The Stichting Katholiek Onderwijs Volendam (SKOV) is the organization responsible for overseeing all the Catholic schools located in Volendam, Netherlands. Since SKOV’s establishment in the 1970s, its group of campuses has continued to grow, now consisting of one secondary and eight primary schools. Collectively, they have around 370 educators and support staff who teach and assist approximately 3,000 students each year.
SKOV aims to develop their students’ social and active learning skills by providing a safe and structured environment where they can explore their individual curiosities and openly discuss ideas and solve problems with their peers. In the same way, SKOV extends this culture to their educators, who they encourage to keep improving by actively sharing their experiences with their fellow teaching staff.
Information and communications technology (ICT) plays a big part in SKOV’s early learning curriculum, as they believe that the regular use of educational technologies in classrooms helps better prepare students for the future. For a number of years, teachers at SKOV’s primary schools had relied on different large touchscreen displays for lessons. Although seemingly helpful at the beginning—since their original displays allowed them to load interactive games and activities—these tools actually ended up slowing down their lessons.
One technical limitation that stood out was how their previous devices did not allow teachers and students to do two different things at the same time. Mandy Kes, 1st grade teacher at De Springplank, recalls the inflexibility: “Using other displays in the past, if I had to look up something while kids were using the screen, it would disrupt their game or whatever activity they were doing at the moment.”
SKOV knew that they needed to replace their old equipment with a more versatile high-performance solution that allowed their teachers and students to work simultaneously. On top of this, SKOV also had to consider its usability. Since they would be introducing new educational technology to all their primary schools, teachers would have to adjust by learning how to operate a completely different interactive display. Their new devices had to be easy to understand so that teachers could use them right away.
“BenQ Boards allow students to learn on their own or with groups... That’s what education is all about.”
SKOV needed a touchscreen solution with a fast processor and 4K image quality. After an extensive search, they acquired several units of the BenQ Board Master, not only because the boards matched their required hardware specifications, but also because the BenQ Boards have innovative teaching features that other displays failed to offer. SKOV’s teaching staff were particularly impressed with the EZWrite whiteboard and the InstaShare wireless screen sharing software.
“I often use Team Post,” says Willemijn Veerman, who teaches 8th graders at De Springplank. “You can split EZWrite into three so students can work side-by-side,” she explains. Using Team Post, Veerman is able to host fun problem-solving activities with the kids. She would normally provide a math question on the board and let her kids compete to see who can solve the problem the fastest.
Kes, who is fond of InstaShare, notes how wireless screen sharing has given her classes the flexibility that they once lacked. Before, when her kids wanted to present something, they had to take turns on their old screen. But now, with InstaShare, they are able to show content simultaneously. “In one of the activities, I let the kids walk around with their tablets so they can take pictures and easily share them on the display… This keeps the kids highly engaged,” she says.
What also made a great difference for SKOV is the continued training and support BenQ offers. Because of the biannual training sessions, teachers were able to fully utilize the BenQ Board’s more advanced features. Teachers like Veerman and Kes are able to record their lessons as instructional materials for their colleagues. “We also use [the BenQ Board] to train teachers here. It’s so easy to share content,” says Kes.
The BenQ Board has opened up multiple possibilities for the teachers at SKOV. No longer hampered by hardware and software limitations, they are continuously finding new ways to improve their lessons by incorporating their BenQ Boards’ many features. Veerman, for example, is using BenQ Board’s timer to pace her lesson activities. “[It’s] very convenient because you can always put it in front so no matter what presentation you’re showing on screen, the timer is always there, in full view of the kids. It tells them how long they still need to work,” she says.
“The kids enjoy having the BenQ Board. They know how to use it on their own,” observes Kes. She notes how, even with very minimal instructions, it’s natural for her students to just walk up to the board and start using it to draw pictures, play videos and games, and share their work. “BenQ Boards allow students to learn on their own or with groups… That’s what education is all about.”