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3 Stages of Smart Classrooms with Interactive Displays

  • [Teacher Tips 'N Tricks]
  • Interactive Displays for Education
  • 2021-07-30

Digital classrooms, digitally-aided education, innovative teaching. Many names exist for the big changes and stages of educational evolution that are taking place in schools all over the world. Adapting to new technology and a different set of circumstances, teachers and students now turn to educational technology more than ever to empower flexible, responsive, and adaptable classroom engagements. 

The smart classroom represents an international trend in learning, and the most effective single-purchase piece of technology schools can add to their roster is the interactive display.

Self-contained but eminently interconnected with other devices, the interactive display offers a consolidated central platform for smart classrooms. Interactive displays deliver an instant upgrade because not only are they all-in-one, they’re also very easy to use and immediately familiar to teachers and students. There’s little to no need for IT support, and that’s a big win for tech procurement. After all, lengthy training and extensive specialization very quickly offset the benefits of even the best technology. Interactive displays are ready to go out of the box, and it’s pretty much guaranteed users will get the most out of them in the near term and without a long period of adjustment. 

A model for technology adoption has been develop, referred to as SAMR. The concept of SAMR relates to dividing the tech adoption into 4 stages: Substitution, Augmentation, Midification, and Redefinition. As per this edutopia article"When switching to an online format, teachers often focus on the first two levels, which involve replacing traditional materials with digital ones". However, focusing only on the early-stage adoption means teachers are missing out on the huge potential of having tech in their classrooms.

Based on BenQ experience and knowledge sharing with customers and users, we generally observe three stages that help make sure the integration of new educational technology like interactive displays ultimately achieves optimal results:

Making the Most of Tech

Even with simple to use and intuitive tools, usage over time leads to increased proficiency. And while interactive displays can be used in many ways, they pack a lot of features and thus the more of those features are used, the greater the benefit. And also, the better the return on investment. 

Stage One: Digitally-Assisted Teaching

The most primary and basic phase, when educational technology is perhaps still new to stakeholders. Tech is used mostly in a one-way fashion, meaning teachers communicate materials to student in a very traditional manner, with little feedback from students. Materials are prepared before class, and technology is used as platform of delivery and presentation. While students may enjoy the audio-visual and multimedia nature of content delivery, this stage is overall quite passive. Educators engage in lectures, explanations, narration, and other similar teaching modes. 

Interactive displays, or interactive flat panels as they’re also known, offer an excellent vehicle for this stage. Thanks to their flexibility and ease of use, interactive panels (or IFP) can be used simply or intricately based on educator choice and preference. The ability to directly mirror content from a teacher’s laptop, tablet, or phone onto an interactive display enables the effective sharing of virtually all types of content, from videos to PowerPoint presentations. 

While perfectly legitimate, this first stage doesn’t do justice to the wealth of benefits interactive displays bring to bear. More importantly, it doesn’t do justice to your teachers and students, and so we recommend you encourage everyone to become more involved and move onward. 

teacher showing students class materials in the classroom on BenQ interactive board

Stage Two: Interactive Teaching

Taking things further, educational technology becomes important to multilateral discourse among teachers and students. This stage arises when users become more familiar with technology over time, or are proficient and comfortable with said technology from the get-go. Since interactive displays are so easy to use, it’s quite possible in your case users will enter this stage very quickly. 

With interactive teaching, educators deliver class materials and activities to all participating learners at the same time and with the same level of fidelity. In addition to being efficient, this trait helps minimize extant “digital divides” that would otherwise impede classroom success. The instant delivery offered by interactive displays makes class sessions dynamic and productive, with no delays or awkward pauses as teachers or students struggle with a mess of different tools. The all-in-one design of interactive displays precludes such a situation. 

As this stage is two-way by nature, there’s a lot of interaction and back and forth between teachers and students. Team activities, gamification of learning, Q&A sessions, open discussions and other similar modes of teaching are prevalent in this stage. Students have ample opportunity to receive and provide feedback, plus a plethora of ways to practice presentation skills. Group learning and brainstorming bolster the interactive nature of learning here, all aided by interactive displays.

Thanks to an abundance of Android apps right on the interactive display or mirrored from an external device, classes take on entirely new dimensions compared to basic digitally-aided teaching. Features like multi-touch and split screen encourage learners to come up to the board and interact with class materials directly, particularly when working with gamified platforms like Kahoot! 

students using EZWrite digital whiteboard software on BenQ Interactive Display to play in-class games

Stage Three: Innovative Teaching in Smart Classrooms

When educational technology like interactive displays truly becomes part of the landscape for teachers and students, the class takes on fully smart attributes not possible without the implementation of new technology. 

The embrace here is so complete, acquired technology proves useful for expanding the scope of learning in eclectic ways. This means more than just blended learning that includes students located beyond the classroom. Imagine the ability to hold extra-curricular activities such as virtual museum tours and presentations by guest speakers, all via the cloud and right on the interactive display.

students joining in-class Kahoot! game displayed on the BenQ interactive board with their own smartphones and tablets

Because this stage offers so many opportunities to enrich the lives of students, proficiency levels among educators and learners are very high, and so the technology becomes second nature. Stakeholders take it upon themselves to explore new topics and try new things with the tools available to them, again with a big emphasis on live content and the cloud. 

When teachers and students feel so comfortable with tech that spontaneous practice and experimentation occur, you know learning is in a good place. This stage is the most conducive to open communication, discussions, and knowledge sharing, so we recommend you aspire to bring all your stakeholders to this level. 

Because technology is so enmeshed in learning, diverse teaching styles emerge. No longer constrained by one-way communication, genuine multi-party, multi-directional engagement occurs. Cooperative learning is at its peak, and modalities tend to be of the flipped classroom variety. That is, students explore topics and complete tasks before the class, then discuss what they learned with educators to reach conclusions and share knowledge.

This is inquiry-based learning, where students are encouraged to ask questions and find their own path through queries while figuring out how to solve problems. Interactive panels form a solid foundation during this stage, thanks to integrating cloud access, video conferencing, and apps that enable curiosity-prioritizing education. 

On BenQ ClassroomCare™ interactive flat panels, students and teachers benefit from the inclusion of EZWrite and InstaShare apps. These enable collaboration and sharing with ease, whether in the classroom or remotely. 

Summary of All Three Stages of Smart Classrooms

  Digitally-Assisted Teaching Interactive Teaching Innovative Teaching in Smart Classrooms
Use of IT Equipment
Digitally-Assisted Teaching
To deliver previously prepared materials and content to students in the classroom
Interactive Teaching
To dynamically and instantly interact with students in the classroom in real time.
Innovative Teaching in Smart Classrooms
To provide immersive learning experience and extend the scope to outisde the classroom and interconnect with other resources/ people. 
Information Flow
Digitally-Assisted Teaching
One-way, teacher to students
Interactive Teaching
Two-way, between teacher and students
Innovative Teaching in Smart Classrooms
Multi-directional, between teacher, students, and external actors
Teaching Styles
Digitally-Assisted Teaching
Audiovisual: lecture, narration, demonstration, explanation
Interactive Teaching
Interactive: questioning, discussion, group activities & games, student presentations, feedback, practice
Innovative Teaching in Smart Classrooms
Immersive: cooperative learning, flipped learning, inquiry-based learning, simulation, virtual tours
Interactive Display usage
Digitally-Assisted Teaching
computer/ digital device screen mirroring, presentation, videos
Interactive Teaching
gamification, quiz, student presentation, group activities, cloud whiteboarding
Innovative Teaching in Smart Classrooms
cloud whiteboarding, video-conferencing, simulations, online collaboration

Prepare to Excel

Interactive flat panels have massive potential to revolutionize classrooms with the help of advanced digital tools. However, you need to make sure your school is prepared. To maximize the benefit gained from interactive display acquisition, you want to be at stage three, with truly smart classrooms. 

While preparing for this isn’t difficult, it should also not be taken for granted. Schools need to have good connectivity and the infrastructure that consistent cloud access needs. Curricula should also be adjusted, as purely traditional, textbook-based one-way teaching has little to gain from the addition of interactive displays. But it’s also likely to hold your learners back. 

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