For many school districts, remote learning has come as a complete shock to the system. For us, Kankakee School District, we weren’t completely ready, but we weren’t blindsided, either.
That’s because two years ago, our district set a mission of creating anywhere, anytime learning. We wanted to reach all students — not just those who excel in the classroom, prepare them for the future, and address arising collaboration trends that have proven to boost learning success.
Our technology plans reflected this mission. A key purchase to realize this goal was interactive displays that would replace the glitchy and archaic whiteboards that we had used in our classrooms for years. After several months of testing various models, we selected BenQ’s RP Series.
We began rolling them out across our district with plans to put them in almost every classroom and every building. COVID-19 fast tracked that timeline.
While we selected the interactive displays to increase collaboration opportunities and engagement, we never could imagine how vital they would become when we went hybrid-remote and fully remote in the wake of COVID-19.
We chose the RP Series for ease of use and rich features, including a germ-resistant touch screen, digital whiteboarding, and access to the multitude of educational apps and platforms our teachers could access directly from the screen.
However, it is the screen recording function that has made all the difference in this new normal.
When we introduced the interactive displays, many of our math teachers switched to a flipped classroom strategy. Math naturally lends itself to this approach. Students can spend time watching the steps before practicing them in the classroom. Sometimes they might need to do this multiple times before they understand it.
If we know anything about learning it’s that there’s not enough time in the school day to always allow for that extra time they need. That’s where the screen-record function became essential.
With the screen-record function, teachers are able to clearly demonstrate the steps taken to solve a problem and explain them.
The onboard mics automatically capture the teacher speaking in high quality. Teachers don’t have to connect, hold, or wear a separate mic. They don’t have to fidget with settings. It’s all right there.
With a push of button, they’re ready to record everything they’re doing on the screen. Students can clearly see the content as its being written and they can hear the teacher explain it.
Unlike a video camera for video conferencing where a teacher has to turn their back and block the view of the board while they work, students are only seeing what’s written on the board.
When they’re done, teachers simply save the file and share it with students to their Google Classroom or other sites.
Since going hybrid-remote, this feature has become more widely utilized in variety of subjects, including Science and English. It’s a great way to show brainstorming methods, sentence diagramming, chemistry problems and more.
Teachers are also uploading their videos into Nearpod and Edpuzzle apps and embedding questions for students to type in a response.
When kids are face-to-face, whether in person or during Zoom classes, these videos have helped teachers make the most of the limited time together. They can respond to questions to aid in comprehension and identify where the class needs more instruction.
In addition, as parents and caregivers become part of the teaching team, we’ve also been able to create valuable video content to assist them in this role.
In our technology department, our philosophy is to keep it simple. We recognize that teachers have a lot on their plates during a normal day in a normal year.
This isn’t a normal year. The screen recording feature is a natural, easy, and fast way to add an interactive element that we’re lacking in today’s learning situation. I’ve only had to train a handful of teachers and it proliferated from there. It’s made all the difference in our hybrid learning.