At least five Lafayette Parish school system schools, along with district instructional technology staff, will play a role in testing new interactive technology for the classroom.
The school system was selected to test ClassFlow Connect and a new type of Promethean smartboard called the ActivWall that allows up to 16 students at a time to interact with the board.
“We’ll be testing it and submitting feedback and data to them before they go wide-scale with it,” said LaShona Dickerson, the school system’s instructional technology director. “It’s a total of about $53,000 in technology that we’re receiving.”
Most classrooms in the school district have Promethean boards — a type of technology-enabled chalkboard that enables teachers to quickly project information and for students to work or write on the board using a stylus. The ActivWall is different in that it uses a high-definition LED projector, eliminating the high-priced bulbs of existing Promethean projectors that can cost up to $200, Dickerson said.
As a bonus, the school system is also receiving ClassFlow Connect technology that allows wireless connectivity so information from any type of smart device can be transmitted onto a whiteboard. It also enables connectivity with other classrooms — not just on campus but in the world, Dickerson said.
The technology also enables students to transmit or mirror their work from an iPad, smartphone or other device to the board, she said.
The school system has one ActivWall in place in the instructional technology department. On Friday, technology facilitator Brooke Fontenot used the board to demonstrate to school technology coaches the ClassFlow Connect capabilities. For fun, she displayed a playlist from her phone and asked for a volunteer to send or mirror data from their phone. Paragraphs from a book soon joined the list of songs on the 102-inch ActivWall screen.
With her finger, Fontenot touched the board and then highlighted parts of a paragraph while the song “Celebration” played from her song list. Then, both phones went on their own adventures — one displayed snapshots from within the classroom while the other showed video taken from outside.
“You see how a teacher could use this by sending one student outside to find examples of triangles on campus, while the rest of the class works on a (lesson),” Fontenot said.
Dickerson said the school system was selected by Promethean on the recommendation of the system’s Promethean vendor, AXI Education Solutions.
During the School Board meeting Wednesday, Superintendent Donald Aguillard informed board members about the project. “They’re providing 50 classrooms among five schools with the opportunity of using the devices to make a larger contribution in developing more learning spaces,” he said.
He credited the technology department for its efforts and the school system for “being recognized and trusted with the opportunity to be the first in the world to receive a production model of these devices.”
Dickerson said no decisions have been made yet on which five schools will receive the ClassFlow Connect technology, but the technology will be placed at the elementary, middle and high school levels. She said those schools and teachers selected for the testing will have to commit to help collect feedback and chart data on the technology’s performance.
Follow Marsha Sills on Twitter, @Marsha_Sills.