The extent of the transformation is apparent with a glance at the “before” and “after” pictures. Visually, the makeover resulted in a cheerful, dynamic-looking space that’s clearly more aligned with what students encounter in their after-school hours.
“Kids are trained by McDonald’s and Starbucks and the mall to expect options, choice and a certain aesthetic,” said Corippo. “Outside of school, they get to pick what’s optimum for them. Not only is this comfortable and engaging, but kids are also developing executive functions when they get to make choices, when they have to ask, ‘where do I want to go, what do I do now?’”
In the redesigned classroom, students and teacher alike appreciate the ability to easily see a screen from every vantage point. With a display on every wall and chairs that move with ease, no one is left out, or left with a sore neck from twisting for a view.
“It’s a huge benefit to have screens on every wall,” said Porter. “With the ability to display information and instructions on all screens, I get fewer questions like, ‘when is this due,’ and ‘what are we supposed to be doing.’”
Because the ViewSonic® IFP7550 75” ViewBoard® interactive display has built-in Android, running Chrome is seamless, noted Corippo. With Chromecast on every display, different groups can use different screens at the same time.
“I plan to use the screens for station rotation, with each group working on something different,” said Porter. “Those at the touchscreen will be able to display work and annotate text. We do lots of close reads—it’s perfect for that. In the past I’ve used a document camera, with students watching me do the annotations. Using the touchscreen creates a student-centered approach.”
The rolling lectern and the ability to dynamically cast content to the screens has made a big impact on the way he teaches, said Porter.
“I don’t have to stay at my desk when I’m presenting,” he said. “I’m moving around more, which makes it much easier to interact with the kids.”
This mobility can have a big impact on classroom management and offers the ability to maintain proximity to students who need added assistance, with less disruption to the lesson.
Easy content sharing by all has created an environment where students can also seamlessly share their screens. This, says Corippo, is a key to active learning, which develops skills that kids need to thrive in the workplace.
“If a student says, ‘you know what I just figured out…,’ the teacher can say, ‘why don’t you show us?’ There’s no need for the teacher to walk to the student and look over his shoulder to see his work,” Corippo said. “Then, when a classmate says, ‘you know what, that made me think of…,’ that student can show her work on the screens. It’s a totally different interaction than in traditional classrooms.”
Importantly, achieving this collaborative flow doesn’t require advanced IT knowledge, added Corippo.
“You don’t need to be a techie to do this. The only thing you need is to be in a Chrome browser. There’s an icon you click that immediately sends what you’re doing to the screen. The only requirement is that Chromecast and the device be in the same network.”
While it’s possible to stream with any HDMI device, such as Chromecast, Apple TV or Roku, Corippo noted that the ViewSonic system makes it simple and seamless.
“ViewSonic makes content sharing so easy, with the integrated feature on the 75” ViewBoard interactive display that essentially makes the display think that it’s a Smart TV or an Apple TV,” he said. “It’s easy and cost-saving. Schools don’t have to buy an Apple TV or any other streaming device. The ViewSonic display provides the “casting” capacity for streaming. In addition to being easy, there’s no Apple license needed.”
Minimal need for teacher training is one of the many ways this streamlined solution saves schools money, said Corippo. Equipment savings is yet another.
“With the ViewSonic LCD displays, you don’t need an expensive AV system like Extron or Crestron, just a couple of HDMI cables and a splitter. And the sound from the integrated speakers in the ViewSonic IFP7550 75” ViewBoard interactive display is more than enough for a standard classroom. That’s a big cost savings and the system is so much more accessible.”
Easy setup saves IT time, getting classrooms up and running quickly and conserving IT resources, Corippo said, adding that for many districts the use of HDMI cabling is far less costly than requiring specialized labor to do electrical work.
Completed just eight weeks before the end of the school year, the impact of the CUE BOLD classroom makeover is just beginning. Porter anticipates an ongoing transition to greater collaboration and student-centered active learning, as he and his students find more ways to integrate the ViewBoard interactive display into the curriculum.
Along the way, he looks forward to continuing to use the boards to promote mindfulness and alleviate anxiety.
“It seems like a small thing, but using the displays to create a vibe in the room can really support what we’re doing,” said Porter. “For example, if students are reading, or doing a more passive activity, I’ll put on video like a fireplace or a shoreline with gentle waves and display it on all the screens. It’s a great way to promote mindfulness.”