There’s never been a better time to create a connected digital classroom.

The last few years shed a harsh light on our existing digital divide. Almost 30% of all American students lack adequate internet or devices at home. In fact, Purdue University reports that the digital divide is the greatest threat to “community economic development in the 21st century.”

At the same time, several studies show the benefits of a digital classroom. For instance, one researcher found that student engagement went up after the use of interactive displays — a critical component of any connected classroom. They also increase peer collaboration and strengthen comprehension, according to the report.

Vision also accounts for about 66% of our brain activity, therefore incorporating visual elements via interactive displays (also called smart boards) can help to create more inclusive learning environments.

The bottom line is technology helps educators improve collaboration, communication, and creativity.

The writing is on the board

So, what exactly is a connected classroom? A connected classroom is a learning environment that allows both educators and students to engage with content and interact with each other. It’s a supportive, collaborative space that amplifies the incredible work being done in education every day through the effective use of educational technology. And, when designed and executed correctly, it can make an educator’s job easier by being able to use their preferred instructional tools, thus creating a fresh redefinition of their students’ experiences.

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There are various technologies within a successful connected digital classroom. In addition to interactive displays, a connected digital classroom requires input devices. This can include laptops, desktops, tablets, and other devices including student- and teacher-owned smartphones and tablets. All of these devices can be used to collaborate in real time with anyone in the classroom or in a remote setting, as well as interact with a wide range of media, curriculum, files, and web-based content.

Newer technology such as the Samsung DeX software allows educators to extend their smartphone or tablet to the interactive whiteboard so they can move throughout the classroom and maintain control of the board. By connecting a tablet or smartphone to a Samsung Interactive Display using DeX, teachers can create a powerful classroom experience. Educators can access any educational app in the Android Play Store or use it as a webcam, microphone, document scanner, and presentation tool.

Students can also interact using a connected interactive flat panel display via SmartView+ and AirPlay, which allow students to cast their own devices onto an interactive display — making collaboration a regular part of the school day.

Reaching every student

The ability for every student to participate in the classroom is one of the key benefits of having a digital ecosystem. Students and educators gain tremendous value from a digitally enabled classroom.

Every learning style is supported

The connected classroom meets students wherever they are. Technology — especially smart boards — can be used as assistive classroom components.

One in five kids has learning and attention disorders, including dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and one in 10 students are learning English as a second language (not to mention the millions of students who have other learning, physical or emotional disabilities). Teachers need a complete tool kit in order to reach them in the most meaningful ways.

Using a smart interactive whiteboard to display additional multimedia can remove learning obstacles for students with learning challenges who require additional support. Students with differing fine motor skills can leverage the interactive display by writing with their finger or a tennis ball.

Teachers aren’t tied to the front of the classroom

A connected classroom lets teachers move seamlessly between devices and screens whether they are at their desk or standing in the back of the classroom. Hogg New Tech Center, an elementary school in Dallas, Texas, is using the Samsung Flip Interactive Display to make it easier for teachers to incorporate technology into their daily classwork — without the need to set anything up or manually connect to a device or projector.

Increased support for remote learning

Having a connected classroom allows teachers to reach students who can’t be in the classroom, and gives them the opportunity to engage with classmates who aren’t in the same room. This means that a campus music teacher can send a notification to the classroom via the display, for example, even if they aren’t in the building.

Limitless access to educational experiences and resources

Teachers can use interactive whiteboards such as the Samsung Interactive Display, which features an Android operating system, to connect to the internet, bringing audio, applications, video, and other web content directly to students. Educators can integrate this content with the existing curriculum, elevating the experience across the board. The more seamless the casting, broadcasting, and sharing, the better the learning experience.

Get started with implementing digital ecosystems

Samsung Interactive Displays are an ideal solution, as they work with most devices and have several connectivity options. There are several steps you’ll want to take, but the first is to complete an assessment of technology needs. What technology do you currently have? Is it functional? Can you elevate its use by adding some key investments such as interactive displays or tablets? Do you have your own information technology team, or will you need to partner with a strong technology solutions provider?

Funding comes next. And there’s plenty of good news. In March 2020, the U.S. government signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act. It included $2 trillion in assistance measures, including $30.75 billion for an Education Stabilization Fund. The Federal Communications Commission is also providing cash to help schools upgrade their connectivity. Called the E-rate program, there’s up to $4.456 billion for schools that qualify.

Here at Samsung, we’ve created a resource to help you learn how to fund educational technology purchases, and we have experts available to help educators create blueprints for their own connected digital classrooms. When we create a powerful learning experience, we enable students to achieve higher levels of cognitive retention, leading to more empowered learners.

A leader in interactive display technology, Samsung can help you bring inspired learning to life, whether students are in class or at home, with Samsung Interactive Displays. And learn how to create engaging and inclusive learning environments with interactive technology.

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Dr. Micah Shippee

Dr. Micah Shippee is the Director of Education Technology Consulting and Solutions at Samsung Electronics America. Micah and his team of experienced educators design, develop and deliver learning solutions to inspire and empower educators and learners. Their mission is to train educators to leverage innovative technology to the fullest, in order to meet every learner.

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