Teachers have always competed for their students’ attention, but that competition is now fiercer than ever. Children as young as kindergarten are able to use mobile devices, so naturally their expectations are going to be incredibly high when it comes to the technology integrated into classrooms. A chalkboard or whiteboard just doesn’t cut it anymore. Luckily, educators are now armed with more tools and collaboration technology than ever before to maintain student attention and deliver memorable lessons.
What if in physics class, for example, you could not just write out formulas, but also seamlessly use the same device to show actual video of those formulas in use, such as rocket launches? You’re not going to get that kind of engagement with a whiteboard.
Fortunately, the latest wave of collaboration technology is making it easier than ever for schools, colleges, and universities to integrate high-tech board solutions into their educational toolbox. These boards make multimedia learning as simple as buying a screen and putting it on the wall—as long as you look for an all-in-one bundle.
An all-in-one solution includes not just the device, but also a variety of software options suitable for users of any experience level. In some cases, the solution also includes a computer, so all you have to do is plug it in and go. Even technophobic professors who have yet to graduate from a chalkboard can just walk up and interact with the device with a minimal learning curve.
If you want to take things to the next level, you can seek out a model that contains an Intel Open Pluggable Specification (OPS) slot that allows you to plug in a wide variety of external devices through computer, HDbaseT, HD SDI, and tuner options. If you’re installing collaboration technology in a large classroom, for example, you can record video, plug in a projector, and display the footage of the lecture on a larger screen so everyone can see what’s happening on the board in real time. The flexible connectivity options of an OPS open additional dimensions to engaging with students, and those options allow everyone in the room an opportunity to fully experience the material no matter where they’re seated.
The most useful solutions let you install the software you need so you’re not locked down as methodologies change and as the world of education evolves. The last thing you want is to invest in a solution that will quickly become outdated—making flexibility a necessity when searching for a solution. Collaboration technology that evolves with your needs means your classrooms will never be wedged in one place while the world moves forward.
The flexibility these boards provide is almost limitless. In a college classroom where every student brings their own laptop, they can connect to the display and then send projects directly to the board. A board equipped with touch technology and the right software can allow students to then touch the project and move it around—an awe-inspiring blend of digital and analog that will profoundly connect students with lessons.
Having an easy-to-use solution maximizes the amount of staffers who can take advantage of its features and help out with day-to-day operation. In addition to ease of use, boards can be used as mobile solutions that you wheel around—turning virtually any space into one that can be used for learning.
The key to all of this is to seek out collaboration technology that delivers all of this elasticity, and the best solutions on the market do. That way, you don’t have to change your environment one bit to make the device work for you because the solution works in any environment.
After you move your classrooms into the 21st century, you never know—you might just see the campus bookstore selling miniature white boards and dry erase markers, not as dorm room accessories but as quaint souvenirs of a bygone era.
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