CGK International School pursues their IB goals with BenQ Boards
  • BenQ
  • 2024-06-06

About the School

The CGK International School, based in Yokohama, Japan is in the process of expanding. Opened in 2016, the relatively new school is already a candidate for the International Baccalaureate® Primary Years Programme (IB PYP) and is in the process of becoming a full-fledged IB World School. With an experienced, culturally diverse teaching staff and their inquiry-based approach to education, they are able to offer holistic learning experiences that foster self-expression and critical thinking.

CGK is set to expand their campus to gradually accommodate middle and high school students within the next five years. This meets their long-term mission to build up independent, life-long learners who are prepared to face an increasingly global world.

The Challenge

For their first few years, the school operated using mostly traditional whiteboards and projectors for their classes. This setup had served them well for a time until it eventually became cumbersome, especially for their afterschool classes.

“We had a huge whiteboard on wheels, and we had a projector screen, and we had a table, and we had a projector, and we had speakers, and it was cables…” recalls Dan Hustwick, CGK’s afterschool head teacher. Having too many components and wires to set up before class was not only time-consuming, but according to Hustwick, it also posed safety concerns. In afterschool classrooms, children were always moving around and were prone to snagging cables or bumping into the devices, which were normally situated in the middle of the room.

On top of this, Hustwick also noted issues with visibility: “It’s hard to see. In a daylight classroom scenario, the kids struggle to see [what’s projected on screen].”

The staff at CGK also needed teaching solutions that gave them better flexibility than what their old projectors offered. According to Darby Brooks, CGK’s elementary school principal and IB PYP coordinator, they wanted to give the teachers a solution that would let them just walk into any classroom and start their lessons without having to use a laptop.

“Everything’s just here. It’s super convenient.”

BenQ Solutions

CGK decided to acquire a number of BenQ Boards for their school after seeing how it met all their requirements.

For Hustwick, he immediately noticed the difference in the brightness of the screens. “[It’s] a thousand times brighter,” he quips. He also notes how the board consolidates all the tools they need into one device. Compared to their previous setup with all the additional peripherals, they would now be able to present content, whiteboard, and play audio and video files directly from a single all-in-one device that can be safely mounted on a wall. “Everything’s just here,” says Hustwick. “It’s super convenient.”

Brooks says that with the BenQ Board, any teacher could walk into any room empty handed and they would still be able to teach. “Having the built-in apps, especially the built-in browser essentially makes the BenQ Board another device in the classroom, so if I need to use the internet and I forget my computer, I can do it through the BenQ Board, which is really flexible, especially when you have teachers moving into different classrooms.”

“One advantage of the BenQ Boards for IB [is how it allows] students to interact… and help them start their inquiry.”

But more than these, Brooks notes how the BenQ Board allows them to facilitate inquiry-based teaching and learning, which is the core tenet of the IB program. She explains: “To start the lesson, there does have to be some presentation from the teacher, but it needs to be done in a way that encourages the students to follow their own inquiry… I think one advantage of the BenQ Boards for IB [is how it allows] students to interact with the initial presentation and help them start their inquiry.”

Another strong draw-in that led the CGK staff to pick the BenQ Board over other options is the EZWrite whiteboard and how it allows teachers to keep building on their initial lesson.

“Being able to create presentations, save them, and very, very easily call them back up later, I can see that really working for units of inquiry,” says Brooks, “Where you start learning over one lesson, and then you need to continue it over days and potentially weeks, so that functionality was really important.”

The Results

“The kids love the BenQ Board,” says preschool teacher Renae Fukuda, who explains how it lets her use multimedia to get her students excited to learn. Previously, she had to prepare several printouts and other physical resources for her lessons. Now, she can just access everything directly on the board.

“Instead of having pieces of paper to show children photos, I can use the BenQ Board. With music as well, I can save all the music I want to use on the board, which makes it very quick and easy to access… When you’re teaching preschool, that time saving really helps,” she says.

“The kids love the BenQ Board.”

“The board has the flexibility that I can draw the shapes that I need,” says Stephen Martin, an elementary homeroom teacher who has found EZWrite’s geometry tools particularly useful. “One of the things we’re studying at the moment are the angles within a triangle… [The students] like to do crazy triangles… I use the BenQ Board to draw the triangles and then I use the protractor to demonstrate how students can measure the angles,” he says.

Even small features like AI handwriting recognition make a big difference. “For me, personally, my handwriting is terrible, so being able to write by hand, encircle it, and [have EZWrite convert] the text… my students really appreciate that,” says Brooks.

Overall, she notes that the experience with BenQ Boards and BenQ itself has been nothing but positive, saying how BenQ representatives have been accommodating even for questions about how to utilize some board features. “They’ve been available for questions. They do check in. It’s been fantastic. Zero complaints.”

Related products

EDLA BenQ Board Pro | RP04
Google EDLA BenQ Board Pro | RP04
BenQ Board Pro RP04 is a powerful Google EDLA-certified smart board, offering the top-tier protection for your eyes, classroom air quality, and guards against germs.

Contact Sales

Learn more

EDLA BenQ Board Master | RM04 Series (RM6504, RM7504, RM8604)
Google EDLA BenQ Board Master | RM04
BenQ Board Master RM04 is an innovative Google EDLA-certified smart board featuring low blue light, flicker-free technology, and defense against germs.

Contact Sales

Learn more

BenQ Board Essential | RE03A Series (RE6503A, RE7503A, RE8603A)
BenQ Board Essential | RE03A
BenQ Board Essential RE03A provides all essential teaching tools at your fingertips, offering reliable performance, basic germ resistance, and cost-effective value.

Contact Sales

Learn more