“Next Generation Classroom” Update

Alyssa Mancuso, Reporter

Recently, Pawprint released an article detailing the updates being made to the classroom in terms of technology. Since then, many changes have arisen following these trials, resulting in the testing of even more technology by teachers throughout the school. From updated Smartboards and Hi-Def TVs to touchscreen laptops, the new tech department, Questeq is on a mission to find Big Spring the best and most affordable technology in the market.

Questeq was initially looking to replace Smartboards with high-definition TV’s as a more cost effective learning tool. However, through the use of this piece of technology in classrooms such as Tim Kireta’s, teachers found writing on these new screens to prove quite difficult. To remedy this, the tech department is now testing out a “smartboard TV” in the classroom. Essentially they are like a middle ground between the HD TVs and the smartboards, as they are TV screens with touchscreen capabilities. “In conjunction with the SMART TV pilot we are also testing a software appliance called SMART kapp iQ that will allow the students to collaborate with the teacher and other students on the SMART TV from their laptop or Chromebook,” said Robert Creps.

Another small change in the testing of educational technology at Big Spring has been LanSchool, the trial screen sharing software. The department found LanSchool to be incredibly problematic and therefore have replaced LanSchool with a software they are piloting entitled “ScreenBeam.” Tech liaison Hunter Yingling said, “This is a device that allows a wireless display of your computer to the TV or Smart board.  It is essentially a second monitor without a cable.  It also will allow students with WiFi capable devices, such as the laptops they will be receiving next year at the high school, to connect and display on the TV at the teacher’s discretion.”

Speaking of laptops, Chromebooks will soon be a thing of the past, as they are looking to be replaced with a Lenovo Yoga 11e or a Lenovo N23 Winbook. The benefit of this transition is not only that these new laptops will provide hard drive space, but also that Big Spring will once again be primarily a windows-run school, making the sharing and completing of documents much more simple and universal.

As the use of technology in the classroom continues to rise in importance, Questeq will continue to test out computers, software, and televisions in order to enrich the overall learning experience of Big Spring students for years to come.