In late 2015, the Woodhaven-Brownstown School District in Michigan passed a bond of almost $55 million for building renovations. While the bond was primarily for its secondary school, the district decided to include Yake Elementary, which for years had been without the funds to update classroom technology.
Yake’s media specialist, Joe Heacox, was part of the team that evaluated potential purchases. The technology they decided on was Boxlight’s ProColor 75” interactive flat panel displays. The team determined, and school leaders agreed, that the displays’ cost and longevity made them the best choice.
During the summer of 2017, Yake installed the ProColor displays in every classroom as well as in Heacox’s computer lab. “I’ve worked at this building for 13 years, and I’ve never seen our kindergarten teachers use a projector of any kind,” said Heacox. But when the school got the panel displays, he found that those teachers were using them on a daily basis.
Enhancing and Enriching Elementary Instruction
Yake uses the Journeys reading curriculum and Math Expressions from Houghton-Mifflin. “Both of those series have many lesson plan enhancements that are designed for interactive boards. We’ve never been able to use those enhancements until this year,” said Yake principal Tim Podlewski.
Additionally, Heacox uses the ProColor panel display to show second through fifth graders how to work on Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides. “I’ll do an initial annotation and then I’ll ask questions throughout. And the ProColor is also really great for doing the slideshows, showing them how to use all the tools, and doing the animation,” he said. Heacox also has students come up and work on the display’s interactive touch screen so he can check their understanding.
Ultra-High Definition, Ultra Easy, and Ultra Kid-Friendly
One of the main things Heacox likes about the ProColor interactive flat panel display is the ease of use. “When I bring up a document and work on it with the kids, I’m not fumbling around. I just open up my screen, and it’s up there,” he said. He also appreciates the ultra-high definition (4K UHD) display’s brightness and clarity. “It’s probably 90 percent clearer than my projector was,” he said. “It gets their attention.”
Since the school has been using the displays for less than a year, Podlewski knows they have just scratched the surface of what’s possible. He and his teachers are now planning to incorporate the displays into their center rotations practice. They have also discussed using the MimioMobile app to enable students to do activities on tablets and smartphones while showing that work on the display. “How nice would that be as a next step?” he said.