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Combining the Best of Old and New in New Philadelphia City Schools

The Marsh Integro offers teachers the benefits of an interactive whiteboard without sacrificing an inch of writing space.

The New Philadelphia City School District is rich with history. In the 1700s, Ohio’s first schoolhouse was built here, and the building that houses New Philadelphia High School dates to 1913.

Philadelphia High School dates to 1913. If the 96-year-old high school building stands as a reminder of the city’s long education tradition, teacher Joe Pry’s classroom offers a window into the district’s future. A technology teacher, Pry says his preengineering classes “advanced light years” with the addition of the Marsh Integro interactive whiteboard.

The Integro combines Marsh’s conventional classroom markerboard with Mimio? interactive learning technology. The board is an uninterrupted magnetic marker writing surface that can be up to 16 feet long. Mounting the Mimio bar transforms a section of the whiteboard into an interactive surface.

With the Mimio stylus, which acts as a mouse, Pry can control every function of his computer from the front of the classroom. Best of all, he has plenty of room to write on the whiteboard surface—directly on the projection area or in the wide spaces on either side.

"It's a super-high-quality dry erase writing surface with the added ability to interact."

Pry finds that by combining the best of old and new technology, the Integro makes it much easier for him to teach the complex concepts in the curriculum of Project Lead the Way?, a national high school program providing experiential learning in engineering principles.

“It has such great versatility,” he says. “I do a lot of sketching and writing on the board, and I can do that while projecting and controlling what’s on my computer screen.”

Students in Pry’s class work directly with software tools to design products and create digital prototypes. “You don’t have time to go to every student’s computer,” he says, “but with Integro, they can see on the board exactly what they have to do on their computer. I have the ability to look directly at a student as they ask a question and respond in real time while interacting with my computer right on the board in front of them. They are just amazed.”

On the days when Pry teaches a lesson light on the computer and heavy with notes, he can write anywhere on the board. “It’s a super-high-quality dry erase writing surface with the added ability to interact,” he says. He also likes the durability. “There are no electronics in the board and no ‘bad spots,’” he says.

The district currently has an Integro interactive whiteboard in each of the two Project Lead the Way classrooms, but as open labs, teachers in other subject areas can use them, too. “We’re getting more requests for them,” says Bud Winn, technology coordinator for the New Philadelphia City School District. “As teachers see what they can do, they want them for their own classrooms.”

With the flexibility to serve as both an interactive board and a conventional whiteboard, the Integro makes sense from an educational and economic standpoint, says Superintendent Bob Alsept.

“I would like to have an interactive white board in every classroom in the district—whether in a regular classroom, an intervention classroom or a gifted classroom, because it would be valuable for all of those situations,” Alsept says. “Dollar for dollar, the Marsh Integro has been very good for us.”

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