How interactive flat panels untether teachers and enable more flexible learning

Published: April 26th, 2020

It’s a memory almost any student has of school: rows of desks all facing the board at the front, listening to their teacher instruct. In those days, interactivity meant a worksheet or group assignment. But thanks to educational technology, the days of only delivering lessons from a chalkboard at the front of the classroom are over.

Today, technology like interactive flat panels (IFPs) untether teachers from the front of the room – allowing them to move freely about while seamlessly delivering a lesson. The panels themselves can be moved from one area of the classroom to the next, allowing lessons to come front and center to a group of students, no matter where they are in the room. They can even be moved from one classroom to another, making any campus primed for learning on-the-go.

In fact, once teachers become accustomed to the mobility and flexibility that interactive flat panels provide, many can’t imagine teaching again without one. Students love them too. Here are some of the benefits that these mobile display panels provide:

Having better interaction with students

In its push for greater personalization, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools District (WSFCS) in North Carolina wanted edtech that allowed teachers to move away from the front of the class to be where the students are. Marty Creech, director of Digital Teaching and learning, and his team chose to invest in Promethean ActivPanels®, which can be mounted to a wall or on mobile stands. The team chose the latter, which allows the technology to be used anywhere and gives teachers the flexibility to change the classroom dynamic every day.

In some classrooms, for instance, students work in small groups and when appropriate, the interactive displays can be rolled to them to support a lesson. In other rooms, interactive displays are used for one-on-one lessons with a student. The options create unique learning experiences for each student that tailor lessons to their needs.

Creating a flexible, 360-degree classroom

Nicholas Sebesta, a sixth-grade social studies teacher at Winston-Salem’s Clemons Middle School, said, “[The ActivPanel] untethers me and allows me to set it up in different ways that are more engaging for students. I don’t have to walk in and be tied to a front-of-the-room setup but instead can move toward more of a 360-degree classroom.”

When teachers are free to move about throughout the classroom, they can provide more in-depth instruction and feedback on student work. Mobility also allows teachers to better monitor their students and intervene with someone who might be off task.

Enabling students to be the focal point

Interactive, technology-based lessons allow students at Las Vegas’ Advanced Technologies Academy to become the focal point instead of the teachers. What started as a physical classroom change with students choosing where to sit and on what – bean bags, bar stools, couches and throw rugs – coincided with a pedagogical shift, too.

“We knew we had to change the way we deliver lessons, which involved better use of technology to increase participation,” said Michael Patterson, who teaches Honors Geometry and Honors Algebra 2 at the 1,100-student magnet high school. “We’ve gone from presenter to more of a partner or tutor role.”

Eliminating traditional student restrictions

Instructional time at Advanced Technologies Academy usually beings with a 10- to 15-minute mini-lesson displayed on a Promethean ActivPanel. Already gathered in groups throughout the room, students jump into the lesson from their tablets or by interacting with the ActivPanel through its 1:1 capacity. Students, too, feel untethered from typical restrictions of traditional rigid chairs, tables, and desks and are given the freedom to get up and help each other more.

Lowering or raising panels to meet students’ needs

Palmdale School District in California also opted to have its ActivPanels mounted on mobile stands rather than walls. In addition to moving the displays, teachers can lower the displays for smaller children to interact, which would prove difficult if they were statically mounted.

Like the other two aforementioned school districts, Palmdale is moving to a more student-focused environment. An edtech mix that includes the interactive flat panels makes this initiative all the more possible.

At the end of the day, districts nationwide continue to invest in technology that provides more freedom for teachers and students to move around the classroom, enabling a more interactive and engaging learning environment. Promethean ActivPanels are ideal long-term investments that personalize learning and enhance untethered collaboration.

Get more information about how Promethean can help you maximize your edtech investment here.