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COVER STORY

‘Classroom of the Future’

Audiovisual aids and Interactive Whiteboard

Technology plays the most important role in modernising global education systems and India shows no exception in that. In such scenario, the usage of Interactive Whiteboard and Audiovisual equipments is emerging as one of the powerful pedagogical innovations in the teaching and learning process. sangita ghosh de, digitallearning, explores.

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The advancement and inventions in the domain of technology are having an unprecedented effect on the methods of teaching-learning process globally developing the concept of “classroom of the future” as an extremely advanced and modified picture. Technology plays the most important role in modernising global education systems and India shows no exception in that. Need and awareness for technologyenabled education is spreading in across the verticals of the education system in India. According to the researchers and experts, technological determinism and the predictability of technological change in education have now become the area of research and analysis. In the process, the idea of multi-media concept in education, has gained much momentum where the integration of voice, data and video resources creates synergistic effect. The emergence of this new concept of media convergence is also changing the curriculum in universities all over the world. Multimedia, which also connotes to Audiovisual term of the medium, is usually a combination of computerised and electronic devices that includes a combination of text, audio, still images, animation, video, and interactivity content forms in contrast to conventional media which only use traditional forms of printed or hand-produced material. Here particular attention is paid to the audio and visual presentation of the material with the goal of improving comprehension and retention. In that scenario, the usage of Interactive Whiteboard (IWB) and Audiovisual equipments is emerging as one of the powerful pedagogical innovations in the teaching and learning process. The background and opportunity According to a recent research report by Futuresource Consulting Ltd. of United Kingdom, India provides a significant market opportunity for suppliers of IT equipments, because of its 4.9 million classrooms spread across 1.2 million schools (of which 1.6 million are in private schools - private schools only represent 19% of the total number of schools in India). Overall, there are almost as many private schools in India as there are government schools which have computers, however, the market is extremely fragmented with a vast disparity in the education system throughout the country.

In most schools, IT equipment tends to be located in an IT lab as opposed to individual classrooms, thereby limiting the potential penetration opportunities for IWBs and projectors. According to Jaemes Shanley, Director of Sales-Asia Pacific-Latin America-New Mexico, mimio - a leading IWB vendor, “Given that today’s students tend to be already “digital” in their awareness and orientation, one could also argue that use of Interactive Whiteboard in the classroom simply makes the environment more relevant for students. The IWB and related interactive systems at work in the classroom not only utilise the power and versatility of digital media and information as content for learning but also synchronise the classroom context with the contemporary world outside the school.” Outside IT Labs, a cost-effective bundled solution incorporating PC, projector and IWB – appears to be the best route to increasing IWB sales. With high levels of import tax providing a significant barrier to market entry in a price sensitive market, vendors will have to consider long term production/import strategies in order to be competitive. Local assembly or local factories are potential considerations. General awareness about Projectors and Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs) is reasonably high, some schools have already started purchasing and many can be immediate targets for technology. But still there are a number of schools where there are a very few computers and virtually no Projectors, Interactive Whiteboards or any other technology. Although such schools are keen to implement new technology, they are dependent on State or Central Government funding. Any manufacturer succeeding in

private schools will be well placed when the Government starts implementation. There are 5-10 States to focus on initially. Over 200,000 projectors and 100,000 IWB sales are forecast in the next 3 years, affirms the report. Interactive Whiteboard In that scenario, Interactive White Board or Electronic White Board is emerging as one of the powerful pedagogical innovation in the teaching and learning process. They were originally developed for office settings and are a relatively new technology to education. The usage and application of IWB is fast catching up to the pace as a tool to enhance teaching, and as a tool to support learning. A number of themes were identified about the potential benefits of IWBs for teaching in terms of flexibility and versatility, multimedia/ multimodal presentation, efficiency supporting planning and the development of resources, modelling ICT skills, interactivity and participation in lessons. IWBs have now become flexible and versatile teaching tool across age groups and settings, ranging from nursery, to further and higher education and even distance education. This versatility extends to the content of lessons and activities. One of the major advantages claimed with regard to IWBs as a teaching tool is that they are ‘interactive’. Experts state that students are motivated in lessons with an IWB because of ‘the high level of interaction – students enjoy interacting physically with the board, manipulating text and images’. IWBs present ‘more opportunities for interaction and discussion’, thereby exemplifying the ambiguity contained within the term ‘interactive’. In addition digital LEARNING

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to promoting the technical interactivity of IWBs, broader pedagogic claims are also being made that IWBs facilitate more interactive lessons. It is felt by some teachers that it enhances teacher–pupil interaction, ‘by encouraging students to offer answers to questions, which if correct can be noted on a flipchart’ and was supported by ‘the strong visual and conceptual appeal of the information and learning resources that are displayed’. Interactive White Board or IWB, is a type of large interactive display that connects to a computer and projector including web browsers and proprietary software. A projector projects the computer’s desktop onto the board’s surface, where users control the computer using a pen, finger or other device. The board is typically mounted on a wall or on a floor stand. Dixons City Academy in the North of England was the first non college or university learning environment to make use of interactive whiteboards after the schools then principal Sir John Lewis showed a keen interest in the developing technology. An interactive whiteboard can now be found in every classroom of the school. IWB enables the user to draw, write or making notes, drag and markup onto the surface controlling the PC. The Interactive White Board (IWB) device is connected to a computer through a wired medium such as USB or a serial port cable or via a wireless connection like Bluetooth. The combination of mouse and keyboard emulation allows the user to control the computer display almost exclusively from the Interactive White Board. Interaction between the user and the content that is projected onto the Interactive Whiteboard primarily takes the form of a either a digital pen or stylus (Electromagnetic) or a finger or other form of token pen (Resistive). Associated accessories The IWB operation needs support from a series of accessories in terms of a multimodal point of functionaries. The first and foremost one is a Projector that enables the display of the computer monitor to be projected onto the white board. ‘Short Throw’ projectors and of late ‘Ultra Short Throw’ projectors have shown more efficiency in the operation. Next a Track allows the white board to be placed in a way to provide additional wall space at the front of the room. Some tracks provide power and data to the white board as well. A Mobile stand is also necessary to move the white board 8

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to be moved between rooms. The height is also adjustable as well. A Printer allows copies of the white board notes to be made. Slate or tablet makes it possible for the students to control the white board away from the front of the room. There is a Personal Response System which facilitates the students to answer test questions posted on the white board or take part in polls and surveys. Attached is also a Wireless unit through which the interactive white board is connected to a computer and operates wirelessly. A Remote control allows the presenter to control the board from different parts of the room and eliminates on-screen toolbars. Interactive Whiteboards are sold in a wide range of varieties based on the technology and the usage. Resistive- These kind of Whiteboards

are composed of two flexible sheets coated with a resistive material and separated by a microthin air gap. This technology allows one to use a finger, a stylus, or any other pointing device on the surface of the board. Electromagnetic- These interactive Whiteboards work on magnetic sensors that react and send a message back to the computer when they are activated by a magnetic pen. A number of wires are attached to the computer from the board. Other alternative and emerging sensing technologies include: • Optical and Infrared- The white board surface responds to the pressure created by finger and marker through infrared light. This technology allows whiteboards to be made of any material; with this system no dry-erase marker or stylus is needed. • Embedded Dot Patterns- Here the white board surface have a microscopic dot pattern embedded in the writing surface where a wireless digital pen with an infrared camera reads the dot pattern to determine the exact location on the board. • Capacitive- Here, just like the

electromagnetic type, the capacitive type works with an array of wires behind the board. In this case however the wires interact with fingers touching the screen instead of an electromagnetic pen. Laser- The board reacts to infrared laser beams that sweeps across the white board surface. The board surface is usually constructed with a hard surface like usually ceramic on steel, which has long life and erases cleanly. Ultrasonic and Infrared- Here, the marker or stylus sends out both an ultrasonic sound and an infrared light to the white board surface that is made of any material. Ultrasonic only- The devices have two ultrasonic transmitters in two corners and two receivers in the other two corners. Touching with a pen or even the finger in the whiteboard causes these point waves to be suppressed, and the receivers communicate the fact to the controller. Frustrated Internal ReflectionInfrared light bounces within a flexible and transparent surface. Image processing software turns the light spots observed by the cameras into mouse or pointer movements.

The usage The interactive Whiteboards are meant to replacing traditional Whiteboards or flipcharts. The school network digital video distribution system can also be interconnected through using an interactive whiteboard and can also interact with online shared annotation and drawing environments in the form of interactive vector based graphical websites. They offer a powerful facility for integrating media elements into teaching to enhance content and support collaborative learning. Interactive whiteboard serves the purpose of an electronic file and allows the teacher to keep notes and annotations for later distribution in both paper as well as in electronic formats. Companies and projects are now focusing on creating supplemental instructional materials specifically designed for interactive whiteboards. Interactive whiteboards are also being used for shared reading lessons and Mimic books are one such resource which is being used for shared reading and allows teachers to project children’s books onto the interactive whiteboard to mimic books. “IWB’s are


the most important tools of day to day learning they have changed the way we teach and train. They spare teachers form routine mundane work. A greater learning experience with real and lively images is achieved. Besides, a copy of session is saved and can be handed to students for further revision. Further utilising IWB features of Internet and Netconferencing takes the session beyond the boundaries of Classroom,” voices Mohammed Ghouse, Manager, (Analyst & Media), Scientech Technologies Pvt. Ltd. IWB can also be integrated in the process of the Learner Response System. Manufacturers provide the facility of classroom response systems that are integrated with the interactive white board products along with handheld ‘clickers’ that are operated via Infrared or Radio signals, which also enables the analysis of the student performance for subsequent review. With these facilities combined, teachers can present material and receive feedback from students in order to direct instruction more effectively and carry out formal assessments and tests. Audiovisual Equipments Of late Audiovisual aids have become one of the most effective and advanced mode of communicating with people. There are a variety of Audiovisual aids giving wider option to the user to select which are appropriate to the method. Audiovisual aids communicate facts and ideas through the eyes to the mind and emotions. Visual aids include films, slides, videos, overhead projection, books, photographs, models and charts. Audio aids communicate ideas through the form of music or tape recordings, television, records, sound films, etc. It is possible to produce education and

communication materials with the mix of sounds on tape, particularly by mixing music, sound effects and dialogue along with the visuals and text but keeping it simple and uncluttered. The modern set of equipments of Audiovisual component synchronise sound with vision in the most effective manner. Audiovisual aids strengthen an instructor’s verbal presentation while helping his students capture a specific message. Audiovisual aids keep an audience’s attention throughout a presentation and help them remember particular information. If instructors use simple, efficient aids, they will enhance their teaching. The recent Projectors and Display Product Plasma Display panels and giant video walls, LCD Screen, multimedia projectors are the vital components of the Audiovisual aids that are in vogue in the education sector of late. LCD Screen – Liquid Crystal Display televisions (LCD TV) are one of the most effective ways of the Audiovisual communications in the teaching-learning process, where the television sets use LCD technology to produce images. The screens are wider, thinner and lighter than of the conventional screens of similar display size, and are available in much larger sizes as well. This combined set of features made LCDs more practical than Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) for many roles. LCD TVs are quickly catching up the market displacing the major competitors in the large-screen market, the plasma display panel and rearprojection television. LCDs are, by far, the most widely produced and sold television technology today, pushing all other technologies into niche roles, say experts. Plasma Display PanelA Plasma Display Panel (PDP) is a type of large and flat panel display of 80 cm or larger. A mixture of noble gases are filled in between innumerable tiny cells of two panels of glass. The noble gas layer in the cells is turned into a plasma through electrical emission process, which emits ultraviolet light that excites

phosphors to emit visible light. Plasma displays should not be confused with LCDs, as it uses different technology, look similar in presence though. Multimedia and 3D Projector– It’s a video projector that takes a signal and multiplies an image on a projection screen using a lens. The projectors needs bright light to project the image, and the recent technology can work on the curves, blurriness, and other inconsistencies through manual settings. These days projectors are widely used for classroom training with live applications in many schools and educational institutes, connected to an interactive white board, PCs, laptops in an interactive teaching learning process. Of late 3D projectior, one of the most advanced methods of mapping threedimensional points to a two-dimensional plane has come up with new age technology. The most current methods for displaying graphical data are based on planar two-dimensional media, but the technology of 3D projector is widespread, especially in computer graphics and pictures. The usage of Audiovisual equipments give the necessary variation and a change of pace in the study material to help maintain the students’ attention and interest. With the pictures available in the presentation, students actually become able to speak and write on a topic enhancing language skill. The aids also ensure bigger student participation to achieve maximum effectiveness. The market 1 million Interactive Whiteboards will be sold globally in 2010 according to new Futuresource report . The Interactive Whiteboard (IWB) phenomenon continues to take hold, with nearly 750,000 boards sold worldwide in 2009 and the market on track to top 1 million sales in 2010.

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Visual Instruments, India Pvt. Ltd.

Epson

The obstacles

Source: Futuresource Consulting Ltd.

The interactive-whiteboard industry is expected to reach one of every seven classrooms in the world by 2011. In India, currently 0.2% of schools have Interactive whiteboards. By 2011 that figure is forecast to reach 4.7%. “All regions experienced major growth last year, spread across multiple countries rather than localised hotspots,” says Colin Messenger, Senior Consultant, Futuresource. “Back in 2005 only three countries sold more than 10,000 IWBs; last year we saw 12 countries hit this level. Driven by continued technological developments, our projections show that one in six classrooms will have an Interactive Whiteboard by 2012. There is a justifiably strong mood of optimism amongst manufacturers.” In the 66 countries covered within the Futuresource report, Messenger calculates there are over 31 million classrooms, a huge market potential for companies operating within this sector. “Few markets hold the promise of education, where we’ll see very strong sales growth for at least the next five years. It’s remarkable to see how IWB technology allows teachers to connect with students in much greater depth, bringing the outside world into the classroom and transforming lessons into exciting world experiences. That’s the tangible component which continues to drive this market forward,” says Messenger. In the Indian education sector, the estimated installed base of IWBs is 9k and projectors 112k. These numbers are forecast to increase to 111k and 276k by 2011. It may be more relevant to consider IWB penetration by school not classroom. “Private schools are investing every year to increase the ICT classrooms and also on up gradation of existing class rooms. In the government sector the ICT growth depends on the funds allocation by the central government to states,” observes Harish A. K., Senior Business Manager, 10

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Research says that a potential barrier for IWB sales is that, in many Indian schools, computers tend to be used in computer labs rather than in classrooms. The implication for IWB sales is that, initially, the opportunity may be a single sale per school into the labs until computers expand from the labs into classrooms. Therefore, it may be more relevant to consider IWB penetration by school not classroom. Currently 0.2% of schools have Interactive whiteboards. By 2011 that figure is forecast to reach 4.7%, explains the report of Futuresource. The opinion is that the Indian Government needs to play a much more active role and take the lead before we can expect a big jump in technology implementation; this will require a real spending focus However, in the last 18 months the Central (not State) Government has accelerated ICT deployment in schools and has funded some early tenders and have focused on K11 and K12 schools. The Indian Government realises that there is a real need for quality education in order to match international standards. Technology is not directly an issue but promises to spend on schools and education are high on the list. The roadmap

education, using technology and resulting a huge potential of quality development of mankind, he further added. According to Ghouse, at Scientech, “Serious and sincere efforts are required for further penetration of IWB ‘s in our education system. Therefore, incentives for schools and colleges for setting up themselves on the 21st century track is also required through some government policy.” The observations say that India will undoubtedly become one of the world’s largest ICT markets in the coming years as the country already has an exceptional world class infrastructure of knowledgeable expert companies fully capable of delivering highly effective ICT implementations nationwide. “In my opinion, what will both trigger and catapult the growth will be the alignment of these highly capable Indian private company resources and suppliers of world leading solutions with government policy and commitment to applying the powerful leverage of ICT to Indian public education,” says Shanley at mimio. Further to that, according to Harish at Epson, “The average usage would be 4 hours every day for 5 days a week and only 25% of the class rooms are equipped with computer aided teaching, though. As the teaching methodology has changed India needs to equip teachers on the computer aided teaching methodology which will play a key role in increase of computer aided teaching.” But lack of money is the main barrier of installing IWB, say experts. Installation can be difficult due to the huge distances and lack of knowledge in some schools. The school environment also causes many challenges like power supplies, distance and basic infrastructure. More importantly, the message about IWBs needs to get through the schools across the country. \\

The future picture of the IWBs and multimedia equipments in terms of its usage and demand will be higher and it is crystal clear, say experts and market leaders. There is an obvious major boom to see in the education sector in India in terms of using technology in comparison to the global scenario. “As the world is moving towards technology driven education system, India is also not far behind and capturing the pace very fast,” foresees Pankaj Kayathwal, Business Vertical Manager LG Electronics India. There is also a good competition growing in between the private and government and state run institutes in India in terms of the quality of Source: Futuresource Consulting Ltd.


digitalLEARNING-Apr-2010-[6-11]-Cover Story-Classroom of the Future' Audiovisual aids and Interactiv