The ultimate guide to interactive screens

Everything you need to know about interactive screens for education and business

In the world of edtech, one type of technology that has helped to transform the way that we learn and work is the interactive screen.

Interactive touch screens for education are set to make the classroom environment more exciting than ever, allowing blended learning to take place on a more advanced level. And when it comes to staff meetings, the possibilities for interactive collaboration and the sharing of ideas are almost endless.

If you have ever wondered what an interactive screen is and how can it benefit schools and businesses alike, then you have come to the right place. Our ultimate guide to interactive screens will explain this type of edtech in more detail and answer any questions you may have. So whether you would like to find out more information about interactive touch screens for education or business, make sure you read on.

What is an interactive screen?

An interactive screen is a large display unit or panel that is driven by a computer. They might look like large television screens, however they are actually digital devices that allow users to access their computer files and interact with them in an engaging way, as well as create new content.

The LCD (liquid-crystal display) screen is usually connected to a separate computer or laptop via a USB port and video cable. Essentially it acts as a computer monitor, meaning that you can select to view documents, videos and even web links on a larger scale. In addition, you can also create content in high-definition, bringing the teaching, learning and idea-sharing experience to life in a more flexible and engaging way.

How to choose the right interactive screen for your institution…

What is an interactive screen used for?

Interactive screens have a number of uses. For example there are interactive screens for business and interactive screens for classrooms, and although they will be used in different environments they have very similar features.

Interactive screens can be used to present documents, information and videos to different groups, for example to a group of students in a classroom or during a meeting in a business environment. Interactive displays for the classroom allow teachers to communicate content to students in a completely new way, something which could be extremely beneficial to those students who may have found traditional forms of information presentation particularly disengaging.

A key feature of interactive screens is digital annotation, or the ability to annotate documents and files in an electronic way. In the same way that you can write on a traditional blackboard, an interactive screen allows you to essentially write using digital ink in a variety of colours. For example, you may choose to write a series of words, numbers or diagrams on a blank white surface, or you may want to make annotations on top of an existing document or image. In addition, the touchscreen display will allow you to save this marked-up file as a new image, which you can then save to external devices, email or print.

What are interactive screens also known as?

Interactive screens are also known as interactive touchscreens, interactive LCD touchscreens, interactive displays, interactive display boards, smart screens and smart boards. Regardless of the term used to describe this type of technology, they are all used for the same main purpose – to allow users to interact with different types of content, collaborate and learn.

What size are interactive screens?

There are several different size options available for interactive screens. For example, most screens vary between 51 inches and 98 inches in size, meaning that there is an option available to suit any type of space – from the smallest meeting room to the biggest classroom!

According to Gregg Ringer, head of market development, UK at interactive screen manufacturer CTOUCH, it is always advisable to choose a screen that is as big as possible, and that 75 inches usually allows for an inclusive experience, as well as helping to future-proof any growth in class size.

When deciding on the size of touchscreen for a classroom or meeting room, there are several factors that you need to keep in mind. For example, think about visual acuity, or the clarity of vision that students will have based on where they are sat in the classroom, or that staff will have based on where they are sat in a meeting room. Secondly, consider how many students or staff members will use the interactive screen at any one time, as a larger interactive screen will have a larger workable surface which will make collaboration more effective. Lastly, consider auditory acuity, or how clearly students and staff will hear the displayed media.

According to Gregg Ringer, head of market development, UK at interactive screen manufacturer CTOUCH, it is always advisable to choose a screen that is as big as possible, and that 75 inches usually allows for an inclusive experience, as well as helping to future-proof any growth in class size.

What brands manufacture interactive screens?

There are several key brands within the interactive screen marketplace. Some of the most notable brands include CTOUCH, Prowise, BenQ, NEC and SMART.

What is the difference between interactive screens and interactive whiteboards?

Interactive screens have a number of benefits compared to the use of traditional blackboards or whiteboards. For example:

  • There is no need to purchase a separate projector, which can be expensive in terms of their maintenance (due to the need to replace the lamps on a regular basis), and there are also no issues with the projector light potentially shining in the user’s eyes.
  • The touchscreen will produce an image that is much cleaner and crisper than a projector, and there is no risk of the image being hard to see due to bright sunlight.
  • Interactive screens use less wiring than interactive whiteboards, meaning that they are much easier to install.
  • Some interactive screens come with a built-in PC as an optional feature, offering an ‘all-in-one’ system that is even easier to use and is more user-friendly, and requires no additional hardware.
  • When compared to traditional whiteboards, interactive screens have a far more durable surface which can withstand the accidental use of permanent marker, punctures and even water.
  • Interactive screens usually come with a warranty for added peace of mind.
  • Interactive screens can be used with wireless connectivity, and are also compatible with Apple and Android products (via an app).
  • Many screens have 4K displays for the ultimate viewing experience, Dolby Certified soundbars and microphones, allowing Skype calls or integration with similar VoIP applications.

How are interactive screens used for collaboration?

One of the main benefits of interactive screens is that they can be used for collaboration between users. For example, a teacher and students, a group of students, or a group of colleagues can all use the technology to learn, interact and make decisions in a completely engaging way.

Group work is made easier than ever, as each individual student or staff member can add their own notes to the document that is being created, and the finished product can be shared quickly and easily at the end of the session.

Use of interactive screens in classrooms

Interactive screens are the perfect addition to any classroom. From schools to FE colleges and universities, they can help to enhance the teaching and learning experience in a number of ways:

  • Two-way screen sharing allows teachers to share any pre-prepared documents to the interactive screen from their own iOS or Android device, as well as share any content that is created on the screen to students’ laptops or tablets.
  • Many interactive screens come with free-to-download content, offering teachers and lecturers the chance to access a vast library that they can use to enhance their lessons. From videos to scientific calculators and games, the content makes the learning environment far more engaging.
  • Interactive screens allow teachers to focus less on the delivery of their teaching materials and more on the content they have prepared, as digital resources can be tweaked during lessons.
  • Thanks to the high-definition screens that are now clearer, crisper and brighter than ever, students are able to clearly make out the content wherever they are sat in the class.
  • For those students who may not like speaking up in class, interactive screens allow them to have their voice and opinions heard without the need to actually speak – unlocking their potential and allowing them to actively engage in their own learning in a way that they feel comfortable.

How do interactive screens impact pedagogy?

Interactive screens have transformed the classrooms of today, allowing teachers to adapt their teaching style and encourage student participation in a new and engaging way:

  • Interactive screens are an excellent tool to enable flipped learning, whereby teachers provide students with learning materials in advance of lessons, so that more classroom time is spent on developing their understanding of a particular topic. For example, students can create content such as videos and diagrams which they can then share with the class during the lesson.
  • Instead of having rows of desks that face the teacher at the front of the class, the use of an interactive screen means that the layout of the classroom can be transformed to allow for more collaboration and group work in smaller clusters of tables instead.

Use of interactive screens in business

Interactive screens can also be used effectively in a business setting. They make the perfect addition to any meeting or conference room where the back-office or support staff from a school, college or university come together to discuss plans and ideas:

  • Interactive screens utilise the touch technology that we are all familiar with on our smartphones and tablets, and bring it into the office environment.
  • They allow presentations to become more dynamic, engaging and inclusive. Rather than just having a presenter stand at the front and run through some Powerpoint slides, colleagues can join in by adding writing or drawings to the screen, making the session much more interactive and memorable.
  • In meetings, there is also the opportunity for members of staff to collectively add their ideas and suggestions to documents quickly and easy, allowing everyone to play a role rather than just sitting and listening.
  • The content that is created on the interactive screen can be shared between members of staff quickly and easily for use during and after the session.

What else do I need to know about interactive screens?

Some interactive screens have optional proximity sensors, which help to conserve energy when they are not in use, as well as encourage interaction between users due to the fact that they light up when approached. In addition, some have infrared displays, which means that they can even be used with gloves or wet hands – something that is particularly beneficial to teachers of art, science and D&T.

To find out more about interactive screen providers, see below:

CTOUCH: https://edtechnology.co.uk/Blog/keep-up-with-21st-century-skills/

BenQhttps://edtechnology.co.uk/Blog/stop-the-distractions-and-increase-collaboration/

Prowisehttps://edtechnology.co.uk/Blog/prowise-touchscreen/

NEChttps://edtechnology.co.uk/Blog/interactive-learning-without-compromise/

SMARThttps://edtechnology.co.uk/Blog/how-smart-technologies-is-unlocking-student-greatness/

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