It is not uncommon to see discussions about how technology can advance a classroom. Decades ago, whiteboards were replacing chalkboards and hailed as a great innovation. The addition of color to boards in classrooms has merit, but the discussion today is far more advanced. Interactive boards enable digital displays to respond to student or instructor touch. They can shift the landscape of lecture or discussion in real time, and they make multifaceted learning more accessible in classrooms.Here are just some of the ways interactive boards are helping students and teachers reach new levels of excellence.
It’s a classic scholastic scenario: the teacher asks the class a question, and everyone is too shy or embarrassed to answer. There are one or two kids who feel confident, and they tend to dominate classroom participation. One of the oldest solutions to overcoming this is to make the prospect of participating more interesting than it is embarrassing. Interactive boards are an obvious way to achieve this.A study by Smart Technologies—showed that this technology dramatically improves student participation. They take the focus away from the student answering the question and instead divert it to the attention-capturing technology on prominent display. This benefit is multiplied when teachers can use interactive displays to expand on the contributions of their students rapidly. Instead of having to embarrass a kid who struggles to write on a white or chalkboard, they can keep the focus on the content.
There are a host of studies that suggest interactive learning tools are among the most beneficial items in a classroom. The University of Wisconsin found that interactive visual aids can improve the rate of learning by as much as 200 percent. Harvard and Columbia found that retention with these tools jumps by an average of 38 percent. The Wharton School of Business saw that topics could be explained 15 percent faster without cutting information, and they measured that self-reporting students felt 20 percent more capable when utilizing interactive boards.Those numbers are very encouraging, but it’s important to ask why those improvements happen. For one, interactive boards involve additional senses. Studies have long suggested that focus- and attention-span can be improved by increasing sensory stimulation. Interactive boards can pair audio with visual aids, achieving precisely that. They are also naturally faster than traditional alternatives. Pre-rendered visuals can shift in real time and help students genuinely see what is being taught to them.
The financial benefits of interactive boards are counterintuitive. They seem expensive, and some models certainly can be. There is no question that up front, they are going to put a dent in any school’s budget. The return on this investment comes from the value they provide over the lifetime of the device. The Sharp AQUOS BOARD and Promethean Board are two clear examples of interactive tools that save money in the long run. They require virtually no maintenance or upkeep. No bulb replacements, markers, or refinishing, and after several years, they cost less than alternatives. They also stage classrooms for the adoption of additional technology. Chromebooks and tablets can easily throw their displays to these interactive boards and make it easy for multiple students to participate and collaborate within a classroom discussion.Perhaps more important than anything else, these tools reduce resource strain on teachers. Lessons incorporating the interactive boards don’t require homemade visual aids. They can also reduce the resources (like pens and paper) that students need to provide. When money is less encumbering to learning, everybody wins.It’s easy to see why educators are making the switch to interactive boards to improve educational outcomes. If you’re interested in learning more about bringing this technology into your classrooms, contact us today.