screens, to zoom into various geographies or landmarks to show – not just tell – students a glimpse into other cultures and civilisations. The screens are available in a range of sizes, meaning they can be leveraged for other uses outside the classroom too, such as for workshops or assemblies with multiple classes.
Additionally, having access to a digital whiteboard enables teachers to sync up their personal devices, as well as leverage apps, browsers and other screens, to improve the ease of visual teaching. Ultimately, technology can help teachers mitigate the time-consuming admin tasks, so they can focus on what they do best and ensure students stay engaged.
Outside of learning, schools, colleges and universities are also important social environments for the younger generation. Activities such as fairs, daytime and evening events as well as social building activities play an important role in a young person’s development. Digital signage placed across campus can help to promote such events and highlight any important information. Educators can then update this content remotely and in real time.
However, while social activities are important, schools also need to be mindful of social distancing rules. Digital signage placed across student hallways, classrooms, canteens and toilets for example can be used to remind students of distancing rules and to wash their hands regularly.
Such screens can also be used to display – in real time – the number of people currently in shared social areas such as the canteen, student common room, library or even campus restaurants and bars. This helps to reduce overcrowding, promote a queuing system and provide a sense of transparency to both students and teachers. A good example of this is the cloud-based, multi-screen Content Management System (CMS), NowSignage.
A solution such as its Capacity App provides full API integration with cameras, pulling data in real time to display a live capacity count on screen. Additionally, its PeopleCount solution enables educators to split the displays to show, for example, a live capacity count dashboard on one half of the screen and important campus announcements, such as health and safety messaging, forthcoming event information or even canteen menus, on the other.
As we move closer towards a new tech-forward world following the effects of the pandemic, we can expect remote learning to remain an important aspect of student life. Schools and universities will need to adapt to new processes and technology and consider new ways of keeping students engaged both inside and outside the classroom.
This is where platforms such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams can help. Not only can they support remote lectures and workshops, but they can also be used by smaller groups to collaborate and share ideas. For example, literature students can create a group to discuss reading interpretations and questions.
Another perk of these platforms is they can easily integrate with interactive whiteboards situated in the classroom or lecture theatre. Students will be able to connect to the lesson with their laptop, as well as see and collaborate on the screen, creating an interactive experience while in the comfort of their own home. Additionally, the use of recorded PowerPoint slides, video calls and split screens means a teacher can host one recorded session for students to watch at the most convenient time no matter where they are based around the world. Then, once the session has ended, notes can be sent instantly from whiteboard to email.
New hardware options
Fortunately, new hardware options for education were already in development before the pandemic reached any kind of peak. Promethean’s signature ActivPanel interactive display, which was recently enhanced to enable more comprehensive remote teaching and learning capabilities. ActivPanel is an industry-leading interactive display designed for modern, connected classrooms. Its latest generation, the ActivPanel Element Series, enables educators to deliver engaging, collaborative lessons using Promethean’s award-winning lesson delivery software, ClassFlow and ActivInspire, and thousands of apps available at the touch of a button.
In response to the recent shift towards remote teaching and learning, Promethean swiftly made enhancements to ActivPanel’s robust capabilities, bolstering the system’s ability to be used inside and outside the classroom and make learning from anywhere possible. The ActivPanel is a must-have education technology tool that facilitates learning through collaboration, personalization, and active engagement and helps teachers prepare students for their future.
ActivPanel and its accompanying free software enable teachers to swiftly deliver engaging remote lessons from anywhere. Using ActivInspire, teachers can record and share lessons via Google Classroom, Microsoft Teams, Box, and any cloud sharing platforms, while students can install the personal version of ActivInspire to share activities for offline interactions. With ClassFlow, a cloud-based lesson delivery software, users can work seamlessly with Microsoft’s OneDrive, Google Drive, Chromebook, PCs, and more — so teachers can create and deliver lessons in any environment. ActivPanel’s screen-sharing capabilities also allow students to share content from within the class and while learning at home, therefore providing a hybrid learning solution for educators.
ActivPanel technology also saves classroom downtime and overall costs by reducing ongoing maintenance needs. The solution provides numerous front-of-classroom benefits without the hassle of ongoing upkeep found with older projector-based systems – like changing bulbs and filters – and increases active learning time. IT administrators have enhanced security and manageability delivered through Promethean Panel Management by centrally controlling panel configurations, settings, and restrictions from any location to create more consistent experiences across schools within their district. Designed by teachers for teachers, Promethean products are used in more than 1 million classrooms worldwide.
Designed with care in mind
Last year CTOUCH announced that a touchscreen new touchscreen model for the education, small and medium-sized businesses market, the CTOUCH Riva. It can be used as a fully featured stand-alone touchscreen or enriched with CTOUCH BRIX solutions for advanced applications. (see the interview with Francois Barlinckhoff on page 12 of this issue for an explanations).
The CTOUCH Riva is a super user-friendly touchscreen, enabling any type of user to easily share their screen and write on the highly responsive interactive whiteboard. The CTOUCH Riva comes with a true arsenal of integrated hardware features. A lot of efforts have been made on developing a highly accurate touch display. With CTOUCH’s proprietary TrueBeam Touch technology. Two integrated stereo JBL 3-way speakers (tweeter, mid-range and woofer) deliver live-stage virtual surround sound.
At the touch of a button you have access to all options on the screen, making your life so much easier. The CTOUCH Riva also allows you to use your own software (Android, Linux or Windows based) depending on what you are used to. the CTOUCH RIVA supports BYOD (bring your own device) and encourages sharing their work on the big screen via EShare. Best of all, Riva is compatible witt CTOUCH BRIX, so the touchscreen can be upgraded over time – according to the needs of the users – with CTOUCH BRIX modules.
Recently, it was announced that the touchscreen will ship with a specially developed screen cleaning kit. Gregg Ringer, Head of UK Market Development for CTOUCH commented: “In a time where surface cleaning is at the forefront of everyone’s minds, we want to ensure we are doing our bit to help our customers. As a company, we have launched a series of initiatives which ensure we are as environmentally and socially aware as we can be, and this is another example of many more to come. We want to provide peace of mind for our users, so they are as comfortable as possible when using our new Riva touchscreen.”
The branded ‘Wipe & Shine’ kits will ship with all the new CTOUCH Riva touchscreens. For customers who have already purchased, they can also claim theirs through the CTOUCH website.
Collaboration for engagement
Whether returning to the classroom or combining school with home in a hybrid model, collaboration will be at the heart of education. As the need grows for more collaborative learning spaces, so does the demand for technology in the classroom. Clevertouch is embracing immersive learning with intelligent digital classroom environments with touchscreens the IMPACT Plus, the PLUS SERIES High Precision and the V Series. “Our interactive panels come packed with free apps and software designed to meet curriculum requirements for you to deliver more engaging lessons. Our complete classroom solution is easy to use, offers simple installation and designed with more than 50,000 hours of use in mind.”
Clevertouch’s IMPACT Plus is designed to meet the needs of the modern classroom. The high precision technology screen is designed for teachers, by teachers. More than just an interactive touchscreen, the 4K resolution screen with super wide sound and microphone delivers a truly intuitive and collaborative learning experience. Informed by the government’s agenda, the product is designed to enable extraordinary lessons to take place in ordinary classrooms, transforming the learning experience. The multi award winning education solution is helping teachers and pupils shine in the digital classroom.
Learning happens best when a variety of multimodal channels and activities are used. As well as enabling sensory based learning so that children absorb key concepts and ideas faster, interactive touchscreens offer the opportunity for real time feedback. IMPACT Plus supports collaboration with the inclusion of instant messaging, video, voice and desktop sharing. IMPACT Plus delivers a truly intuitive and collaborative experience. Feature rich, with solutions that free teachers from the constraints of the restrictive traditional classroom.