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Adoption of Interactive Smartboard in Schools

Steps To a Successful Adoption of Interactive Smartboards In School

As the world we live in is evolving constantly with innovations and technologies, our education system needs to be reshaped accordingly to adapt to the fast-changing world. When some traditional classroom tools started to cause disturbance to both teachers and students, all of us knew that it was the time for the integration of new technology in classrooms. Interactive smartboard was introduced to schools and education centres years ago.

Today, as the prices of interactive smartboards drop to a level where most schools can afford them, it is found that more and more schools are embracing the new tool, especially in western countries. In Malaysia, most schools and academies are still taking a “wait-and-see” approach. They are evaluating whether the adoption of interactive smartboard can bring greater benefits to them and most importantly, the students.

As one of the leading smartboard suppliers in Malaysia, VEXO has been delivering interactive smartboards to many companies and organizations including universities and schools. In our opinion, smartboard is an essential part of an effective learning process or a classroom session. However, there are steps to be taken to achieve a successful adoption of interactive smartboards in a school.

Interactive Smartboard In Classroom

It Is All About Teachers and Students

We once heard a story of a teacher who suddenly found an interactive smartboard when she walked into the classroom. She was not informed by the school previously at all and was concerned that she might not be able to use the tool properly in her teachings. 

This is an inappropriate action by the school management office. In this case, both teachers and students are the end users of the smartboard. Without informing or communicating with the teachers involved, such action is merely a “show off” or a meaningless action to please parents and stakeholders with a “hi-tech toy”.

If the school is not trying to understand the needs of the teachers involved, how could the school guarantee that the adoption is beneficial to the students’ development?

Hence, although the interactive smartboard is a great tool, it is important for the school and other involved parties to consider the following steps to ensure a successful adoption of the interactive smartboard.

  1. Communication
  2. Research and Planning
  3. Execution
  4. Feedback
Smartboard in Classroom

1. Communication

The most important goal of a school or an education centre is to provide students with the best possible learning experience to help them to develop. Teachers play an important role in achieving that goal. In addition to equipping students with skills and knowledge, being a great teacher is also about establishing good relationships with students. Hence, teachers understand their students more than the school does.

Before making any decision that might affect the learning process, the school should always discuss it with its teachers. The same goes for the adoption of the interactive smartboard. The school should tell teachers the reasons and the benefits of the adoption. Then, teachers should share their thoughts and work together with the management office to deal with any challenges that might arise due to the adoption.

If the teachers have some concerns that might stop them from using the smartboards effectively, the school should help to address the issues. For example, the high learning curve of the tool can be a great concern to some teachers. The school can then request training sessions from the smartboard suppliers.    

Discussion

2. Research and Planning

After discussing with the teachers, the school should start to research and prepare a detailed plan on how to execute the smartboard adoption. Some of the factors that the school should take into consideration are the types or models of the smartboards, quantity, places to install, and supplier sourcing.

The school should identify the number of rooms that need to be equipped with smartboards. How many classrooms or meeting rooms? How big is the room size or audience size? Is the room spacious enough to install a smartboard?

Then, the school needs to source a high-quality smartboard supplier. A good supplier is the one that can provide the most productive solutions or products to meet the school’s objective. And most importantly, the school should also pay attention to the after-sales service provided.

Smartboard adoption is never a one-time thing. After installations, the school should work continuously with the chosen supplier and the teachers in maintaining and improving the learning experience.

Research and Planning

3. Execution

There are three stages during the execution step. The first stage is the installation of both hardware and software. The chosen supplier will install smartboards in all required classrooms and places. They need to make sure that all smartboards can work properly with a stable internet connection. They also need to mount the smartboards with the appropriate viewing distance and height to ensure maximum screen readability.

Once the hardware is installed, the supplier and the school’s IT department will work together to configure all necessary settings, update firmware, and install any applications that would be used during classroom sessions.

The second stage is the stage where the teachers will be taught how to use the smartboards effectively. This is the time when the supplier can provide on-site training and addresses teachers’ concerns.

The third stage is when the smartboards are put to actual use during classroom sessions. Teachers will use the smartboards in their teachings to engage their students. There are many creative approaches that teachers can take. Smartboards can support features such as interactive whiteboarding, internet browsing, media player, screen sharing, and video conferencing.

One of the most important steps during the third stage is observation. Teachers should carefully observe the students’ reactions while using smartboards. These observation results can be very useful during the feedback stage.

4. Feedback

Smartboard adoption might not result in a favorable outcome within a short time. Continuous improvement is the key to effective adoption. This is why feedback is very important. Teachers should voice out their concerns or any obstacles that they have encountered when using the smartboards in the classrooms.

The school management office should then discuss with both IT department and the supplier in improving the learning experience based on the feedback collected.

Feedback

Conclusion

To lead to a successful adoption of interactive smartboards in schools, all parties should play their roles effectively. The school should always discuss and work together with the teachers to align with their teaching goals. Besides, the supplier should also provide more than only product delivery. The supplier should listen to the school and the teachers’ needs, and then provides the most suitable solution that is beneficial to the students.   

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