Every step of the way, the Fenton IT team has had nothing but positive feedback from the teaching staff and students.
“Basically, the feedback has been astronomical,” said Powers. “This is really a home run for our schools.”
From music and art to social studies and math, teachers in every area report greater attention and participation. As one 4th grade teacher put it: “They can't wait to get their hands on it.”
The ability to expand the ways in which they teach is another common theme: Quickly pulling up info to answer questions and enhance lessons; writing directly on top of any content; presenting in exciting new ways. Other consistent accolades include the sharp, “larger than life” images and the ability to easily see the screen without having to turn the lights off.
“I really like the crisp, clear picture. It’s great for sharing artwork and giving examples,” said a middle school art teacher, “I’m also impressed by how well it’s viewed from all areas of the classroom.”
As he conducts training with the teaching staff, Powers hears much of this feedback first hand. The most-loved feature, he said, is probably the ability to quickly save content to Google Drive.
“Many of our teachers use Google Classroom and the ViewSonic IFP7550 enables teachers to capture their notes (or anything on the screen) and upload it to Google Drive using the cloud sync tool,” said Powers. “Additionally, ViewBoard 2.1 lets our teachers create lesson boards that can be printed to PDF and easily uploaded to Google Drive for posting in Google Classroom.”
As a 5th-grade math teacher noted, “I love that I can do my entire math lesson notes on the display, save it, and then send it to students that were absent."
Beyond the collaboration-building, instruction-enhancing multiple touch capabilities, Powers said the slot-in PC and powered mobile stands have added important capabilities.
“During the pilot, we started out with Android and hooking the displays up to our own PCs,” said Powers. “Then we tried the slot-in PC and found it to be a more robust solution. It gives teachers more options. For example, we have a teacher running a graphic calculator emulation. Our yearbook teacher runs the Adobe creative suite and uses the display to bring up page designs for discussion. Having the Windows flexibility with the slot-in PC is tremendous.”
The mobile stands let teachers move the displays throughout their classroom space – tapping into the benefits of a flexible classroom environment. While originally intending to use fixed mobile stands, Powers said they quickly discovered that the youngest students couldn’t reach the display.
“When we saw how terrific it was for students to be able to manipulate content – how well this was driving success and achievement – we needed to make sure our youngest students had access to that tech too,” said Powers. “ViewSonic, being a real player in this market, had a powered stand that lowered the display to 8” off the ground. That solved that problem. The powered stand is amazing. It makes the display friendly and inviting to young students to walk up, grab a stylus and get working on it."
Both features have been widely embraced by teachers for enhancing their teaching abilities. As noted by the art teacher:
“I really like having a separate computer from my own so that I can grade/check my email while playing a learning tutorial on the screen, and I like that it is on wheels and is mobile.”
Next on the agenda, said Powers, is ongoing professional development to help teachers maximize the impact of the new tool.
“The ViewSonic IFP7550s immediately made a positive impact,” said Powers. “But we know there’s so much more the teachers can do with them as they gain experience with the displays. Right now, I’m introducing Share with Air Class. We’re excited to see where this takes us as the year progresses.”