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As higher education institutions extend their remote learning programs and limit in-person classes due to COVID-19, Google Jamboard — distributed exclusively by BenQ — creates an online education experience that resembles in-person collaboration and information exchange. Indika Rajapakse, Ph.D., associate professor of computational medicine and bioinformatics, mathematics, and biomedical engineering at the University of Michigan, chose Jamboard because it’s integrated with the Google for Education and Google Meet applications right out of the box. Its built-in wide-angle HD camera, microphone, and speakers eliminate the complexity of having to operate separate devices to launch video conferences and annotate.
“Learning comes from writing, not memorizing slides, which is why you need to be able to engage students while you're teaching,” said Rajapakse. “That happens when they see you work through problems, or even see where mistakes are commonly made. With Jamboard, I could do that like I would in class. I didn’t have to think about or learn Jamboard’s features because I already use them. In fact, I teach about Google network, how the search engine works, and Google’s PageRank algorithm.”
Once the Jamboard was mounted on Rajapakse’s office wall, the all-in-one interactive display’s built-in and familiar cloud-based Google Workspace applications allowed him to get started right away. To hold classes, he simply launches the Google Meet right from the screen or taps a link on his Google Calendar. Using the whiteboard feature, Rajapakse is able to demonstrate how to solve math problems like he would if he were in the classroom. With a tap on screen, he can seamlessly switch between video conferencing and the whiteboard. Jamboard allows for 16 points of simultaneous touch, with the option to use a finger or the included stylus to work through problems. When he makes mistakes, he simply wipes them away using the Jamboard eraser. He also can search for graphics and images online to incorporate into his session on the fly, creating dynamic, timely material that helps students better comprehend information and commit it to memory.
With expenditures in excess of $1 billion, research is central to U-M’s mission and permeates all 19 schools and colleges. U-M is a strong advocate of promoting collaboration and interdisciplinary research initiatives that involve faculty and students from across campus.
His students are able to watch the entire process in real-time. What’s more, he can invite students to work on-screen within Meet, the Jamboard app, Chrome browser, or from another Jamboard. After class, he shares the session with students to review and study via Google Workspace cloud sharing capabilities, going beyond the chalkboard experience that is highly coveted in higher education mathematics departments.
Since installing the Jamboard, Rajapakse reports that his students have completely embraced the collaborative learning experience. He also uses the display in his research and lab work on the immune system and its impact on learning with the hope to possibly create novel forms of machine learning. He can meet with colleagues across the world, share ideas, and work through theories.
“Professors teaching online need technology that is simple, effective, and most importantly, reinforces the material,” said Penny Su, business unit director, Google Jamboard & Enterprise Collaboration Solutions for BenQ America Corp. “Google Jamboard was built from the ground up to complement the way instructors and students naturally collaborate and operate in real life. Dr. Rajapakse’s installation is a great illustration of how instructors can use the same Google tools that they’ve trusted for more than 14 years to create a successful, engaging online learning experience.”