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Interactive Displays and Open Educational Resources Upgrade the Learning Experience

Digital display technologies like interactive whiteboards are powerful tools for educators, enabling collaborative lessons and providing instant access to open educational resources (OERs) — a vast, free library of teaching materials.

The E-Board Benefit

E-boards, like the portable Samsung Flip solution and wall-mounted interactive whiteboard solutions, offer the basics of old-school chalkboards and dry-erase marker boards but add a huge range of additional capabilities. Educators can create highly visual presentations on the touch display, opening files and running multimedia, while at the same time adding notes on the screen. The interactive screens allow several students to come up and work at a screen simultaneously.

The base technology for these interactive screens has been around since the early 1990s, but today’s interactive boards offer far more capabilities. Samsung Flip, for example, has all-in-one touch solutions and runs off an embedded computing device, negating the need and cost of an external PC.

These e-boards enable teachers to reach students in different ways, depending on their level and learning style. While many students are auditory learners, others thrive on the visual cues of text, images and video — and still, others work best with a hands-on approach.

Samsung Flip is intuitive and easy to use, for both students and teachers:

  • It can be mounted on a wheeled stand and easily moved around the classroom or between rooms;
  • You can write and draw with virtually any writing tool
  • The menus are simple to navigate, whether changing pen color, or connecting a laptop or tablet

Perhaps the biggest benefit over chalkboards or marker-pen whiteboards is that all that classroom activity can be saved, stored, printed and shared. What happens at the front of a class is no longer an erasable moment in time, but a living document that can be revisited, refined and expanded.

Overall, these boards can make lessons more interactive, fun and engaging for students. They also enable teachers to structure their lessons, and make tasks like reviews and revisions more convenient because work is saved digitally and can be easily referred back to and edited.

Open Educational Resources: Putting E-Boards to Work

OERs provide a vast, near-endless library of materials for educators. Education budgets may be tightening in many school districts, but tools like interactive displays, combined with open resources, mean a world of knowledge can still be at the fingertips of teachers and students.

These educational materials are in the public domain and have open licenses. That means they are legally free to educators and students to download, copy, use, modify and re-share. OER material varies from full online textbooks to lecture notes and assignments, and handy project resources like images, videos and animations.

The US National Science Digital Laboratory, for example, has a huge OER collection across scores of categories.

A good starting point for finding and using all this open material is OER Commons, which from a single entry point gets educators exposure and access to a collection of more than 50,000 open resources.

There are also organized resources that focus on interactive teaching. Sites such as Topmarks provide free-to-use educational materials specifically tuned to e-boards and other interactive whiteboard technologies. Topmarks provides lesson plans for teachers, suggested activities and even points to things like homework help.

The core idea behind OERs is to reduce educational barriers — like costs, formats and languages — and ensure teachers have access and legal rights to a huge wealth of materials that they can use to bolster their lesson plans and better engage their students. In addition, OERs allow teachers to share learning materials with one another across the globe, saving time on lesson planning and introducing new perspectives.

Because all of this material either started as digital, or has been converted to enable online access and distribution, interactive displays are the optimal medium teachers can use for this material. They can directly engage students and encourage collaboration on a big screen, allow access to locally stored and online files, and make it possible to save, store and share work.

With this combination of smart classroom technology and open educational resources, educators finally have the tools to bring their best learning ideas to life.

Learn about more ways you can incorporate digital technology into your classroom by checking out our full line of educational technology solutions.

Posts By

Dave Haynes

Dave Haynes is a well-known veteran in the digital signage industry. He consults to some of the world’s largest brands on their digital signage strategy and technical needs, but also spends time mentoring start-ups. A former daily newspaper journalist, Haynes has for the past decade written a highly-respected blog about digital signage, Sixteen:Nine. Follow Dave on twitter @sixteennine

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