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Case Study

Parish School Replaces Aging SMART Boards

with ViewSonic® ViewBoard®

Company

Opened in 1946, the St. Matthew Parish School is part of St. Matthew Parish in Akron, Ohio. Featuring a strong curriculum in religion, technology, science and math, St. Matthew Parish School engages students to reach their potential in a challenging yet compassionate environment where innovation, 21st-century skills and collaboration help students succeed. St. Matthew's attracts students from over 10 area communities, with the majority of its graduates matriculating to area Catholic high schools.

Overview

Problem:

Replace aging SMART boards with a flexible, reliable, education-oriented interactive solution that integrated well with Google Chromebooks

Solution:

The ViewSonic® 70" and 65" ViewBoard® interactive flat panel displays with slot-in PC and mobile cart offered the mobility, accuracy, durability and Chromebook compatibility that the school needed

Result:

• Mobile cart mounting plus the powerful slot-in PC with wireless keyboard and mouse freed teachers to move around the classroom

• Teachers are thrilled with how easy it was to get up and running and the ease with which they could use their existing SMART Notebook-based lessons

• Teachers and students appreciate the high-accuracy touch capabilities

• Ability to import virtually any online instructional content and run it alongside students working at the board

• Eliminating the need for daily "reorienting" to maintain SMART board touch accuracy

Our kindergarten teacher absolutely loves how much better the ViewBoard pen writing is. It helps the kids really be able to see how they’re doing with developing their writing skills.

Gretchen Knapp, Technology Coordinator at St. Matthew Parish School

Problem

Like many schools today, the St. Matthew Parish School was ready to retire a host of aging SMART boards. Having used the boards for the past 10 years, the teachers and administrators knew what worked well – and what didn’t. While teachers and students were benefitting from the interactive capabilities, several limitations compelled technology coordinator Gretchen Knapp to look for a better option.

Knapp recognized that keeping teachers tethered to their laptops constrained their creative capabilities. In addition, the need to continually "orient" the SMART boards to reconfigure touchpoints whenever the projector or board was bumped or jarred by vibrations was sapping teacher time and patience. The school was also looking to move away from Windows and become a Google Chrome environment, which created a dilemma around license renewal for their SMART Notebook software, which Knapp said didn’t work well with Chromebooks.

"Last time I looked, SMART hadn’t done a lot with Chromebooks and we were committed to moving in that direction," said Knapp, "So license renewal didn’t make much sense."

Solution

Against this backdrop of concerns, Knapp began noticing the interactive ViewSonic display used by her TV weather station, thinking how terrific it would be to have them in the classrooms. When their solution provider, Blue Technologies, mentioned ViewSonic ViewBoard, it was only a matter of time before Knapp ordered a demo of the CDE7061T 70’’ 10-point touch ViewBoard interactive display along with the optional slot-in PC and mobile cart.

The demo offered exactly what they were looking for: added interactive capabilities, outstanding touch accuracy, and freedom from cords, along with the mobility and durability to serve as a flexible resource throughout the school. Plus, said Knapp, the setup was incredibly fast and easy. ("We had it mounted and up and running in less than an hour.") The pilot was a big success, and the school quickly purchased three additional cart-mounted ViewBoard displays.

"I’m a firm believer that you can over-research sometimes," said Knapp. "So we
went with ViewSonic and we haven’t looked back. We’ve got a great thing going with the ViewBoard and we’re really not interested in looking at anything else right now."

Result

The school piloted the 70" ViewSonic ViewBoard in a unique setting – the gym. The durable, mobile-cart mounted ViewBoard was the perfect fit for enabling the PE teacher to enhance her instruction with online resources. After almost two full school-years of use, the PE teacher continues to be thrilled with its performance.

"It has been a phenomenal addition to her teaching," said Knapp. "She’s able to pull content to enrich her curriculum, like videos on how to swing a bat correctly or covering the rules of a game. The timer also comes in handy and the kids really enjoy it."

The sturdy, smooth-rolling mobile cart lets classes quickly move the display to start game play or to position it for optimal viewing. Despite its easy mobility, however, the display has been hit a couple of times, said Knapp – proving it to be as durable as they’d hoped.

Mobility has been an important factor in the ViewBoard’s success throughout the school, along with the added flexibility delivered by the powerful slot-in PC and wireless control.

"The SMART boards were wall-mounted and the teachers were tired of having to always face the stationary board," said Knapp. "They love being able to position the ViewBoard wherever it best suits their needs and use it to get creative and collaborative with the kids, which is the wave of the new teaching techniques."

The slot-in PC, controlled with a wireless keyboard and mouse, added clutter-free convenience to the freedom of movement, freeing teachers from the hassles and tripping hazards of cables.

"The teachers never have to connect their laptops and they’re no longer tethered to a particular spot," said Knapp. "They love that they can be anywhere in the classroom and do what they need right from where they are, whether they’re standing or sitting."

Following the PE teacher’s success, the school purchased ViewBoard interactive displays for use in the kindergarten and 8th grade classrooms. A favorite feature of both instructors is the accuracy of the touchpoints.

"Our kindergarten teacher absolutely loves how much better the ViewBoard pen writing is," said Knapp. "It helps the kids really be able to see how they’re doing with developing their writing skills."

Importantly, the online features of the school’s Superkids reading program work without a hitch on the ViewBoard, said Knapp, and the students’ writing is always perfectly aligned. To the kindergarten teacher’s great relief, her ViewBoard has eliminated the dreaded "orient" process.

"Orient became a bad word around here," said Knapp jokingly but in all seriousness. "With the SMART board, if the projector or board got bumped or there were any slight vibrations teachers would have to stop and "reorient" the system or the writing would be off."

This was no small problem for the first-floor Kindergarten classroom, which was subject to vibrations from above when the kids changed classes. Thoroughly satisfied with the upgrade, Knapp said the kindergarten teacher hasn’t looked back at her SMART board once since receiving the ViewBoard. The 8th grade teacher has similarly been won over by the merits of the ViewBoard. One of her favorite aspects is the accuracy of the touch and how easy it is to use. "She also absolutely loves the way she can use her fist to erase," said Knapp. "And while that may seem like a small thing, it’s really not because it saves her a lot of time each day, being able to quickly erase what’s on the board."

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