Heather Hoxie’s fourth grade class at Beaver Acres Elementary School was named a Future Ready school by Beaverton School District in 2015, meaning that an increase in technology integration would be supported with new devices as well as support staff.
The Tech Decision
Kids are immersed in a world of intense visual engagement, where nearly everything is digitized and it can be hard for textbooks to compete. Heather believes that a two-layer approach to technology is critical – providing individual devices that kids can use at their desk and a collaborative board to display students’ work for feedback, class response, and group presentations.
Heather has been using a smartboard for years, but when she saw the InFocus JTouch, she had to have it. After learning what the JTouch could do, she felt it could enhance what she was already attempting in her classroom. It was more robust than the smartboard, with casting ability from either an iPad or a Chromebook to enable students to work on devices and share work immediately. Heather’s classroom is traditional, with a desk space towards the back and sitting area directly under the board at the front. The JTouch needed to fit into the classroom without covering any existing school materials, and needed to be easy to set up.
InFocus saw the opportunity to offer its pilot program to test new education technology in schools looking to incorporate devices and receive feedback. Infocus provided Heather’s classroom with a JTouch Interactive Display. Heather replaced her classroom’s whiteboard with the InFocus JTouch Interactive Display equipped with InFocus LightCast, so students could wirelessly share to the JTouch, and then touch the screen to demonstrate, draw, or bring up a web page.
The installation for this project was incredibly simple. The challenges were the JTouch had to fit in a particular space without interfering with other class work. It had to be a simple installation and must be easy to use.
To fit the space without interference, the JTouch was mounted on a rolling stand in Heather’s classroom, so it can be used front and center or moved out of the way when not in use. Setting it up took a matter of hours, and has required little maintenance after-the-fact. Since the install, both Heather and her students have found it incredibly intuitive and easy to use.
The JTouch was chosen for the classroom because of its multi-touch display that fit easily in the classroom, and the LightCast technology that allows students to share or “cast” their work from an individual device right onto the screen. This combination of features was considered ideal for the young students in the class, to allow them to see each other’s work without crowding around a small screen. The kids adapted to the intuitive JTouch display because it works like their smartphones or tablets, with the ability to connect and display web content as well as save, share and email any work presented or annotated.
In this specific case, there was no need for a service contract for the device after it was installed in the classroom. Beaver Acres Elementary School was involved in a pilot program with InFocus, where they were gifted a JTouch in turn for continuous feedback on the product. The JTouch is covered under warranty for two years and supported by contact from InFocus.
Heather was able to use the device immediately, and the students also found the JTouch intuitive. The classroom has transformed into a more collaborative environment, where students can receive feedback, and have the invaluable ability to compare and contrast work was invaluable. Previously, students did their own work, and everything moved slowly via paper/pencil and document camera. Now, with the incorporation of the JTouch, Heather can celebrate student’s work in real time and run a much more efficient classroom.
The InFocus JTouch was useful right out of the box. The students quickly embraced a faster work pace, working independently on their devices, then casting and sharing their work on the JTouch for immediate presentation, feedback and collaboration. This two-layered approach enabled individualized instruction, allowing kids to learn at their own pace while creating more fluid and effective interaction in the classroom.
“There are so many positive impacts,” Heather says. “I can provide supports or extensions for students in reading and math. This individualized instruction on their personal device allows students to move forward at their own pace. When they have finished a group assignment, they can jump right into an individualized reading or math exercise that picks right up where they left off. There’s considerably less downtime.”
Heather emphasized that students are more engaged. “I can immediately show and celebrate their work on the JTouch, or display something for immediate feedback and collaboration. Because I can save any of their work, or anything that I’ve shared, it’s effortless to pull it up the next day or the next week to go over something. It saves my place in our progress. And, because the kids can walk right up and draw or add notes right on the display, they become part of a more naturally fluid process.”
Heather says that access to such immediate information gives her an opportunity to teach her students to be discerning, responsible consumers of information by highlighting good — and less credible — sources of information.