“It was one of those projects where the dream became a reality”
Queen Mary University of London recently installed 5 Pro Series touchscreens into the multimedia language-teaching labs.
Martin Barge is the Multimedia Language Resource Centre Manager in the School of Languages, Linguistics and Film and is responsible for the management of the language-teaching lab.
We interviewed Martin about the challenges and requirements that led to the decision to upgrade the labs’ AV technology.
“Technology changes fairly slowly in this setting - we tend to adopt new technology (software and hardware) based on what our teachers need to do in the classroom, rather than adopting technology for its own sake. Students expect the technology to be reliable, accessible and easy to use. They don’t seem to be too worried about classrooms being fitted out with the latest gadgetry but are more concerned that the technology enhances their learning experience and outcomes.”
In this instance, however, the AV tech in the 5 multi-media labs had become unworkable. Martin explains, “Previously the labs had interactive boards installed in the rooms, but the ‘interactive’ features of the devices failed to function as well as users’ expected. After a series of subsequent PC up-grades they became increasingly unfit for purpose - the resolutions and aspect ratios could not adjust to higher resolution wide-screen display outputs – so we needed to replace them.”
Martin worked with Reflex, the authorised college AV suppliers, who guided him through the different technologies, products and conducted the final install.
Martin explains, “We involved several experienced teachers, all of whom are keen users of technology within teaching, to trial the products and provide feedback before committing to the purchase.”
“We wanted a product that was durable, reliable, future-proof, easy to use and didn’t exceed our budget. We also wanted a product that would integrate easily with our existing systems and that would require only a minor adjustment for teachers in moving from the previous product to this product. The Pro Series from Clevertouch met all of those requirements.”
“The installation was very efficient,” Martin continues. “Reflex worked closely with me to plan the time schedule of the work so that it caused minimal disruption. They did an excellent job and in fact the installation was completed ahead of time.”
Martin says that the screens have been very well received by the teaching staff, “they’re making good use of the Lynx software as well as the inking tools of MS Word and PPT, and I’ve been told that the students love interacting with the Pro Series and have found that it has enhanced their learning.”
Asked how he feels about the entire project Martin says, “I’m most pleased by how easily and smoothly the project came to fruition. From having first seen demos of the screens online, to trying them out at the reseller’s office, and then having them installed, and up and running. It was one of those projects where the dream became a reality.”
Yag Depala, Sales Director at Reflex said, “This was a great project to be involved in and assisting the users at an early stage in determining the correct technology was key. Judging by the feedback received, the Pro series from Clevertouch was the ideal solution. It’s encouraging to see how quickly both the academics and the students have adopted the use of the technology.
Feedback from lecturers at Queen Mary’s:
“I’ve found the screens much more user friendly than the projectors we had in the past. First, turning it on and off takes less time and works every time. Second, because the image quality is so much better - one doesn’t have to turn the lights off in order for the screen to be clear.”
“It’s great that there are no calibration problems. I love the colourful range of backgrounds/pen colours and the ease with which you can incorporate visuals.”
“I like the way that the screens can be saved and uploaded to the VLE, too.”
“The students seem to like seeing them in use, especially when I’m using the ‘Screen to all’ function in the multimedia language labs.”
“I used the screens in writing and oral classes will all levels of Portuguese and they proved particularly helpful in writing classes. The tool I’ve used the most has been “start inking” on Microsoft Word. I’ve put up word documents (students’ essays. etc) on full screen mode and performed corrections in front of the group using the magic pen, like I was just correcting a students’ work with a regular marking pen. This has sped up corrections and freed up time that was used for other activities.”
“I love them. I notice most of all when I teach in a room which does not have them – then you notice how they streamline your work.”
“Since it is easier to use, we can use more tools on the screens (Ink Link) and the screens in the rooms are bigger so everything facilitates my teaching.”
“While I'm teaching, I'm always discovering new functions of the screens. One of the functions I use the most is annotating PowerPoint slides with students' ideas and class discussions and then sending them to the students. I also use the Lynx programme, which allows both myself and students to create mind maps on the board. This, I find, students particularly like because they feel more engaged and are contributing to the lesson.”
“The Lynx programme is also useful for sentence structure and vocabulary expansion. For example, you can create sentences, hide words/sections and elicit from students synonyms, antonyms and so on.”
It was one of those projects where the dream
became a reality