Interactive Flat Panel Displays Bring New Learning Resources
to Low Income School District
Customer
Profile

The Chico Unified School District, located in California's lush Sacramento Valley, covers 322 square miles and includes the entire city of Chico along with the adjacent unincorporated areas of Butte County. The district encompasses 10 elementary schools, 3 junior high schools and 2 comprehensive high schools plus several magnet, charter and special services schools.

We’re really seeing the advantage of interactive classrooms and how excited students and teachers are about the technology.

— John Sclare, Chico SD InformationSystems Analyst in charge of Technology Bond Projects

Summary
Challenge
  • Determine the optimal use of technology-slated bond funds.
  • Support enhanced education in elementary classrooms and junior high science classrooms through this new technology purchase.
Solution
  • Interactive front-of-classroom display technology was chosen as the optimal resource to support enhanced student learning.
  • The ViewSonic® CDE7060T 70" Full HD interactive flat panel display was chosen for its strong front-of-screen performance, integrated PC and included annotation software.
Result
  • Teachers immediately noticed better focus, enthusiasm and engagement in classrooms using the CDE7060T.
  • IT support staff have found the interactive 70” flat panel displays reliable and easy to support.
  • The district has plans in place to continue adding the interactive 70” flat panel displays to classrooms as budget allows.
The
Challenge

Granted bond monies to support construction and technology infrastructure upgrades, the Chico SD allocated a portion of the funds for technology enhancement at the elementary school level. Another portion was earmarked to support the integration of sixth graders into the district’s three junior highs (about to transform into middle schools) with the build out of seven new science classrooms and technology updates in 11 existing science rooms. The district’s IT group was tasked with recommending technology that would deliver maximum educational benefit for students.

The
Solution

While the IT team weighed the options, IT director Jason Gregg, along with Information Systems Analyst John Sclare, attended several classroom AV technology tradeshows.  Everything they saw pointed to interactive display technology as their ideal solution.  According to Sclare, who became lead project manager for the installation of the displays, the team evaluated options from several manufacturers, as well as other ViewSonic models, before choosing the ViewSonic® CDE7060T 70’’ Full HD interactive flat panel display.

“Our ViewSonic rep, Cheryl Badley, sent us a demo unit of the 70” display with integrated PC, which we set up in our technology staging room,” said Sclare. “We invited teachers from various school sites to come try it out and they got really excited about it.”

Plans were quickly made to deploy the CDE7060T at the three junior highs and three elementary schools. Once they arrived, Sclare and his team focused on integrating the interactive all-in-one displays in a manner that would more fully enhance the classroom learning environment, including the integration of PoE, wireless, zero clients and content sharing software for added convenience and versatility.

“One of the things we discovered was that the teachers were tied to their desk by USB cables that only reached 15 feet,” said Sclare. “We put in wireless document cams, keyboards, and mice so that the teachers can sit anywhere in the classroom to control the display.”

Power over Ethernet (PoE) lets the IT group manage the devices over the network and cleans up cable clutter. The use of zero clients along with content sharing software has enabled students to push content to the front-of-room display to demonstrate their work.

The Result

Now in use at several of the district’s second- through fifth-grade classrooms and new middle school science classrooms, the CDE7060T has become a valued resource in this low-income community. Combining powerful integrated processing, 8GB of internal storage, smooth 10-point touchscreen interactivity, and included annotation software, the durable 70” display has opened the door to interactive problem-solving, creative collaboration and a world of internet content.

“Everyone at the middle schools has said nothing but good things,” said Sclare, “and they’ve really taken off at the elementary level. In one of our more challenging schools, teachers noticed almost immediately that things in the classroom settled down and the kids really wanted to pay attention. They’re really excited about the technology.”

As for the impressions of those on the IT team who do have visibility into the classrooms – the technician’s – they couldn’t be happier.

“I’m an infrastructure person so my responsibility is bringing new technology to the classrooms. The technicians have more interaction with the teachers and classrooms,” said Sclare. “I’ve asked what they think, now that they’ve been exposed to projectors, smart boards, and now these interactive flat panel displays. I’ve asked, which ones do you want to support? They say it’s far easier to support the interactive displays, which are no different than supporting a computer. Also, they don’t need much, they just work.”

Not long after deployment, reporter Dani Anguiano from the Chico Enterprise-Record* spoke to Citrus Elementary School principal Rachel Tadeo and got an inside look at some of the classrooms, one of which named their interactive display “Vinnie the Viewsonic.”
As reported by Anguiano:

“In teacher Nicole Ballew’s third-grade class, when it’s time to solve math problems using the displays, students are excited. On a recent Thursday morning, when Ballew invited a student to come up to the board and solve a problem, all 20 students’ hands shot up to volunteer. Rather than work alone, they crowded around the screen with students taking turns showing how they solved a problem and others taking turns offering feedback to one another. Features on the display allow each student to choose which color to write in, so that it’s easier to distinguish between different students’ work. Teachers can also save the work to refer back to later.”

Principal Tadeo noted in the article that the new interactive teaching tool is clearly having a major impact on the way students learn and is particularly helpful for those who have challenges focusing.

“It’s clear that it’s working,” Tadeo said. “Our population is very low-income and doesn’t have a lot of the resources that other schools do, so this opens up the world to them.  They’re just so much more attentive. It’s very well worth the investment.”

Support from ViewSonic, said Sclare, helped pave the way for the successful use of the CDE7060T in the district’s classrooms.

“Cheryl has come by twice, first to demo the product and then to provide training to teachers and other staff. We held four 90 minutes sessions – Cheryl was here all day.  We had teachers from all three junior highs and from Citrus Elementary plus IT and administrative staff come learn about how to use the interactive display.”

Based on the success of this initial deployment, Sclare said that without a doubt the district would like to put ViewSonic CDE7060Ts into more of its classrooms. The only potential roadblock – funding.

“The use of this technology has really taken off,” said Sclare. “Everyone is realizing that this is a great way to invest funds. We’re really seeing the advantage of interactive classrooms and how excited students and teachers are about the technology.”

*Anguiano, Dani, Chico Enterprise-Record, New technology at Citrus improves student learning, April 19, 2016, Retrieved at http://www.chicoer.com/social-affairs/20160419/new-technology-at-citrus-improves-student-learning

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