By: Luis Gaitan, Computer Teacher
In May 2021 Learning Prep hosted a fundraising event, the Silver Linings event. A school-wide movement to highlight and create perspective on the many positive changes that last year may have brought upon everybody. Our way of life was changed by the Covid-19 Pandemic, but among those changes, new seeds were planted along the way that germinated into messages of hope, and the importance of family and community. With this in mind the Silver Linings event raised funds for a new technological upgrade at Learning Prep, the purchase of 18 Newline Interactive Displays!
Interactive Displays are becoming more common in the classrooms. In essence these are big touch screen TVs, but these TVs are not just there to watch the football game on Sundays, they instead are pre-programmed with different applications and widgets to help teachers and students interact with classroom materials in the Digital Age. During the height of the pandemic, schools had to adjust on the go to the new challenges of remote learning, or hybrid classrooms. New methods and workflows had to be learned by students and staff; zoom links, google classrooms, Chromebook maintenance, how to engage a class remotely. All of the sudden, teachers had to forgo the typical whiteboard and markers, and translate it to Jamboards and Kahoot. But now that we are a little bit back to normal with students and teachers in the classroom, could there be a way to get the best of both worlds, the digital and the physical? That’s where the Newline Interactive Displays at Learning Prep School come in!
These displays allow teachers to be able to write on the touchscreen, just like a whiteboard, while also broadcasting what they are writing or teaching to every student’s device, or even enable students to participate remotely by letting them mirror their device screens. All of this is made possible by the 75’’ touch screen display, making it possible for anyone to be able to see what the teacher is writing no matter the distance, or their physical location.
However, the most important part of these displays is the ability to address all learning styles from one device. Teachers can now zoom in so that students can see the notes clearly, without ever running out of space on the board. With the swipe of the finger teachers can now pull up video platforms like Youtube for the class to watch, stop the video, and then annotate on top of video and send the screenshot with the annotation for the students to review later. The touch screen is able to handle 20 points of contact independently, making it possible for group activities to be more interactive and dynamic. Allowing students to pull up pictures from the internet and paste them on the interactive whiteboard with a few clicks, all while classmates collaborate by writing notes or drawing on the same board. Nothing is better than to see students interacting with these boards and immediately see the smiles on their faces and those big bright eyes of “Aha! I can do this here!”.
We are truly excited here at Learning Prep to implement the displays in all of the classrooms, and cannot wait to see what new methods, and student works, become possible with this new technology. This is truly an essential step for the future of our classrooms and students' education. A step that would have not been possible without the amazing effort, and kindness of the Learning Prep Community!