Interactive Displays Increase Engagement and Success in the Classroom
Wawasee Community School Corporation Replaces Whiteboards With BenQ’s Interactive Displays for 20-Point Multi-touch, Germ-Resistant Screen, and Intuitive Collaboration Features
Wawasee Community School Corporation in Indiana is committed to preparing students for success in life by keeping them actively engaged in learning through an initiative called “Wawasee engagED.” With five schools in the community and 2914 students, Wawasee made strides in this goal four years ago when it became a 1:1 school district. K-3 students are issued iPad Air 2 devices while each 4-12 student receives a Chromebook. The next step in the school community’s technology plan was to update the aging whiteboards used in its classrooms, libraries, and common areas. In addition to the annual cost and labor of replacing the whiteboard’s projector lamps, many of the projectors were failing and due to be replaced.
“We asked ourselves, ‘What is it that we would like to see and do in the classroom?’,” said Sara Harrison, the French teacher and a Technology Integration Specialist at Wawasee. “In the background, we were building a brand-new elementary school, which guided the conversation and led us down the path of exploring interactive displays.”
Phil Huffman, Technology Coordinator, reached out to CCS/CIM to bring in interactive displays from a variety of manufacturers. They set up each interactive display in Harrison’s classroom to test and determine which would best fit the needs of the school community and its students. Among them was BenQ’s RP Series, which came highly recommended by their vendor. After a month of testing the different interactive displays, the BenQ RP704K 4K UHD 70-inch interactive display won out on innovation and cost per feature.
“The most differentiating features were the germ-resistant, 20-point multitouch screen,” said Harrison. “Instead of having only one student at the board, you can have as many as can fit and you didn’t have to worry about germs. Putting these features together made BenQ stand out from competitors.”
As familiar as operating a tablet or smartphone, the BenQ interactive display infrared screen technology allows users to employ the screen’s pen or simply gestures to zoom, click, and rotate objects. This feature was especially important for Wawasee’s younger students, who have developing fine motor skills. Students often struggled to complete the simple activities due to the glitchy and unrefined touch capabilities of the old interactive whiteboards. The RP704K’s sophisticated technology solved this challenge, providing them with easy interaction and accuracy. In addition, it automatically recognizes and converts handwriting to text. The BenQ RP Series are the industry’s first and only interactive display’s built not only with intuitive interactivity in mind, but also health. The RP704K incorporates Smart Eye-Care technology to eliminate the health effects associated with blue light and glare, and a germ-resistant screen that kills most germs accumulating on screen surfaces while helping to prevent cross-infection or epidemics in classrooms.
While the antimicrobial multi-touch screen was a differentiating factor, it was the interactive display’s other features that allow the school community to advance its technology edge and boost learning and engagement in the classroom. For three years, the school has had an e-learning program as a way to take instruction beyond the classroom and the interactive display’s screen-recording feature allows teachers to expand on that initiative. With just one click, they can record presentations, which then can be saved to the cloud for students to refer back to later. The interactive display s’ built-in collaboration software, InstaShare, has also enabled students to share directly to the screen from their own Chromebooks or for teachers to connect, create, and stream visual, audio files, and full HD quality videos from anywhere and remotely, from any PC or mobile. In addition, Wawasee’s teachers rely on the built-in apps to help keep students learning independently during small group and one-on-one instruction time.
“Through these features we’ve provided our teachers with versatility they didn’t have before,” said Phil Huffman. “The result is more opportunities for students to connect and to share their knowledge.”
BenQ also designed the interactive display s for simple, cloud-based equipment management, which was especially important for Wawasee’s technology staff. The cloud-based management tools, included
BenQ DMS local device information and management software, apps, and an over-the-air update. With these features, the tech team can centrally manage the more than 200 RP Series interactive displays from the cloud, including running updates, pushing out notifications, and even turning them on or off, which is beneficial for energy savings.
The BenQ interactive displays have prepared Wawasee for the future as the classroom, curriculum, and technology continue to evolve. The interactive displays have been so well received that one was installed in the school community boardroom.
“When we decided to go 1:1, our why was to boost student engagement and reach kids using all the means possible,” said Dave VanLue, Technology Director. “With the new interactive displays, we’re gradually seeing a change in expectations within the classroom. Instead of teachers leading all the time, kids are getting more involved and participating. They’re presenting their own ideas and helping to actually teach their peers in class. BenQ fits perfectly into all areas of our theme, Wawasee EngagED.”