Interactive displays are rapidly becoming one of the hottest, and most useful, tech tools – especially in educational environments as they transform the way in which teachers teach and students learn. However, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer for ideal classroom digital display solutions. Fortunately, schools and other educational institutions have options! While most classrooms benefit (hugely) from at least one interactive flat panel display, many find that more than one display is ideal for flexible classrooms that maximize active learning.
How do interactive displays improve education? The increasing popularity of interactive displays stems from the incredible benefits they deliver.
1. Support Active Learning
Interactive flat panel displays have an inherent ability to bolster active learning (provided teachers use them for more than showing videos and slides). It’s one of the greatest advantages these dynamic devices bring to the classroom.
As the name implies, active learning is learning through engaging with content by becoming involved in the learning process. Countless activities facilitate active learning, and many – if not most – are enhanced when instructors and students use interactive flat panel displays:
- Collaboration. Students working together consistently tops the list of active learning approaches. Interactive flat panel displays are masterful at enabling collaboration. Multitouch capabilities let several students manipulate onscreen content as a team, facilitating an ideal way to brainstorm, present, analyze text or images, work through an experiment, or engage with a learning game (all of which, by the way, are recommended activities for active learning). Add collaboration software into the equation to give students the ability to cast and share content from their seats (even better — use an interactive flat panel display that includes its own collaboration software out of the box or offers secure cloud-based capabilities).
- Demonstration. When students show, explain, and teach, their minds are actively engaged in the learning process — do these things on a large interactive screen and the benefits blossom! Have a process to demonstrate? Step up to the interactive flat panel display and diagram it out. Have a group presentation? Present together on the big screen. Learning about a new topic? Break into workgroups to learn about different aspects of the topic, and then teach the rest of the class. With an interactive flat panel display, students can pull content from the internet, annotate on top of slides to highlight key points, add video and audio clips, and so much more. Students are adept at finding creative ways to use tech — give them the tools, provide the direction, then let them loose! You’ll be amazed at what they come up with.
- Experimentation. Forget telling students about the results of scientific study; lecturing is old school. Active learning is paramount to maximizing STEM learning. Interactive flat panel displays bring STEM subjects to life: students can conduct labs and experiments at the display, work out equations as a team, and share their inquiry via screencasting to spark group discussion. Try Digital Frog for a humane, formaldehyde-free option, explore the inner workings of cells with the iCell App, or build a tower with Mosa Mack Science Design Thinking activities. The options for leveraging big-screen interactivity are endless
2. Developing Critical Readiness Skills
Interactive flat panel displays help students of all ages develop critical life skills. The jobs of today and tomorrow demand greater adaptability, problem-solving and critical thinking – to stay afloat in a competitive world, students need to be able to:
- Think critically
- Observe and analyze
- Come up with smart solutions to complex dilemmas
- Answer higher-level questions that require thought and exploration
- Learn to ask why, what if, and how to think through all sides of an issue.
To prepare students for career and college readiness they need to be using classroom tech tools in ways that develop these critical skills, and interactive flat panel displays allow student the opportunities to do so.
Collaboration skills are also critical. Today’s employers expect employees to work in teams and collaborate effectively. While the traditional one-to-many lecture format fails to foster these skills, interactive displays enable constructivist learning, thus allowing students to work together to make connections and develop knowledge.
3. Boosting Engagement and Enthusiasm
Students in classes that leverage an interactive flat panel display are more engaged, pay more attention, and are more positive about learning. Teachers often report that increased attentiveness and engagement are the top benefits of interactive teaching.
Primary-age students were similarly more motivated when they used interactive displays. The positive impact of interactive tech was significant: student learning improved as did the quality of the learning environment. Plus, the interactive displays clearly boosted excitement for the lessons.
Moving up to higher education, the results continue to prove the captivating qualities of interactive displays. A study of first-year students compared classes taught with and without an interactive flat panel display. Those assigned to the “with” class achieved higher levels of “academic press” – the degree to which they cared about academic achievement. The researchers conclude that the difference was a significant positive correlation.
4. Delivering Effective Feedback
Students need feedback to know when they’re on the right track. Decades of research have shown that less instruction plus more feedback creates greater learning. In fact, it doubles how quickly students learn.2
It’s important to note that not all feedback is created equal. The most effective feedback is timely and consistent; it’s delivered frequently and in proximity to the learning event. Interactive displays can maximize effective feedback. Use them to employ formative feedback apps like Formative, Kahoot and Socrative. Get kids in the game with interactive learning apps like MathPlayground, DuoLingo, and Tiny Cards. Students working at interactive display screens receive immediate responses that tell them how they’re doing, and quick action and repetition allow them to try again. In doing so, they receive the consistent, ongoing input critical to turning feedback into learning.
5. Bringing Greater Inclusivity
Interactive flat panel displays help teachers offer more learning opportunities to more students:
- Lessons that bring students to the board let kinesthetic learners get up and move
- Videos and multimedia presentations appeal to visual and auditory learners
- For those that learn best by reading, teachers can capture and save on-screen notes and distribute the file for independent review
Additionally, classroom technology can be a great equalizer for students with special needs. Interactive displays integrate easily with assistive tech like captions, text highlighters and text-to-speech software. Students that have difficulty holding a pen can write on the display with a finger or tennis ball. Early learners can trace letters and shapes. Advanced learners can collaborate with classmates on more complex lessons at the display.
While students with mobility challenges may not be able to participate at a wall-mounted display as it may be difficult to reach due to height or their reach may be blocked, an ADA-compliant lift with robust functionality adds accessibility. Look for height adjustment and multiple tilt angles, and even the ability to go fully horizontal. More options maximize access for more students!
6. Improving Learning Outcomes
Students and teachers agree: interactive flat panel displays are fun! They captivate, improve attention span and boost student engagement. They can also be an outstanding cornerstone for classroom cohesion and are a proven way to help students learn more, learn better, and better apply that learning as they move forward in their lives.
We know that active learning works — A meta-analysis of 225 studies concluded that it reduces failure rates by 55% over passive receipt of information. It also demonstrated the many ways active learning promotes higher-order thinking, the very foundation for the skills most in-demand by employers.
We also know that interactive displays and active learning go hand in hand. That these dynamic and versatile touch screen displays facilitate countless active learning adventures. Early research demonstrated a 6-point gain when 85 teachers used interactive displays across 170 classrooms. This jumped to 26 points when instructors used graphs, charts, videos, and other visuals to reinforce information. Success skyrocketed to a 31% increase under the optimal circumstances – by adding “interactive reinforcers” and audience response polling, student achievement reached the highest levels.3
That was in 2009. Today, teachers can leverage the learning potential of interactive displays to an even greater extent. The displays themselves offer a new level of collaborative and interactive capabilities (advanced interactive learning apps, easy-to-use content sharing software, and readily available response systems) that support greater learning with virtually any curriculum.