Case Study

Enhanced Teaching and Collaboration

75" ViewBoard Interactive Flat Panel

Company

Located in Oakfield, New York, about 40 miles northeast of Buffalo, the Oakfield-Alabama Central School District serves 881 students in grades Pre-K through 12. The district offers small class sizes, positive community support, individual attention, and encouragement, helping students and staff members strive for excellence with curriculum developed to challenge and stimulate the minds of students and keep them up to state standards of learning.

Overview

Problem:

  • Replace aging Smartboards with education-enhancing interactive displays from a reliable long-term partner.
  • Reduce costs by avoiding Windows-based or proprietary systems.
  • Increase value with lowered maintenance costs and reliable warranty coverage.
  • Achieve greater interactive annotation capabilities and integration with Google/Chrome.

Solution:

Result:

  • Easy deployment and learning curve with teachers up-and-running with as little as 10 minutes of training.
  • Efficient integration of wireless accessories.
  • Enhanced interaction and empowered creative teaching with annotation over any input/content and pinch-zoom capabilities via Google Chromebox.
  • Better brightness and clarity lets teachers keep lights on for greater interaction and classroom management.
  • Lower costs via reduction in help desk ticket volume, maintenance costs, power consumption and elimination of proprietary software.
  • Effective resource sharing for added cost savings and teaching benefits.

The ViewBoards are very user-friendly. When we checked back after the initial training, teachers are already doing things like saving annotated screenshots to Google Drive and using the built-in timer tools.

Rob Zdrojewski, Director of Instructional Technology

Problem

When director of instructional technology, Rob Zdrojewski, joined the Oakfield - Alabama School District in 2015, he discovered a situation common in today’s schools: aging, worn out Smartboards in need of replacement. Before choosing a path forward, Zdrojewski looked at the latest Smartboards, touch-enabled projectors and interactive flat panels. Flat panels as a category quickly rose to the top because of their better overall total cost of ownership, and because they eliminate common projector challenges like the need to calibrate to maintain accurate touchpoints.

“We then looked at panels from a dozen or so manufacturers, including the big-name brands like Promethean, Smart and ViewSonic,” said Zdrojewski. “We also looked at some smaller no-name suppliers, which, by the way, are no longer around.”

Solution

From this pool of contenders, the ViewSonic ViewBoard IFP7550 75” interactive flat panel display with Ultra HD 4K resolution emerged as the top solution to meet the district’s needs.

“The easy on-board annotation really sold me on ViewSonic,” said Zdrojewski. “We loved the ability to draw over any input source – live document camera, content from a connected laptop, smartphone or tablet, DVD content– it didn’t matter what the input source was you could write over it with the built-in annotation tools. We weren’t seeing that functionality except on the Windows side of things or proprietary products like Smart Ink.”

That, said Zdrojewski, along with having been around for a couple of decades with a reputation for great product reliability, convinced them that ViewSonic was the way to go.

“ViewSonic has a good warranty, which is something we wanted to be sure of,” he added. “We’ve had 17-, 19-, and 22-inch ViewSonic monitors for many years – and in the rare occasion we’ve needed to make a warranty claim it hadn’t been a problem at all.”

Additionally, Zdrojewski and his team were impressed with ViewSonic’s forward-thinking focus on the important role of Google and Chrome in the education environment.

"We consider Microsoft Windows a legacy platform – whenever possible we choose to deploy Chrome OS devices instead," said Zdrojewski. “Of all the vendors we looked at, ViewSonic had done the most research for Google Drive integration and the advantages of Chrome. Everyone else wanted to push Windows – and all the proprietary accessories that went with it.”

Based on this outstanding overall fit for their needs, the Oakfield-Alabama Central School District purchased 90 ViewSonic ViewBoard IFP7550 IFPs and began installing them across its elementary, middle, and high school buildings. For added teaching impact, the ViewBoard IFPs were fitted out with Chromeboxes and accessories like document cameras, webcams, and wireless mobile keyboards, said Zdrojewski.

Result

Deployed on mobile carts to enable efficient resource-sharing and easy classroom reconfiguration, the ViewSonic ViewBoard IFPs immediately began delivering added convenience, flexibility and engagement. Teachers found them easy to use and most mastered the basics after about only 10 minutes of training.

“The ViewBoards are very user friendly,” said Zdrojewski. “When we checked back after the initial training, teachers are already doing things like saving annotated screenshots to Google Drive and using the built-in timer tools.”

At every grade level, teachers have been thrilled with the performance improvements and added features offered by ViewBoard. Not only are they (and their students) empowered to draw and write over any displayed content, the brighter screens bring welcome clarity and classroom management benefits.

Another big bonus: no longer having to worry about projector calibration.

“With the Smartboard 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.

All-in-all, the ViewBoard IFPs have become a powerful educational tool wielded by the Oakfield-Alabama teachers. Wireless keyboard in hand, they walk classrooms freely, sharing insights from any vantage point and encouraging students to wirelessly cast content from their Chromebooks onto the ViewBoard screen. Multiple screens are deployed to classrooms seeking to differentiate lessons or break students into project-based groups, and the added ability to pinch, zoom into and annotate on top of anything on screen has had a big boon to teachers’ instructional capabilities. Tried-and-true “old fashioned” worksheets get ViewBoard screen-time thanks to the document camera, enabling annotating, collaboration and concept clarification that all can easily see. The wide-angle webcam and Google Hangouts meet up to enable entire classrooms to communicate with collaborators across the country or across the world.

“One cool example is that the day before the presidential election in 2016 a politics class was able to talk to one of our senators about the election using the ViewBoard in the library,” said Zdrojewski. “It was one of the first times a high school class experienced the power of live interaction on a big screen.”

Last but not least, said Zdrojewski, the ViewBoards have cut costs related to maintenance, repairs and power use.

“There’s not much that can go wrong with them and, in contrast to our Smartboards, which we had lots of issues with, we get virtually no tickets submitted related to the ViewBoards,” he said. “They’re very maintenance free.”

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