While the realities of the 2020-2021 school year are far from certain, Brentwood Academy is ready to deliver top-notch education in any foreseeable circumstances. Teachers will train on the ViewSonic ViewBoard system beginning in early August, then set up their FIDO2 keys during orientation using help desk kiosks to walk them through the process of adding the key to their Microsoft profile.
“From day one we’ll have the added security of this multifactor authentication,” said Allen. “And the teachers will be able to securely launch any programs and apps they have associated with their Microsoft Education account profile from any ViewBoard on campus – including their personal myViewBoard hub and Microsoft OneDrive.”
Students who start the school year in-person will see an impressive new classroom setup and experience enhanced collaboration and interaction with content. Those who need to be out of the classroom for any reason will similarly enjoy enhanced collaborative and interactive learning benefits.
“With this new system we’ll be able to more easily accommodate those who need to learn or teach from home,” said Bryant, “We’ll also be able to meet the needs of students who may need to recuperate or quarantine from home, and we’ll be able to quickly pivot should we need to move to 100% remote learning.”
Those learning remotely (which Bryant points out includes students traveling during the school day for sports or a debate tournament) will receive synchronous learning complete with the sights and sounds of their teacher and classmates, along with full visibility to all content displayed and manipulated on the ViewSonic ViewBoard. For those that can’t sync up live, the solution provides the ability to record visual and auditory content, said Bryant.
“With our block schedule it can be difficult to catch up if a student misses even one class,” said Bryant. “With the myViewBoard and Microsoft Teams combination, they don’t have to wait to get the material second hand. Instructors can record key lesson material and make it available anytime, anywhere.”
This, he added, is a terrific tool for all students, who can use the recorded material for concept review and test prep.
The benefits for teachers are equally notable. First, said Allen, the IT team wanted to offer a solution that was easy for teachers to adapt to their instructional styles and existing toolkit.
“We wanted it to be pretty seamless for teachers. The myViewBoard software and ViewBoard displays are so intuitive they make this easy,” said Allen, adding that because it’s not a proprietary system it will be easy for the teachers to use any tools they are already using. When they walk into their classroom for the first time, everything will be setup and ready to go.
“With the setup we developed, the only thing teachers will need to do is come to class, log into Windows, launch Teams, and launch the myViewBoard software,” said Allen. “From that point they’ll already have a classroom session going within Teams and will be able to share their desktop, which is their myViewBoard whiteboard. They can easily display the myViewBoard session from within Teams as well as bounce in and out of the myViewBoard window to open a web browser, display a YouTube video or open an app. It’s all very straightforward.”
The flexible capabilities address another critical challenge for teachers during COVID-19: the strain of balancing work and family.
“If we do have to go into full distance learning,” said Allen, “teachers will be challenged by having to teach from home. With this system they can come into their classrooms and teach from their ViewBoard displays.”
The ViewBoard WoodPad tablets provide an additional level of flexibility, added Allen, by enabling instructors to interface with their myViewBoard software and develop visual materials from home, whether for advanced prep or because they are self-isolating due to potential coronavirus exposure.
Amid these uncertain times excitement is nonetheless building around the new system, said Allen.
“We had two instructors teaching summer enrichment classes using the ViewSonic ViewBoard displays,” he said. “Other teachers walked by and were mesmerized by it, then came and asked when they were getting one.”
Staff and faculty have been making the same request, leading Allen to put ViewSonic ViewBoard displays in the school’s dens and meeting spaces as well as every classroom.
“We’re all in with ViewSonic and we couldn’t be happier with this solution,” said Bryant. “Even if we never have to do hybrid or remote learning, the ViewSonic ViewBoard displays will enhance student learning and allow interactivity in new ways that we and the teachers are very excited about.”
And if distance learning is called for?
“I’m confident that we met our goal of best-in-class products that will help us deliver a top-notch learning experience whether in or out of the classroom,” Allen concluded.