EPSON Smart Boards in classrooms become new wave for Gull Lake technology

The Gull Lake high school has introduced EPSON Smart Boards to all classrooms. These new systems are intended for teachers to expand their teaching capabilities and introduce new ways of learning to students.

These smart board systems turn whiteboards into a digital workspace which allows teachers and students to draw, highlight, and do much more. This further encourages teachers to find different ways of teaching like audio and video lessons, visual multimedia and power points. They come with an e-stilus that detects any user input on the screen, and a small microphone that can be used for larger, or louder classes. Shining at 3500 lumens and color brightness, these projectors are much stronger than our traditional projectors. This allows for better viewing from all over the classroom, which is particularly helpful for students who are in the back. 

Rylee Hovanec using the SMART Board in Newspaper Class taking advantadge of the draw tool. Photo courtesy of Molly Clark

With lots of advantages of these new systems, there are a few disadvantages the number one is cost. The traditional chalkboard was very first in line for new teaching styles in classrooms, then following, the whiteboard. Now comes the new smart boards, and these are not cheap. There are different models and types so they do vary in price around $2,000, but they are still not super affordable.

Another disadvantage of these systems are how delicate they are. The hardware itself is very fragile and can be damaged very easily, the software alike. Although no major issues have occured yet.

“Most if not all the problems have been simple quick fixes with either a cable issue, a driver or software problem, or a defective piece of equipment,” said Mike Stephayn, Gull Lake’s Supervisor of Technology Services.

There are three main types of learners, kinesthetic, auditory and visual. These whiteboards in specific focus on visual learners and according to Inc., approximately 65 percent of people learn best visually.

These new systems will allow these learners to thrive. These types of learners understand best by using whiteboards, looking at maps and images or sharing photos. This new system allows lots of visual space and creativity for students to engage and spread ideas. Those who learn best through visual learning tactics will highly benefit from these new systems. 

Because it’s a touchscreen, multiple students can use the board at once. This means they can work together to solve the problem while building relationships with one another.

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The initial push to have these installed in the Gull Lake school district started in the 2017 bond by Tony Nuismer, the former technology supervisor, which was then passed down to Stephayn.

“The current EPSON projectors were at the end of their life, and the manufacturer has stopped reproducing replacement bulbs and other parts,” said Stephayn. 

Not only is the high school getting these new projectors, but the middle school will get them as well, following afterward, the Ryan Intermediate. These projects will begin after the high school installation has been completed, which is expected to be by Thanksgiving break.

“After being installed in every classroom, they are expected to be done by the end of the school year,” according to Ryan Woodrow, Ryan Intermediates Principal.

Fully installed SMART board in an English classroom. Photo Courtesy of Molly Clark

New technology can bring bumps in the road for teachers. The new projectors now project onto the everyday whiteboard. Because of this, teachers lose whiteboard space when the projector is on.

It also means that the screen is much lower on the front board. This makes it somewhat difficult to see from certain angles for students. Although this problem is apparent in lots of the high school classrooms, teachers are quickly adjusting to the new screen and size, by moving desks and other classroom furniture. 

The software that the new projectors run off of is very compliant and easy to use.

“Gail Goebel, Gull Lake’s Instructional Technologist, has done an amazing job putting together quick tips and training documents,” said Stephayn. “As the school year goes on, we will be providing more demonstrations of this new tech.”

Molly Clark

Molly Clark

Hi! My name is Molly Clark and I'm a junior at Gull Lake High School. I enjoy writing, taking pictures and traveling. I would like to pursue writing and turn it into my profession.

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