High School Principal Broadcasts Positivity with ViewSonic Manager Advanced and ViewBoard Interactive Displays
Robert E. Lee High School is a public secondary school in Montgomery, Alabama, serving grades 9 - 12. Operating since September, 1955, the school is one of 10 high schools in the Montgomery Public Schools system. According to U.S. News & World Report data, among the student population of 1,386 the total minority enrollment is 95%, and 86% of students are economically disadvantaged.
“Students can interact with text on the board, which allows them to annotate, highlight, and request audio readings, which is an outstanding way to improve vocabulary and comprehension.”
— Dr. Antjuan Marsh, Principle at Robert E. Lee High School
When Dr. Antjuan Marsh became principal at Robert E. Lee High School in Montgomery, Alabama, one of the first things he did was assess the school’s education technology. The classroom displays, he discovered, were aged, underutilized, and included a difficult-to-manage mix of models that included ViewSonic® ViewBoard® interactive displays. Teachers reported that they preferred the ViewSonic ViewBoard interactive displays because they were easier to use and enabled them to do much more digitally than the Promethean boards.
After assessing the ViewBoard interactive displays, Marsh and the school improvement team agreed to purchase current-model 75-inch ViewSonic ViewBoard interactive displays for every classroom. It was a wise investment. Teachers use the ViewBoard displays daily for instruction, Dr. Marsh said, and are well-versed in using the included myViewBoard® software tools to boost collaboration and engagement.
“For example, one English teacher breaks students into workstations, with one group working at the ViewBoard display,” said Dr. Marsh. “Students can interact with text on the board, which allows them to annotate, highlight, and request audio readings, which is an outstanding way to improve vocabulary and comprehension.”
With the instructional technology upgrade behind him, Dr. Marsh turned his attention to finding innovative ways to build a stronger school-wide community. The leader of a school where 80% of the students qualify for free or reduced lunches and live in an often violent and uncertain environment, Dr. Marsh recognized a unique opportunity presented by the ViewSonic ViewBoard displays installed in every classroom across the school. His plan was to leverage the displays to extend the power of the positive through dynamic and compelling school-wide multimedia messaging.
The ViewSonic Manager™ software included with ViewSonic ViewBoard displays allows for remote centralized management of all networked displays, along with the ability to distribute text-based messages across some or all ViewBoard displays. Text alone, however, was not compelling enough to meet Dr. Marsh’s goals. To deliver video and other media messaging, he would need the Manager Advanced™ subscription-based software upgrade.
After a 90-day free trial, Dr. Marsh was ready to go all-in with the subscription at the start of the next school year. Guided by the school improvement theme Connectedness, Dr. Marsh began creating videos that highlighted the good stuff: students winning awards, following the rules, having fun, attending school events, and supporting one another. Most were fun, but decidedly not frivolous.
“The CDC defines ‘school connectedness’ as when students know that adults in their building care about them academically and also as a person,” said Dr. Marsh. “By broadcasting videos showing the positive things they’re doing we are showing them that we see them and recognize them as valuable.
”When students feel connected to their school, the CDC further notes, they’re less likely to experience poor mental health, sexual health risks, substance abuse, and violence. The ViewSonic ViewBoard classroom displays provided an important means of reaching these critical goals.
Dr. Marsh uses the Connectedness videos to shape school culture, positively impact social-emotional learning, provide public service announcements, and run safety drills. To capture student attention, he broadcasts these messages to every ViewBoard display in the school at random times – including in the middle of classes.
“I’ve broadcast many types of messages,” said Dr. Marsh. “Most of them are about the great things our students are doing, but the broadcasts are also helpful for utilitarian messages. For example, yesterday we ran a PSA on where and when students can and cannot use cell phones. Teachers appreciate these PSAs because when they see students in the hallways not following the rules, they can remind them of the videos.”
Other examples noted by Dr. Mash were a looping broadcast highlighting award-winning students, including one who won a national competition based on her work with tornado victims; clips from sporting and fine arts events; and a collage of students from the required career preparedness class looking sharp in their interview attire.
Creating the broadcasts is as easy as using his iPhone to record video, along with using apps on his laptop, Dr. Marsh says, which enable him to edit and add captions. The Manager Advanced software further enables him to broadcast YouTube videos or other web-based content, another feature that he leverages for positive impact. Occasionally he will send messages to certain classes, easily identifying and selecting the ViewBoard display endpoints using the Manager Advanced interface. Next on his agenda is learning how to use the Manager Advanced software to broadcast Google Slides presentations.
As hoped for, the videos have become a happily anticipated part of the school environment.
“The more videos I create, the more they want to see them,” said Dr. Marsh. “If I can’t make it to an event or leave something out that they think should be there, the students let me know.”
The opportunities to notice, capture and broadcast connection and caring are endless. On March 14th, otherwise known as “Pi Day,” the school held a pie-throwing event. A student unexpectedly tossed the edible kind at the principal, who accepted the gesture with extreme grace. The student exclaimed that she was now wanted for “pie-ing” the principal. Someone caught it all on video and it became a hit among the many memorable broadcasts bolstering the community at Lee High School.
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