Education IT administrators love interactive touch screens. They are easy to use for teachers, students, and IT staff. They require far less setup and maintenance than projector-based systems. And they last far longer than other interactive display types. And that just scratches the surface of the advantages of interactive whiteboards.
Read the complete list below to find out if an interactive touch screen is the best solution for your needs.
First, let’s acknowledge something. Those who choose careers in education IT don’t just like technology. They like working in this particular environment. They take pride in supporting teachers and students with tech that facilitates learning. They take pleasure in helping students grow and achieve success.
Because of this, many are fans of interactive touch screen displays for the great teaching and learning advantages they offer. Things like enhancing collaboration and building skills for workforce readiness. For more on these, see our article: 10 Ways Interactive Touch Screen Displays Improve Education.
Here, we explore additional reasons education IT pros are often proponents of interactive touch screen displays. These reasons relate to the daily demands of their jobs. Think of them as the administrative benefits of interactive flat panel (IFP) displays.
1. All-In-One Solutions
Many of the IT benefits of interactive touch screen displays follow from one basic fact. That is, IFP displays are an all-in-one solution. They deliver all the goods in a single package. This out-of-the-box solution means you’re not having to constantly replace spare parts. No bulbs or filters to install or replace. No calibration needed to get up and running. Just connect to your computer and get going.
2. Easily Upgradeable
Sometimes out-of-the-box isn’t quite enough. Some IPF solutions (like ViewSonic ViewBoards) make it easy to boost computing power. ViewSonic slot-in PCs are a simple, one-time add on. Simply hook them up and gain support for HD audio and video. Plus, added computing power, faster Wi-Fi and expanded storage.
Technology Director Kevin Powers of the Fenton Area Public School District in Fenton, Michigan initially piloted the ViewSonic ViewBoard IFP7550 using Android and their own PCs.
“Then we tested the slot-in PC and found it to be a more robust solution. It gives teachers more options,” said Powers. “For example, we have a teacher running a graphic calculator emulation. Our yearbook teacher runs the Adobe creative suite and uses the display to bring up page designs for discussion. Having the Windows flexibility with the slot-in PC is tremendous.”
His team ultimately deployed ViewSonic ViewBoard interactive displays equipped with slot-in PCs to classrooms across their district. The result: added functionality, engagement, collaboration, and efficiency.
3. Freedom from Fees
Software licensing fees add costs and complexity. Thankfully, many interactive touch screens (like ViewSonic ViewBoards) are both device and software agnostic. They play nice with everyone. Not only does this reduce ongoing IT costs, it enables the flexibility to choose ad hoc software as needed to best support the learning needs of each school, grade-level and specialized curriculum.
4. Easy Implementation
Easy installs cut costs and free up IT staff to meet other needs. Because they’re all-in-one solutions, interactive touch screen displays are faster to deploy than projectors and projector-based display solutions. Whether wall- or cart-mounted, deploying IFP displays is fast and intuitive. Seamless compatibility with any laptop, iPad or other tablets further adds to setup ease. In most cases, instructors simply connect the display and they’re ready to go. When it comes to mounting, wall-mounting an IFP is easier than mounting a projector.
5. Easy Transitions
Transitioning to new tech is often difficult and time-consuming. Change is tough, and teachers don’t always take to new tools. The greater the reticence, the more time and effort needed by the IT staff to conduct training and respond to calls for help. Interactive touch screen displays are an incredibly accessible tech. For one thing, they look just like teachers’ at-home TVs. For another, they operate just like a giant iPad.
When the Wilmington Area School District began replacing their aging projector-based systems with ViewSonic ViewBoard interactive touch screen displays, the transition was incredibly easy, according to Matt Maine, district Technology Manager.
“ViewSonic came in and did some training for the teachers,” said Maine. “And we helped them get started. But mostly, they figure it out. Working with the ViewBoard displays is very easy and intuitive.”
6. Low Maintenance
Take a moment and think about your own TV. When was the last time you had to do anything to keep it working? The answer is probably “never.” So it is with quality interactive touch screen displays. IT staff at schools that deploy well-vetted IFPs to replace projectors and projector-based display systems can wave a happy goodbye to changing bulbs, cleaning filters and helping harried teachers with calibration.
With no projector to maintain, IFPs reduce both costs and staff time related to calibration, replacing bulbs and cleaning filters. Class downtime is also minimized, with no unexpected bulb burn-outs or downtime waiting for bulbs to be replaced.
Rob Zdrojewski, Director of Instructional Technology at the Oakfield-Alabama School District in Oakfield, NY reports that his team couldn’t be happier with their implementation of ViewSonic® ViewBoard ISP7550 75” interactive flat panel displays.
“With our former Smart Board projectors, teachers were continually having to deal with calibration and issues with the accuracy of what you’re touching on-screen lining up correctly,” said Zdrojewski. “With the ViewBoards, there’s not much that can go wrong with them and, in contrast to our Smart Boards, which we had lots of issues with, we get virtually no tickets submitted related to the ViewBoards. They’re very maintenance-free.”
The IT team at the Chico Unified School District, located in California’s Sacramento Valley, had the opportunity to experience supporting projectors, Smart Boards and ViewSonic ViewBoard IFPs.
“I’ve asked our technicians which ones they want to support, now that they’ve been exposed to projectors, Smart Boards, and ViewSonic ViewBoard interactive flat panel displays,” said John Sclare, Chico SD Information Systems Analyst in charge of Technology Bond Projects. “They say it’s far easier to support the ViewBoard interactive displays, which are no different than supporting a computer. They don’t need much, they just work.”
7. Easy for Teachers and Students to Use
This one’s a benefit for everyone. Happy users mean happy IT staff. Fewer complaints, fewer job tickets, and more productivity all around. To further turn up the happiness dial, look for IFPs with features that make teacher’s lives easier, like one-touch direct-to-Google save and built-in content sharing capabilities.
8. Reliable Resource Sharing
The proliferation of IFP displays has propelled the development of benefit-extending accessories. Among these, a wide variety of manual and motorized trolley carts make sharing resources easier than ever. Recent design developments have produced carts that are more stable, smooth rolling and financially accessible.
Options include the ability to raise, lower and tilt to various degrees. Some carts can even create a horizontal surface ideal for young learners and virtual maker-spaces. In contrast to projector-based systems, these cart-based resources can be widely shared without the need to recalibrate when moved or jarred – safeguarding teaching time and reducing IT staff needs.
Not only are they great for resource sharing, but mobile stands also let teachers move displays throughout their classroom space – tapping into the benefits of a flexible classroom environment.
9. Long Lifespan
With a useful lifespan 2-3 times longer than a typical projector or projector-based IWB – including laser projectors – interactive touch screen displays keep their benefits going for the long haul.
Many interactive touch screen displays (including ViewSonic ViewBoard displays) are rated for 50,000 hours of use. This is often translated to a 10-year lifespan. In reality, it may be much more. For example, if a display was used for the full 7 hours in a typical school day, five days a week, that equates to a potential 27 years of use! Realistically, schools will likely be looking at updated tech before a quarter-century goes by. Nonetheless, the long lifespan of IFPs offers the flexibility to continue using tech that’s meeting your needs well past a decade of use. Not to mention that all these years of use come with virtually zero maintenance and absolutely no replacement supplies (like bulbs or filters), for an outstanding TCO equation. Long live the IFP!
10. Outstanding ROI: Lower Costs, More Time
Each of the benefits discussed above adds to the outstanding return on investment delivered by interactive touch screen displays. It’s an equation many IT professionals live by.
“The number one reason we wanted to make a change came down to cost savings, along with wanting to avoid proprietary software,” said Matt Maine, district Technology Manager. “The cost of a new Promethean whiteboard plus the required projector exceeds the cost of a new ViewSonic ViewBoard display. Plus, the projectors need new lamps every year or two.”
“ViewBoard displays are rated for 50,000 hours of use,” said Maine also. “I look forward to [many] years of zero-cost maintenance!”
The bottom line: IFPs require less IT time, lowering costs and improving efficiency and productivity. They add years of use that bring outstanding learning advantages to classrooms and students.