Touch screen technology is now commonplace in many classrooms. Recent research claims that around 47% of schools are trialling or using iPad in lessons, and whether students are using touch technology in class or not, there’s no denying that the smartphones in their pockets are leaving them wondering why you ever needed buttons to make a call.
Slowly but surely, the technology at the front of the classroom is starting to catch up. Ten years ago, an interactive whiteboard seemed like something from a sci-fi film, but now we’re facing a future where the whiteboard is being replaced by something entirely new.
Interactive touch screen displays and multitouch surfaces are a far more advanced way of getting a class engaged. Best thought of as a giant tablet or a TV with touch technology, they open interactive learning up to the whole class, increasing engagement, involvement and collaboration. From class presentations to group work, they integrate collaborative ICT into the classroom to an unprecedented level, and for a similar price to a standard interactive whiteboard and projector.
Touch technology has been proven to help engage students; interacting with the technology improves engagement with the subject, and makes learning a more meaningful experience. We’re seeing it with iPad, where the introduction of interactive mobile technology on a one-to-one basis is helping improve attainment, and a recent study in the US even saw the maths test results of students who used interactive textbooks over standard paper copies rise by 20%.
In many ways, this boost in attainment is helped along by the rise of interactive touch technology for personal use. Students are used to, and are familiar with, using devices that have multi-touch functionality, and in some cases they are, let’s be honest, far more comfortable with them than adults.
This visually rich learning experience creates an environment that feels familiar to many students and makes it all the more appealing. In fact, such is the appeal of touch that it has been suggested that the technology can even increase attendance levels. Schools that have successfully integrated touch into their classes have seen attendance levels increase because students have engaged with the technology far more than traditional teaching methods – especially when combined with 1:1 device schemes.
But what about practical uses? One of the biggest benefits is collaboration between students and with the teacher. On a basic level, students can be given group challenges such as doing a puzzle – this is particularly useful if the display is being used as a multitouch surface. You can usually have four students at a time using the display which, as well as being great for developing their skills at working together, means students not using the display don’t have to wait as long as if they were using it individually.
To really get the most from interactive displays, though, let students work together to complete a mindmap on a topic. Interacting with video, images, documents and animations, they can plan and conceptualise, then share the information with other class members. Take a look below for some lesson ideas from the team.
Practically speaking, it’s not always going to be possible for students to work in small groups around the display, but that doesn’t mean there’s no chance for interaction. While most interactive displays can double up as a whiteboard, one of their major advantages is that teachers can lead the lesson as they usually would but open up the technology to students using mobile devices, allowing them to interact and share resources.
The CTOUCH that we have recommended below, for example, uses software called Smoothboard Air that lets iPhone and iPad connect to the display so that students can annotate content, or mirror their own device’s screen if they want to share a video or other video resource. Students just need to scan a QR code on their device and they can chip in during lessons, sharing things they have found (don’t worry, teachers stay in complete control assigning permissions to participants as needed!).
We recommend… CTOUCH
The CTOUCH range is a great choice if you want to improve interactivity and collaboration. With different mounting options (upright for presentations or a flat surface for group work) and wheels which make them easy to move between classrooms, they are a flexible option for schools. They come with Ctools Plus (digital whiteboard software) and Smoothboard Air (mobile device connection when using Windows 8).
CTOUCH is available for £1994 (£2392.80 inc VAT) for a 47″ display. Give us a call on 03332 409 218 for more information or to arrange a demo with one of our education team.