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Touchscreen displays facilitates flexible learning opportunities

Florida district to standardize all classrooms with NEC Display technology
Florida district to standardize all classrooms with NEC Display technology
Florida district to standardize all classrooms with NEC Display technology

As the 20th largest school district in the nation and the sixth largest school district in Florida, Duval County Public Schools has special challenges with integrating technology in every classroom.

The district had projectors and interactive whiteboards, but there was no across-the-board standard for the school’s core classroom equipment. Additionally, the equipment was aging. Projector bulbs were starting to dim and teachers would have to turn off classroom lights to use the projectors, creating a low-energy environment. Some of the interactive whiteboard software was out of date, and not all schools had the funding to upgrade obsolete equipment.

Determining the right fit
In March 2015, DCPS’s superintendent Nikolai Vitti worked to secure enough funding for new touchscreen technology that not only could be the standard across all classrooms, but was highly interactive and would create new opportunities for both teachers and students.

“Today’s children think and learn through technology, and we needed to provide teachers with the right tools to accomplish that,” says Vitti. “Touchscreens provide a direct interactive connection with our curriculum, and that is important for students to experience.”

DCPS leadership asked school administrators and teachers what they were looking for in a touchscreen technology solution to make sure it hit the mark. After a selection process involving four vendors that each submitted a proposal, DCPS chose NEC Display Solutions’ V552 and V652 displays with touch overlays, and began deploying them across district classrooms.

One of the biggest factors in the district’s choosing the V552 and V652 models was that the software inherent to the displays uses native drivers within Windows, eliminating the district’s problems with outdated software and the costs of upgrading.

“The fact that we don’t need to worry about software anymore is huge,” said Jim Culbert, executive director of IT for DCPS technology services. “You just plug it in and forget about it. The plug-and-play functionality is essential.”

Another factor is the displays’ portability.

“Teaching does not always happen just at the front of the classroom,” Culbert said. “We were seeing great success with the blended learning method, especially with middle school students, who tend to be restless. This method helps keep them interested.”

Flexibility in use
The NEC interactive displays were purchased with media carts, which allow the displays to move around the classrooms as needed. Previously the schools had been using interactive whiteboards that were portable, but if the boards were ever bumped or jarred, they would go out of calibration and it would take some time to recalibrate them. The calibration issues were eliminated with the NEC interactive display and cart bundle.

“The monitors are a good way to have one piece of equipment to replace both projectors and interactive whiteboards,” Culbert said. “And the resolution is incredible.”

DCPS now has 2,500 NEC displays across its schools and plan to have an interactive display in all core classrooms in each of its 45 secondary schools for the 2016-17 school year.

Feedback from students and teachers has been positive, says Katherine Hart, director of technology programs for DCPS.

“Sometimes in the past, by the time we picked something out and got it to the classroom, it was already old, so this time, they were excited to get something so innovative,” she added.

For more information, visit http://DAmag.me/duv