South Dakota-based substitute teacher Elizabeth Campbell, like many substitutes, has been in high demand during the COVID-19 pandemic. She’s frequently been filling in for teachers whose absences were unplanned due to COVID-19 infections or exposure to the virus, meaning they usually weren’t able to put together or share lesson plans ahead of time.

Thankfully, the districts she works in have smart boards, so the teachers can instantly share their class materials with Campbell by accessing the board remotely — and her lessons proceed without a hitch.

This is just a single example of the many advantages of interactive whiteboards over normal blackboards or whiteboards. The technology, which is becoming more widely adopted in schools across the country, has also been proven to help students stay engaged with their schoolwork.

Today, tools that help teachers capture and keep students’ attention are invaluable. An October 2021 study by Education Week and Editorial Projects in Education (EPE) found that “declining student engagement was seen as the top educational challenge of 2020.” A more recent Education Week study from December 2021 shows that student engagement issues persist today, with low student engagement being “the most widespread problem teachers pointed to as an impediment to helping students reach grade level, with 68 percent of respondents citing it.”

Smart boards — also called interactive whiteboards or e-boards — improve the learning experience while making teachers’ lives better. They allow teachers and students to learn collaboratively, share files, access online resources and use educational software.

Here are five of the top uses of smart boards in teaching and learning, and how they can benefit every student.

1. Boost student engagement

Today’s K-12 students are digital natives, and researchers say they learn better because of it.

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One researcher found that smart boards “increased student engagement, increased peer collaboration, and strengthen[ed] comprehension.” With smart boards like the Samsung Interactive Pro, teachers can create more dynamic lessons by writing or typing on screen, calling attention to certain topics with highlights, circles, arrows or zooming in — and sharing multimedia content such as videos, webpages, presentations and images. The smart board can even be divided into multiple sections so more than one student can work on it at once.

2. Accommodate different learning styles

Whether a child is a visual learner, an auditory learner or kinesthetic (hands-on) learner, an interactive whiteboard benefits them all. Visual learners get the benefit of a 4K UHD screen — such as the one on Samsung’s interactive whiteboards — while auditory learners can listen to multimedia content, and hands-on learners can come up to the board and write on it with a stylus, or even with their finger. Educators can use the smart board for teaching small groups, organized by learning style, or one-on-one with individual students.

3. Save, share and send lessons

Even before COVID-19, K-12 teachers were spending some of their time creating packets for students who were out sick. But now, teachers can use a smart board to take screenshots of their lessons, instantly saving them and sending them to the whole class and any colleagues who may need them. The content options are limitless: Teachers can save their own notes so they can pick right up where they left off, or they can create review materials for students to study with at home. This is especially beneficial for students who are trailing their peers, since they no longer have to struggle to keep up with the pace of the lesson and take notes in real time. If they miss something, they can easily refer back to the lesson in their own time.

Smart board startup is easy at the beginning of the day — just turn on and go. And at the end of the day, teachers can turn off the board without needing to erase anything or take physical notes about what they covered.

4. Bring the classroom to everyone

Whether some or all of the class is learning remotely, smart boards make it easier for teachers to include these students via videoconference technology. There’s no need to set up any special cameras. Students at home can see everything the teacher is doing and interact with their peers, too. This not only enables hybrid learning, it encourages it.

5. Help students succeed

A study out of Ataturk University proved that students who learned via an interactive whiteboard did significantly better on standardized tests than those who did not use the technology. The same study points out that “visual materials, paintings, symbols and screen designs facilitate learning and increase permanence in learning.” Another study linked achievement on the Ohio Achievement Reading Tests to use of interactive whiteboards, across all grade levels.

Given all the ways interactive boards enhance the learning experience, school districts that invest in smart boards are investing in their students.

Discover Samsung’s full lineup of interactive signage, designed for flexible learning and engaging collaboration. And see how educators can create an inclusive learning environment with the right display technology in this free guide.

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Karen Stealey

Karen J. Stealey is a veteran business, health, lifestyle and technology journalist with a wide range of publishing experience. Her tech and business work has appeared in Forbes, BusinessWeek Online, Adweek, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, MyBusiness Magazine, Government Computer News, Workforce Management, CFO, Crain's New York and Crain's BtoB.

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