Technology enabled education is peeping deep into the classrooms, paving a way to smart-education. The concept of smart classrooms has arrived at the forefront with the integration of advanced hardware and innovative software technology to enhance the way of teaching and to keep a check on students learning.
Moreover, smart classrooms foster creativity and interactive environment would help in bringing in more innovative ideas, more queries and more solutions. Consequently, there is a broadening of the domain of knowledge that a person acquires and encouragement in informal learning.
Talking about the general components of a smart classroom, they consist of the following :
i) Hardware Equipment (Desktops, laptops, tablets, iPads)
ii) LCD projectors
iii) DVD/VCR Combo
iv) Interactive Whiteboards
Dwelling deep into the components, a smart classroom must have :
i) learning management system
ii) interactive control center
iii) class pad
iv) interactive whiteboards
v) classroom control system
vi) Response pad
vii) on-demand collaboration
viii) on-demand visual learning
ix) classroom capture
x) interactive displays
The journey of developing a smart classroom has been long but escalating. From a classroom that solely depends upon chalks and boards for interaction, the step has been taken towards “interactive whiteboards”.
Replacing the traditional notion of teaching, it incorporates the finest “digital ink technology” that helps the children to stay focused towards the classroom teaching and in an entertaining way.
The interactive whiteboards consist of a computer, projector, advanced software technologies and a display panel. They are operated by a touchpad that is connected to a computer which is connected to a projector. The teacher takes the entire control of the information which can be copied or transferred to another slide. They come with a set of features for enhancing the quality of education that are :
i) They handle all sorts of media content, video, presentations
ii) spotlight for highlighting any specific area;
iii) screen shade for hiding and revealing information on choice, used especially in questions and answers.
iv) magnifier to zoom images
v) pointers to mark something on highlighting specific areas.
From interactive whiteboards, the focus has now been shifted to interactive displays in schools, universities, corporate departments and training facilities.
As opposed to interactive whiteboards where there is a lot of clutter in managing and assembling the equipment, large-format LCD and LED based interactive digital displays resolve these problems. The leading edge trend of interactive display technology is gaining momentum in education and work environment and it comes with :
i) better AV equipment performance;
ii) equipment takes less of space in crowded rooms;
iii) more user friendly and IT friendly;
iv) move to open architecture solutions
Here is an overview of different choices of new generation displays that are rapidly overtaking the sales of video projectors and interactive whiteboards :
i) Video projector based solutions :
ii) Flat-panel interaction technology as opposed to interactive whiteboards :
Interactive whiteboards may cost lower but the high cost of projector replacement lamps along with installation costs make their TCO higher as compared to flat-panel displays. Moreover, the latter comes with ease of use, less heat emissions, no anxieties about students blocking the projected beam of a video projector. The flat panel display features :
iii) Closed vs open architecture :
Interactive whiteboards or some of the digital displays as well, they follow “closed architecture models.” It implies that they need extensive training so that they can fit easily into new BYOD environments or new cloud based video conferencing environment.
Therefore,the organizations which do not want to waste their existing investment in collaboration equipment and also want to integrate advanced interactive display solutions into the organization, then “open architecture models” are compelling. Interactive display solutions make a trend towards open architecture that seamlessly integrates any new technology.