Touch tables & Classroom Integration for the Future
It’s blog time again, and you’d think by now I’d have little to say, especially after talking and blogging all last week at InfoComm, an AV Industry trade show. I always want to share something relevant and/or interesting (hopefully both!) and this week I was drawing somewhat of a blank.
Jonathan here in marketing gave me some inspiration however by sharing this article on Testing Touch Screen Tables in Classrooms from CNN.
The gest of the article is that students seem to enjoy working on touch tables for collaborative learning and projects. The tables engage kids by enrolling more senses in the learning experience and allowing them to work together real time with their hands. The drawbacks were that different groups would progress at different speeds, and that it was hard for teachers to tell which teams were “working” at the task, and which ones were “faking it”.
Enter Mersive Solstice. I just learned about Mersive’s Solstice software last week. Ironically enough, I found out about it by talking to higher education technology managers and asking them what new product they were excited about. Solstice was mentioned every time and I gave it my Innovation Award as a result.
This product allows for collaboration. There is a main PC in the classroom that runs the software. Each device in the room, whether it is an Apple, Windows, or Android product, or in this case a Windows based touch table, can have a Solstice Client installed on it as well. This client allows the screen of each device to be shared to the main classroom screen, or a confidence monitor at the teacher’s desk, giving a view of each device on the system simultaneously.
Now a teacher or instructor could see from their podium or desk, exactly who is exceling, who is struggling, who is working, and who is biding their time until the recess bell. If the classroom has teams all working at tables that may be working on separate tasks, Solstice makes it easy to share the results of each team’s project on the main screen together as well.
The platform really takes the results of small team collaboration that happens at the touch table, and creates a canvas that allows them to be shared with the large group to collaborate in a whole new way. It also gives the option for the small team’s work to be observed privately by the teacher or professor.
It is exciting to see that teams liked working on touch tables, and even more exciting that most of the drawbacks observed in these tests, can actually be addressed with some great off the shelf software like Mersive’s Solstice. I’m confident we will see many classrooms leveraging both of these platforms more and more in the future.
Author Bio | Mark Coxon | Horizon Display
Mark started his technology career at IBM in 2000 before migrating into AV integration in early 2002. He currently works at Horizon Display, an interactive multitouch hardware and software provider. Mark lives in Orange County with Lesley, his wife of 11 years and his 3 children.