It’s been 30 years since interactive whiteboards were first introduced to school classrooms in 1991, and while many of those earlier models (and even some newer models) struggled with performance and affordability, today’s interactive flat panels (IFPs) are advanced teaching tools that are becoming a mainstay in classrooms from elementary to university levels.
This adoption of interactive flat panels has led to blackboards, traditional whiteboards, interactive whiteboards, and projectors firmly becoming devices of the past, as IFPs have become the go-to presentation tool for modern educators. Of all U.S. classrooms, 87% have at least one form of display installed, with a continued increase in adoption expected over the next couple years.
Educators are turning to interactive displays for good reason, as their numerous advantages over more outdated alternatives enables an elevation of lesson plans and an increase in student engagement.
But before we get to the key benefits of interactive displays, it’s important to note the distinction between interactive whiteboards and interactive flat panels. While both are popular learning tools, there are a number of distinct differences between the two.
Interactive Whiteboards vs. Interactive Flat Panels
Interactive whiteboards are typically projectors that display images on a special screen with sensors that respond to fingers, pens, styluses, erasers, and more. In many ways, interactive whiteboards are an outdated technology that have long suffered from needing to be precisely aligned with the projector, from bulbs growing dim over time, and more.
Interactive flat panels (also often referred to as IFPs, interactive flat panel displays, interactive touchscreen displays, or simply interactive displays) are large touchscreen monitors with a built-in Android OS – and in almost every way, they are a better option than interactive whiteboards.
IFPs provide flexibility and usability to help educators take their lesson plans to the next level, and the right option for you will depend on the unique goals and dynamics of your classroom. The Trafera team is here to help you determine the best way forward.
Here are four of the key advantages interactive flat panel displays can provide within classrooms of any grade level, with a specific focus on the features and benefits of Newline Interactive’s line of flat panels.
Lesson Plan Flexibility
Interactive displays equip teachers with seemingly endless possibilities when compared to more traditional options. They can be used to share and present content, highlight important information, engage students in group activities, and more. Teachers can also use interactive displays to lead Q&A sessions, instruct using diagrams and videos, and lead educational game sessions. Newline's interactive flat panels are platform-agnostic and are capable of working seamlessly within Google, Microsoft, and iOS environments.
In addition to IFPs themselves becoming more advanced, the widespread growth of apps, online educational content, and digital curriculum has furthered their impact in the classroom, helping to more effectively bridge the gap between such content and the learning environment. Digital curriculum has become especially critical in times of remote and hybrid learning, and IFPs help bring this content to life through interactive content, videos, games, and more. Teachers can instruct dynamically in front of an IFP to both in-person and remote students with the addition of AV solutions. Newline Interactive’s non-proprietary nature also allows teachers to utilize their preferred tools, apps, and digital content easily on the display.
This flexibility makes it easier for students to learn in the way that best suits them. Auditory, visual, and kinetic learners can watch and listen to material and follow along on their own synced devices in real-time. With Newline Interactive’s free Broadcast software, teachers can share the panel with up to 199 users on any network, while the free Cast software enables moderation and the ability for students to share their own screens to the IFP.
Increased Student Engagement
In addition to their flexibility, interactive displays also help facilitate a more interactive and engaging learning experience for students – and they’re simply more fun! Students can write, draw, and edit directly on the display with intelligent touch to recognize fingers, styluses, palms, markers, and more. Real-time collaboration and idea-sharing is also brought to life in high-definition.
The importance of this cannot be overlooked, as studies show interactivity and engagement are positively linked to student performance. Increased student engagement can improve test scores, with 99% of students in one study reporting they felt they learned better when an interactive display was used during class.
To further engagement even more, teachers can easily summarize and provide lesson decks to students for improved accessibility and learning retention.
Ease-of-use for Students and Educators
The performance issues of earlier interactive display models are firmly in the rearview, as today’s devices are easy for both educators and students of any age to learn how to use. Clicking on links and buttons, highlighting text, dragging and dropping items, and sharing content wirelessly are all highly intuitive and designed for streamlined use.
IT staff can also centrally manage all Newline IFPs remotely via the free Display Management tool, capable of configuring display settings, deploying and installing apps and broadcast messages from the desktop, and more.
Trafera’s team of experts offer setup and training to help you take full advantage of your interactive flat panel display without missing out on any features or benefits.
Reduced Costs and Environmental Footprint
Budgeting for schools is always a top-of-mind concern for educators and administrators, and interactive displays serve to benefit these initiatives. IFPs represent a singular upfront expense that won’t eat into future budgets, providing a low cost of ownership over time.
IFPs help schools:
- Spend less money on paper, printing, and supplies for lessons
- Eliminate ongoing projector maintenance costs
- Access numerous apps that are inexpensive and that can help improve the learning experience
- Waste less paper, dry markers, erasers, chalk, and blackboard paint, all of which can benefit the environment
Newline Interactive offers a five-year advance replacement warranty, including the cost of shipping defective panels and the delivery of replacement panels. This warranty also helps contribute to the reduced cost of ownership over time.