Case Study

ViewSonic® Interactive Display

Brings Multifaceted Teaching Tools to Growing School District

Company

The Rio School District serves more than 4,800 students through six elementary schools and two middle schools in the southern California communities of El Rio, the River Park development and portions of the City of Oxnard. Growing by more than 100 students annually in recent years, the District strives to provide world-class education through a focus on 21st century learning based on the 5Cs: communication, critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and caring, while developing basic literacy in reading, writing, math, and technology.

Overview

Problem:

  • Upgrade classroom display technology to fit space constraints and deliver enhanced teaching tools.

Solution:

  • The ViewSonic® CDE7060T 70" 10-point interactive touch LED display with embedded PC and integrated teaching software replaced both outdated projectors and whiteboards to make the most of limited classroom wall space.

Result:

  • Teachers and students have embraced the new technology, regularly using the interactivity and PC connectivity to expand learning activities.
  • The embedded PC enabled easy integration with student devices and Google apps.
  • Higher brightness along with better resolution has enabled easier viewing and note taking without dimming the lights.

I’m absolutely sure it’s worth the investment. To be honest I haven’t seen a whole lot of technology deployments in classrooms that have had a better response.

Mike Vollmert, Director of Technology

Problem

Having received funding from a bond initiative, the Rio School District IT Department planned to replace its outdated projectors with flat panel displays to improve upon image quality and TCO. Teachers, however, expressed concerns about how the new devices would fit into their classroom environments.

“We would have had to mount the displays around existing whiteboards and other occupied wall space,” said District Director of Technology Mike Vollmert, “In many cases the displays would have had to be mounted up so high that kids near the front of the room would have to crane their necks to see them.”

With limited space and teacher concerns about losing whiteboard and wall space, an alternate solution was called for.

"With limited wall space and lacking teacher support, an alternate solution was called for."

Teachers supported having some sort of display - but they had concerns about placement and did not want to lose whiteboard space or wall space, where they typically display student work or have other displays.

Solution

As the IT team dug into the dilemma, they discovered the ViewSonic CDE7060T, a 70’’ 10-point interactive touch LED display, which, said Vollmert, pretty much solved all their problems.

“Because it’s so much more than just an LCD TV, the CDE7060T can be used in lieu of a whiteboard, which meant we didn’t have to mount it up so high,” said Vollmert. “And having the computer already embedded in it meant we didn’t have to connect any other devices to it unless we wanted to.”

Beyond these benefits, added Vollmert, whose professional roots hail from the classroom, the PC-equipped interactive display offered a world of new teaching opportunities.

A previous ViewSonic customer familiar with the company’s reputation for reliability, Vollmert said they had no doubt that the CDE7060T would be a good product. Nonetheless, the prospect of investing in an all-new technology felt a bit risky and before making the final purchase decision the team looked at products from a number of manufacturers. The consensus, said Vollmert, was that from a price and functionality standpoint the ViewSonic CDE7060T was the best fit.

“The embedded computer was a significant factor for us,” said Vollmert. “Other manufacturers offer 10 point touch, but ViewSonic had the embedded PC and the embedded easy-to-use software, and all at a price-point that worked for us.”

Following their typical test-and-try philosophy, the IT team took a phased approach to deployment, initially piloting in 30 classrooms.

“We wanted to ensure that teachers were committed to making the most of the technology, not just treating it like a TV,” said Vollmert. “So we initially put them
into classrooms with teachers we knew would dive in and explore and share their experiences with the other teachers.”

Once the pilots had produced positive reviews, he said, the IT department told the rest of the teaching staff that they too could have one – if they were committed to using it to its fullest potential. The response was overwhelming, with virtually all of the schools’ 220 teachers wanting an interactive display for their classroom. Upon the recent completion of the final deployment phase, all have had their wish granted and are now happily using the displays.

Result

The ensuing enthusiasm has continued to match the initial desire for the devices, with teachers and students alike using the displays in a multitude of different ways.  “It’s a terrifically multifaceted tool,” said Vollmert. “Teachers can adapt it to so many uses and they’re really using the touch capacity in creative ways that enhance what they do in the classroom.”

Among the examples he cited: Teachers can now create interactive spaces where kids then work alongside them; they can add internet content or video to enhance their lesson; and they can save any type of work used on the display and make it available to students on their Google accounts. Students similarly interact with the displays in any number of ways, such as using them to enhance presentations.

“One specific example that comes to mind is a math game a third grade teacher devised, where you have to use all 4s in an equation to come up with every number from 1 though 20. The kids got up and interacted with the board to come up with the equations. They collected the responses on the board, and then the teacher saved the entire thing and distributed it to all the kids as a Google doc so they could refer back to it. The kids had a blast – they all wanted to be the first to figure out an answer and get to write it on the giant tablet.”

An added bonus: IT staff, administrators and other teachers can walk into a classroom and use the embedded computer to log into his Google account and share information. What’s more, the utility as simply a display device is much better than their old projectors.

“Teachers don’t have to shut lights off in the room to be able to see the content,” said Vollmert. “And the resolution is better.”

As to whether he thinks excitement over the devices will wane as the novelty wears off, Vollmert had this to say:

“We’re a 1:1 district and every kid has a personal device and we’ve seen that this can happen. But when it does it’s not necessarily a bad thing. When the novelty fades that’s when we can really see how technology tools are used in all-new, transformative ways.”

For now, he said, the teachers and students at Rio School District continue to explore how to integrate the display’s functionality into their lesson plans; things will get even more exciting when they regularly use them in ways that are entirely different than what they did before, for approaches that couldn’t exist without the technology. Which, he noted, had already begun to happen.

“Because of the interactivity and the embedded PC, kids can send their work up to the screen for everyone to see and work on; they can capture video and use the interactivity to annotate it, then share with the Google groups. We couldn’t do that with our projectors. We couldn’t show a video of sea otters that kids could capture a screen shot from, then incorporate that into a student blog and write about what they learned.”

The bottom line, said Vollmert, speaking with passion as the teacher-at-heart he clearly is, is that this technology can free teachers to truly be teachers.

“With this technology I’m no longer the sole source of information for my students. I can say, go get your own information and now I’m a facilitator, their guide-in-process – helping them learn how to learn.”

Speaking with his IT hat on, Vollmert is equally pleased with the quality and performance of the hardware, as well as ViewSonic’s support.

“We’ve experienced ViewSonic’s support mechanism in the past and it’s tried and true,” he said.” And we appreciated that our sales rep, Cheryl Badley, has come out and done a couple trainings for us.”

What was initially perceived as somewhat of a calculated risk, this jump to an entirely new technology for the school district, has clearly paid off.

“I’m absolutely sure it’s worth the investment,” Vollmert said. “To be honest I haven’t seen a whole lot of technology deployments in classrooms that have had a better response.”

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