School districts all over the U.S. are preparing to spend billions in government funds allocated through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund. When Future Ed, Georgetown University’s education-focused think tank, asked educators what they think the funds should be used for, a theme emerged: teaching and learning infrastructure that helps every student succeed. Interactive smart boards, also called e-boards or interactive whiteboards, are an effective classroom technology that does just that.
Smart boards are especially well suited to hybrid and blended learning environments, so their popularity has taken off. Educators can now collaborate with students in a more engaging way, even while they’re working remotely.
What does an interactive whiteboard do?
When it comes to idea generation and collaboration in the classroom, conventional dry-erase boards are longtime staples. They’re easy to use, but they’re also clunky and inefficient at capturing information. Student workflows are also growing increasingly digital. They need collaboration tools that allow them to quickly find, mark up and share whatever they need. Interactive whiteboards digitize the process, taking the conventional dry-erase board or paper flip chart and loading it with modern educational tools. Students can write out their ideas, draw sketches and make calculations on a large visual platform that all their classmates can see — whether they’re learning in person or remotely.
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Smart boards allow teachers and students to write intuitively — with their finger, a stylus or another input device — and then save and share that content without switching devices. You can even share other internet- or server-based content. Digital whiteboards also feature audio and video support, and allow teachers and students to create slideshows that can be presented remotely.
With the Flip series — Samsung’s smart board solution for the classroom — you get the following tech capabilities:
- Integrated video conferencing solutions and an embedded web browser
- Versatile connections, including built-in Apple AirPlay and the ability to connect from any device, regardless of the OS
- Navigation with a pen-like feel and familiarity
- Support for up to 20 touch points simultaneously
- Ability to annotate on any content, then save and send annotations
- Easy storage for instructional notes and lessons
- Automatic power-on when the stylus is removed from its holder
- Versatile design that allows for easy movement and relocation
- Engaging creative tools, including watercolor and oil painting modes
Supported by these core functions, teachers can easily integrate a Flip 2 into their classroom, their lesson plans and their student workflows.
What are the advantages of an interactive smart board?
In the classroom, interactive smart boards like Samsung’s Flip 2 are primarily used for group collaboration and sharing educational materials. They help everyone feel connected and engaged, inclusive of remote or blended learning environments. And the technology is intuitive, so most students can use it without any training.
All of the work done on an interactive whiteboard can be instantly saved and stored. On the Flip 2, up to 20 pages of notes can be contained in a single document. Teachers can quickly retrieve files by scrolling or by built-in search — and they can share these files directly, by using the display to send via email, save to the cloud, download to a USB or print physical copies.
The 65-inch Flip 2 supports as many as 20 simultaneous users, each writing with their own stylus — or virtually any other writing utensil. Users can pick from digital pens and highlighters of various colors and thicknesses. The display’s user-friendly interface means teachers can install it themselves and use it without the need for technical support.
Students and teachers can connect their laptops to the smart board by USB, HDMI or DisplayPort, or use screen mirroring from their mobile devices. It’s easy to push photo and video content to the Flip to illustrate concepts and enhance classroom discussions.
The Flip’s wheeled easel allows it to swivel seamlessly between portrait and widescreen mode, so students can use the portable smart board for full-featured presentations. And teachers can move the smart board as needed, so everyone can see from where they’re sitting.
Interactive whiteboard activities for online learning
There are thousands of options and activities for teachers and students looking to get the most out of interactive whiteboards in an online learning setting. At its most basic, an interactive smart board in the classroom provides teachers with a way to display visual tools such as timers, notes, multimedia information and interactive media. The smart boards can be used to display remote student work and video feeds as well.
Teachers can use smart boards to post and share diverse types of media — pictures, charts, maps, articles, websites, graphs, music or videos — to an entire classroom or a smaller group of students. Students can use the board for collaborative brainstorming and problem solving, as well as other interactive learning opportunities like educational games.
Student research gets a huge boost with interactive whiteboards, since teachers can demonstrate how to conduct online searches and identify salient information.
While some of these activities and resources are subscription-based, there are also plenty of free interactive whiteboard resources that are grade-specific and cover core subjects such as math, history, writing, reading and science.
Must-have interactive whiteboard accessories
While the board can be used without any accessories, smart board pens, or touch pens, are extremely responsive, providing a smooth pen-on-paper feel. Other optional add-ons include erasers, cameras and risers, which allow shorter students to reach the board.
The Flip 2 series has key technology partners that connect seamlessly to Samsung’s interactive whiteboard technology:
- Native AirPlay allows teachers — and students — to stream directly from their personal Apple devices to the classroom whiteboard. No wires or set-up required. Additional connection options, such as USB, HDMI, DP and OPS, mean that any device can be connected to the Flip.
- With an embedded web browser, instructors can access the internet through the display and navigate just as if they were on a computer.
- Cisco’s Webex Room Kit Mini enables remote conferencing features in hybrid or blended learning environments, and allows teachers to incorporate virtual lessons with guest instructors. Webex on the Flip provides crisp, high-quality video and audio streaming, allowing for real-time, two-way whiteboarding with multiple participants, whether they’re in the classroom or remote.
- Logitech’s high-res meeting cameras integrate with Flip 2 displays to offer a highly intuitive solution for classrooms of all sizes, and with diverse needs. For example, the Logitech MeetUp all-in-one conference camera has an ultra-wide lens for small spaces, plus an integrated microphone and speakers.
Interactive whiteboards enable a wide range of activities that teachers can use to create more engaging lessons that get kids excited about learning. The Flip 2 represents the next step in education technology, supporting collaboration and learning for all students.
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