What’s better than an interactive whiteboard? A Big Pad.
Interactive whiteboards are fantastic pieces of equipment. They allow teachers to deliver lessons in an engaging and fun way, and students can even interact with the screen. There are certain drawbacks which prevent them from being the perfect classroom tool. For example, an interactive white board is a 3-part system – you need a projector set up in the classroom, a teacher’s laptop or computer, and the whiteboard itself and it can take time to get all three of the systems working in tandem.
As well as this, many classrooms aren’t able to support an interactive whiteboard for various reasons, Teachers in classrooms like this lose the ability to teach as effectively as they can do because of this.
The ideal solution would be something which is easy to use, fast, interactive, requires next to no setup to use and can provide a superior learning experience to dated projector-based whiteboards.
How a UK school is making the most out of a Big Pad
When the old AV equipment at the Ribbon Academy Trust in County Durham, UK, began to fail, the school’s management team searched the market for a high-quality replacement that would improve upon their existing hardware and software. They chose the Sharp BIG PAD PN-70SC3 from technology integration specialists, GPS Installations.
Mrs Henderson, School Business Manager at the Ribbon Academy Trust, explains:
"Our original classroom AV equipment was Interactive Whiteboards with Short Throw Projectors in all rooms. The equipment had reached the end of its life and no longer performed effectively: the image quality was very poor and we were often cleaning out the filters of the projectors, as well as constantly needing to re-calibrate the boards."
The screens were not bright enough to compete with daylight, so they could only be used if the blinds were closed. Even with the blinds closed the images could be difficult to see especially by children with moderate vision problems.
Another problem the school found was that equipment would overheat:
“It was an uphill struggle to teach a class without it becoming disjointed when the IT failed.”
Meanwhile the wires connecting the AV equipment were messy and teachers needed to pay attention to make sure that “inquisitive hands or little feet” did not unplug them, and that the AV areas were kept safe.
Print Logic Big Pad – The Solution
The school installed 13 Sharp 70’’ PN-70SC3 High Definition Interactive Displays. To make the screens accessible for both teachers and children GPS Installations supplied and fitted risers to electronically raise or lower the screen to varying heights.
"Due to the substantial investment needed to update all our rooms with new equipment, we fully researched the various options available and reached the conclusion that Sharp and GPS Installations offered the best solution from a technical and value perspective,” said Mrs Henderson.
Upgrading from old AV technology to BIG PAD did not require a steep learning curve, as Jane explained:
"The change over to the new screens was very simple and quick. Both staff and pupils were using them immediately from the first morning. The screens have been described as being as easy to use as a TV and have the flexibility of being able to be used by the specialist pen or simply a finger."
The school found that the special pens used with the big pad were an improvement:
“previous pens lost parts which rendered them useless but these pens are all in one so are much more robust.”
The newly-installed BIG PAD interactive displays are helping the teachers save time and be more efficient, with teachers at the Ribbon Academy agreeing that their teaching is now much more flexible. They can connect to the displays using the classroom desktop PCs and their tablet devices, made simple by use of the integrated Sharp Pen software.
The complete lack of glare means that BIG PADs can be used in daylight so different groups of children can do different activities in the same classroom, some using the screen and some not using the screen.
Because the Ribbon Academy is a primary school with pupils aged from 3- 11 years, the BIG PADs are used for a wide variety of purposes, from phonics, maths quizzes, online research, physical exercise videos, and play-to-learn games, as well for marking the morning register. The interactive displays are also being used for staff training.
"Now we have the confidence to know that our AV systems are totally reliable learning has been massively enhanced. It is now so apparent that the old screens were hardly utilised at all in comparison. Children are over the moon with the possibilities and the quality and want them in their houses!”
Mrs. Henderson concludes:
“Overall, the decision to invest in new screens in such financially difficult times for schools was a difficult one. However, we have absolutely no regrets as the quality of the product, attention to detail and service that we have experienced has been second to none and the impact on the children’s education has proved very promising. We will definitely be looking to furnish the remaining classrooms with the same facilities as soon as possible.”