With recent funding programs intended to help schools invest in new technologies, the Warren County Public Schools district in Kentucky recognized that it could help teachers simplify tech-based classwork and increase student engagement using the breakthrough Airtame platform for shared screens. According to WCPS Instructional Technology Coordinator Matt Kresslein, the Airtame platform, enabled by the Airtame 2 hardware, is now providing seamless wireless screen sharing and district-wide digital signage opportunities across approximately 1,200 TVs in the district’s 28 schools and 7 non-instructional facilities.
“Warren County Public Schools has a focus on student-centered instruction, and we prioritize technology where appropriate, including providing every student with a Chromebook,” Kresslein said. “We’re always looking for sustainable solutions that provide consistency in our instructional spaces, and Airtame, in conjunction with TV displays and devices for each student and teacher, provide that consistent experience. We have transitioned from interactive whiteboards located at the front of each room to TVs with the Airtame platform, which has freed our teachers to move around the room as they lead digital lessons delivered wirelessly from mobiledevices. This has proven to be far more impactful than standing in the front of the room while students use their Chromebooks.”
With every room featuring the same technology design, teachers can now walk into any classroom and instantly connect their laptop or mobile device to the display and begin screen sharing. Teachers can even designate a “Favorite Airtame” that keeps the chosen Airtame and TV at the top of their connections list so there are no complications or barriers to presenting wirelessly. It’s a secure, virtually foolproof procedure that ensures schools can be as flexible as required while delivering consistent quality.
One of the major advantages of using Airtame is that the platform protects and prioritizes teachers’ wireless connections, strengthening their control of the classroom. The prior whiteboard solution allowed any wireless device to override teachers’ connections, which presented an opportunity for students to interrupt lessons and disrupt class.
“Users love Airtame because of its ease of use, flexibility to support different apps and devices, and its robust digital signage capabilities that enable centralized management,” said Simon Hangaard Hansen, Airtame VP of Product. “When we talk about an entire school district, the effects cannot be overstated. Thanks to the addition of Airtame to every classroom, all of Warren County Public Schools’ TVs are now scheduled to turn on and off at specific times each day and around vacation days, so teachers don’t have to worry about it. This saves electricity, time and frustration, allowing teachers to focus on their lessons and students rather than troubleshooting or technology procedures.”
Unlike the independently operated whiteboards, the Airtame platform allows administrators at the school or district level to treat every TV as an endpoint in a consolidated digital signage network. They can present messages, announcements, notes of recognition and other info to specific classrooms or schools, or across the entire district. Beyond the classroom, this has enabled the school to easily deploy digital menu boards for cafeterias, among other usage scenarios. Spaces with multiple Airtame-powered TVs also offer teachers the option to stream simultaneously to multiple displays, which was not possible previously.
“Airtame has empowered us to share district-wide signage and videos, such as the student-created projects we displayed during Digital Citizenship Week to celebrate students’ digital agility and safety,” Kresslein said. “Student access to wireless sharing is decided at the school level, and Airtames’ device-agnostic experience makes connecting as easy as possible, whether users connect from our Chromebooks or a smaller number of iPads, MacBooks and PCs deployed in various locations. Finally, having centralized control of all the devices’ settings allows us to quickly perform software updates and identify any issues to initiate IT work tickets without bothering the teacher.”
It was important for the school’s new technology solution to support all existing functions, including annotation apps teachers currently use on their Chromebooks. Since Airtame wirelessly mirrors the user’s entire screen, and doesn’t require using a specific app or device, teachers can use content from a wide variety of sources without changing any settings or remembering any specific procedures. The new system also eliminates the need for teachers to sign in.
The district, which is the most energy-efficient in the Commonwealth, includes some of Kentucky’s first schools to receive an ENERGY STAR certification and has pursued green energy initiatives for nearly two decades. In fact, the first school to achieve net-zero certification is in Warren County. Since then, WCPS now includes two schools that are net-zero certified, and seven net-zero ready schools. In recent years, the district added a 520kW solar farm spread amongst six locations, LED lighting and modern smart appliances with greater efficiency. Airtame’s ability to schedule the on/off times for all 1,200 TVs ensures maximum power savings and screen lifespan, while also taking one item off the teachers’ list of responsibilities.
After extensive testing and evaluation, Warren County Public Schools entered into a five-year licensing agreement to ensure reliable and repeatable learning environments and instructional processes. The district may find even more uses for the technology in the future, as Airtame regularly issues software updates and new features to further enhance the classroom experience.
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