PESHTIGO—Peshtigo School District leaders are trying to do everything they can to improve teaching and learning. Recently, BenQ interactive display panels have been installed in 16 classrooms.
These new interactive display panels are much brighter than the old units, have a germ resistive surface, and offer built-in software, according to school officials. Federal money called Title IV money is earmarked for technology support and that’s where some of the funding came from. Priority was given to install them for the benefit of the youngest children first.
BenQ display panels look like a television or computer screen in the front of the classroom with all the features of a touchscreen computer display, yet large enough for a whole classroom of students to see. Students and teachers can interact together on screen, replacing the old fashioned chalkboard or dry erase boards in the front of the classroom.
“I like that they can be used alone without the use of a laptop,” teacher Jenny Smith said.
Special education teacher Felisha Maurer added, “I love that I can access any of my Google Drive files. Everything I need is all in one spot.”
Teacher Becky Cording agrees that, “The biggest plus of these is the visibility.”
BenQ panels have touch screen technology and all of the features of a computer that students and teachers can use simultaneously on a 75-inch screen big enough for everyone to see.
“We were using interactive whiteboards that were, in many cases, over 10 years old,” Cording said.
Jim Meyer, director of Technology for the Peshtigo School District, explained that the BenQ brand of interactive panels have been in the market for a few years now. Staff met with several vendors and chose the 75-foot panels determining that they were “affordable and large enough for a whole classroom to see them.”
Meyer said BenQ screens are high definition and new apps are constantly being created for the built-in computer within the BenQ display panel.
“We can see so much better,” was the response from Maren Nerat’s kindergarten class.
She explains, “I love the clarity. My interactive whiteboard projector was getting to the point where it was hard to see even when we dimmed the lights.”
Fourth-grade teacher Julie Nelson agrees that the picture quality is far superior to the old technology. Nelson shares, “I had to shut the window blinds and turn all the lights off to see any video. Now, I can let the sun shine in and still see the video.”
4K teacher Justin Woulf feels the same way, “The brightness and sharpness is far superior to what we had before.”
This technology helps students with different learning styles. High school special education teacher Janet Terp loves how BenQ display panels “provide opportunities to actively engage students by providing multi-sensory learning options and support both hands-on and visual learners.”
Teachers can quickly and easily adapt to student or classroom needs.
“You can have up to three students writing on the BenQ panel at the same time,” said first-grade teacher Jodi Schultz.
Nerat explained some of the advanced features. “There are special features such as a laser pointer and spot light to use when I need to direct the students attention to specific items. I am able to share screens from other devices which allows me to be mobile in the classroom to support individual students while still focusing the rest of the class. For example, I am able to draw on my iPad and project it to the big screen while walking around supporting the kids rather than standing in front of the class.”
“I use it throughout the day like showing tutorials, magnifying story books I read aloud and showing student work,” said teacher Loretta Rich. “It’s a great teaching tool.”
Nelson said she loves the BenQ built-in screen templates that allow for instant student interactions.
“With just a couple clicks students can challenge each other with a round of speed math, make a timeline of their day, or brainstorm topics in word webs,” she said.
Woulf also appreciates the extra bells and whistles these devices have, such as the “simple built-in features like the timer and drawing features.”
Priorities have been made to install BenQ panels in classrooms at the early ages first. Sixteen have been installed in the Peshtigo Schools so far, with more scheduled to be installed this summer.
Amanda Benson said, “Anything to make the classroom more efficient, whether for me or for students, is a win for me.”