Key multitouch software for education

Key multitouch software for education

We’ve all heard that touchscreens are great for collaborative, student-led learning, but what can they actually do? Andy Cain explains key multitouch software…

Working with schools to implement multitouch screens, I’ve seen some fantastic learning outcomes, including increased peer-led learning and feedback, better student engagement and a rise in on-task behaviour, as no one’s ever left waiting for ‘their turn’ to work.

However, many teachers are nervous about adopting the technology because – unlike tablet devices, which run apps that you can download and trial at home – multitouch tools are a bit of mystery until you get your hands on one of the screens.

Obviously, the best way to get over this hump is to arrange a demo or get a sample screen to a TeachMeet so that staff can try it out (give me a call on the number below to arrange a demo, by the way). But until you have time to try one out, I thought I’d try and demystify the key tools included with one of our most popular ranges,Clevertouch screens.

Snowflake Multiteach

Let’s start with the pre-made stuff. Snowflake Multiteach is an excellent collection of pre-built fun activities that encourage students to learn by making use of the Clevertouch’s interactive features. Activities cover everything from maths and literacy to geography and biology, to music.

As well as being a subtle way to improve your class’s hand-eye co-ordination, these apps are great for engaging different types of learner and teaching content in a range of ways to ensure the message hits home for everyone. You can customise the pre-made activities for different levels of ability, or make your own activities using Clevertouch’s software (I promise you don’t have to code anything).

Top tips to save time/make you sound clever when you finally meet a demo screen: apps can be categorised for easy reference, then accessed by swiping left to right on the screen. You can also divide the screen into two (so that students can compete or carry out independent activities at the same time) by clicking on the Zones icon and then just selecting your preferred layout.

CleverLynx

Next up is this fully-featured annotation application that allows you and your students to annotate over any type of document – if you’ve ever used SMART Notebook or Active Inspire, you’ll feel right at home, and will be wielding its multiple pens, brushes, highlighters, shapes and lines in no time.

The software installs on a Windows PC that connects to your touchscreen, and
every screen comes with five perpetual licences, so you won’t have to pay for
software subscriptions. Once it’s up and running, you can choose from its vast library of hi-res imagery (maps, buildings, people, animals and food all feature heavily) or drag and drop images from Google,which can be accessed without leaving CleverLynx.

Once you and the students have annotated to your hearts’ content, you can use screen capture to save the lesson’s work for revision or assessment. Much easier than keeping track of worksheets.

CleverNote

If you order an Android-based Clevertouch screen, you’ll get a model with the CleverNote annotation application included, so you can just turn it on and start scribbling. It allows you to annotate anything on screen – you can brainstorm, paint and import pictures to add notes to.

As CleverNote is incredibly simple to use and doesn’t require your screen be attached to a computer, there’s very little risk of failure or damage, meaning it’s a great app to let students use in their free time. Anything they work on can be emailled straight from the screen, saved to its built-in memory or to a USB stick.

Because this application doesn’t require a computer, it’s great if you want your screen to be trolley-mounted and mobile, and supply teachers can just upload their lesson content via USB stick and crack on – even if school laptops and computers are down.

DisplayNote

DisplayNote allows you to wirelessly connect your tablet to the touchscreen to deliver presentations, or mirror the content onscreen to students’ tablet devices. Students can view and capture slides and pages, then collaborate with one another and the teacher in realtime – you can even give them access to the Clevertouch screen to add animations from their tablets.

Like the straightforward annotation apps, you can import any document or image and share instantly. You can also see at a glance which students are actively adding content, check their screens on your own, send them individual messages or pause a student’s access to DisplayNote if you think they’re up to something. And as every Clevertouch screen comes with ten perpetual licences, you don’t have to worry about subscription fees.

For more information, call 03332 409 290 or email education@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and FAQs, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Jigsaw24 ask the experts: Wacom Cintiq 27QHD Touch

Jigsaw24 ask the experts: Wacom Cintiq 27QHD Touch

In this edition of our not-at-all-regular feature, we ask award-winning boudoir and burlesque photographer (and proud Wacom user) Tigz Rice nine niggling questions about the Wacom Cintiq 27QHD, and finally learn why this model comes with a remote. 

Over the course of six highly educational minutes, Tigz gets down to the brass tacks of Wacom Cintiq 27QHD ownership, explaining why she’s pro new features like the edge to edge display, ExpressKeys being on a remote (one of our lot was baffled by this, but it does actually make sense), and the motivational benefits of opting for the touch-enabled version.

Want to know more about the Wacom range? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email wacom@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Tablets for giants? We look at interactive touch screen displays

Tablets for giants? We look at interactive touch screen displays

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.

Interactive touch screen display in use

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 47" display

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.

 

First Look: Wacom Cintiq 24HD touch hands-on review

First Look: Wacom Cintiq 24HD touch hands-on review

After Wacom announced the Cintiq 24HD touch, we called them straight away and put in a request for a demo unit that we could put through its paces. Here, we let the Jigsaw24 design deparment loose on it to find out just how good the new multitouch technology really is. They answer questions such as “What’s your favourite multiouch gesture?”, “Could you see yourself using it day-to-day?” and “Does it recognise your cold, bloodless fingers?”

To find out more about Jigsaw24 and our design and publishing services, visit our design and publishing site or call 03332 409 306. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.