Published in the May 2015 edition of k-12 TechDecisions.com:
The classrooms at Lèman Preparatory School have Apple TV’s, SMART boards, touch panel controls, iPads and more.
By Chrissy WinskeNovember 20, 2014
When Léman Manhattan Preparatory school moved into a new facility to accommodate its growing size, it also invested in new classroom technology like SMART Boards, IP clocks, a Crestron Control system, Apple TV’s and more. AV integrator Presentation Products, Inc. handled the install.
The facility’s new classrooms feature fully digital signal processing and a custom wall mounted equipment rack that houses all AV equipment and the classroom PC. The Crestron touch panel controls the entire system and along with the rack, is connected to the school’s network so that Léman’s technology department can easily control and monitor all AV systems from one central location.Tech staff can turn equipment on/off at preset times, monitor system components like projector lamps and run diagnostic tests.
Students at Léman also have iPads in the classroom, which are used in conjunction with classroom presentation technology.
“We have multiple inputs on each of our SMART boards so teachers either airplay their work or they use a computer that’s in the room connected to the SMART board,” says Julius Blakeny, Technology manager, Léman Preparatory School.
Teachers are using the interactive technology to drive collaboration in the classroom and to enhance language courses. For example, the Mandarin teacher uses an iPad to demonstrate how to draw Mandarin characters. Léman’s lower school uses a document camera that is connected to a laptop to airplay images to the SMART board. Although the school has provided access to a document camera for each classroom, it did not standardize on one platform.
“There’s a mixture of products. We have some from SMART and we acquired some from Presentation Products, but we have two technology coaches that train teachers how to use them,” Blakeny explains.
The school also invested in digital signage that hangs in hallways, elevator banks and communal spaces like the weight room and cafeteria. The signage is used to promote school communications and content is developed the by the MAC department, which stands for Marketing, Admissions, Communication. In the future, Blakeny says he’d like to see some of that digital signage replaced by Apple TV’s.
“I’m moving towards Apple TV because it’s going to give the marketing department an opportunity to get more messaging out. It’s easier for me to work with the Apple TV and use an iTunes playlist. All the marketing department has to do is come up with the content and upload it.”
Léman Prep also recently purchased several Epson interactive projectors that were installed on the school’s newly opened 19th floor. The projectors are wall mounted and they use a traditional whiteboard as their projection surface. This means instructors have interactive functionality when they want it, but also retain the use of that basic whiteboard.
“The teachers love the dual functionality of the display that allows them to be old school and write, but still have use of that technology,” Blakeny says. With the projectors, there has been hardly any downtime and fewer support calls from teachers. In the past, the interactive whiteboards would occasionally fail to orient properly prompting issues with touch recognition. That isn’t a problem with the projectors.
Having an array of technology in the classroom has really helped to transform the learning environment for Léman students and make collaboration a lot easier.
“The teachers are loving that there are new ways to teach the kids and immerse them,” Blakeny says. Students can actually share their work with the entire class on a screen as opposed to people squinting their eyes to look at a piece of paper and see what it is.”
About the author
Chrissy Winske – Site Editor
Chrissy Winske is the K-12 editor for TechDecisions Media. She is also a contributing writer for Commercial Integrator, TechDecisions’ sister publication. Chrissy joined the TD family in 2012 and has covered AV and IT trends, mobile learning, safety and security and the digital classroom.