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

Interactivity in your class’s hands: Why touchscreens are the next big thing

Interactivity in your class’s hands: Why touchscreens are the next big thing

If there’s one thing that I’m convinced of, it’s that multitouch technology is far easier to pick up for children than it is for adults. 

We’re already seeing it in the classroom (research has shown that 47% of schools are now trialling or using iPad) and more than ever we are seeing it in daily life; I recently found myself at an exhibition about space in a room full of six and seven year-olds who all expected to be able to move the stars around on screen with their fingers – much to their disappointment, they couldn’t.

It’s not surprising then that, at this year’s BETT show, giant interactive touchscreen displays were one of the hottest topics. Best thought of as giant tablets or TVs with multitouch technology, they proved a hit with teachers because they open up interactivity and collaboration in a way that’s not previously been available. On a basic level, they improve engagement letting pupils physically interact with a subject, but the learning benefits go far beyond that…

What exactly is an interactive touchscreen?

The best way to describe an interactive touchscreen is a giant iPad that can be either wall-mounted or used flat on the desk. You get all the same visual functionality as you do on an iPad – an HD screen for streaming video and images and built-in speakers make them ideal for presenting to the class.

And the multitouch aspect also means they’re ideal for letting pupils get hands on with activities too – using simple finger touch, they can intuitively interact with programs onscreen. As well as encouraging pupil interaction and group activities, teachers can also lead the class from the front, or even get pupils to connect wirelessly with their mobile devices to get involved with activities.

What are the learning benefits of interactive touchscreens?

Touchscreens are perfect for making sure you’re targeting 21st century learning skills. They’ll improve collaboration, boost critical thinking and problem solving, and can be used with all the great content that teachers and pupils have already prepared. The main benefits include:

Greater increase in pupils’ attention

Pupils are naturally drawn to touchscreens, and the interactivity really helps them engage with subjects. If you have pupils with a short attention span who struggle to engage with topics, touchscreen displays can help. Up to four students can use them at one time, so there’s less chance to switch off as they’re engaged in learning full time.

Better collaboration between pupils and with the teacher

Set pupils a group challenge and they can use the display to complete it – for example, a simple jigsaw puzzle that they would normally complete themselves can be turned into a group activity. Another option is for pupils to use iPhone or iPad to connect the display for mirroring (displaying their iPad screen on the touchscreen) and annotation.

Reduced replacement costs and better visibility

Unlike a data projector, a touchscreen uses an LED screen rather than a lamp. That means you won’t find yourself having to replace costly projector bulbs when they come to the end of their life (to put it in perspective, the approximate life of a touchscreen like the CTOUCH before any element needs replacing is put at 15 years, or 45000 hours!). It also means there are no shadows obscuring your work as you walk in front of the screen!

Increased class attendance

We’ve had great feedback from our schools who say they have integrated innovative technologies like touchscreens with a 1:1 iPad scheme, and it has actually increased attendance levels because the pupils have been so engaged with the technology.

How could we use touchscreen?

One use we really like for interactive touchscreens is collaborative storytelling. For example, you could get a small group of pupils to work together to plan a story and write it by dragging and dropping images, video and other elements into the plan. Because up to four pupils can be working on a touchscreen at once, it means everyone gets to join in and interact with the process, and annotate sections with thoughts and ideas.

Jigsaw24’s top pick: the CTOUCH!

HD display. From 47” right up to a whopping 84”, the CTOUCH’s antiglare screen gives a great picture, even in the brightest classrooms.

Multitouch functionality. There’s no need to hold a stylus – the CTOUCH’s screen works with the touch of a finger, and supports up to four pupils.

Built-in speakers. With 20W speakers included, you get great sound quality, or the additional Sound Bar gives enhanced surround sound.

Mobile device connectivity. Connect iPad and iPod with included Smoothboard Air software for displaying iPad screens and annotation.

Adjustable trolley. Fully height-adjustable for all students, including those in wheelchairs. This means smaller screens are just as usable, and can be wheeled to wherever they’re needed.

Budget check: CTOUCH interactive touch screens range from £2730 for the smallest 47” model up to £13,194 for the 84” option. See the full range of CTOUCH options here.

Want to know more about how touch screens could help in your classroom? Give us a call on 03332 409 333 or email learning@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and recommendations, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.