The Queensland school is continually pushing the boundaries of innovation in a bid to enhance learning and engagement for students; and turning to BenQ’s extensive product range to modernise their ICT equipment across campus was a deliberate step in this mission.
When BenQ – an internationally renowned provider of professional display solutions – announced its release of X-Sign Broadcast, the school was quick to jump on board.
X-Sign Broadcast is a new campus-based broadcast system which can push text, images, files, audio and video onto a classroom’s Interactive Flat Panel (IFP).
It is the perfect enabling tool for the 21st Century classroom, where interactivity and collaboration drive the teaching and learning taking place. Using the X-Sign Broadcast, teachers can deliver lesson content, administrators can send announcements and students can view class materials at any one time.
An upgrade from traditional public broadcast systems which can only broadcast voice, X-Sign Broadcast is a solution for schools wanting to communicate enriching, diverse material from any device.
Spanning Pre-Prep to Year 12, Coomera Anglican College chose X-Sign Broadcast precisely because of its flexibility, but also its ability to accommodate the diverse and ever changing needs of the classroom.
The school’s use of X-Sign Broadcast marks a major shift from the old-school classroom model, where teachers stand at the front of the class delivering content to compliant, note-taking students.
So how exactly did it enhance teachers practice?
“BenQ Technologies have added major value within the college. They’ve really improved the way in which our teachers have used the resources that are in the classroom,” Alex Delaforce, Head of Teaching & Learning at the school, says.
“One of the things that we’ve always tried to do with our technology is to magnify the effect of the teacher in the room.
“And the networking ability of the new board systems has really given teachers a big opportunity to explore that networking type scenario.”
Crucially, X-Sign Broadcast makes information easier to deliver – whether that’s to an individual classroom, a group of classrooms or shared across an entire school.
Seamlessly delivering content across multiple screens and platforms, X-Sign Broadcast ties communication systems together.
A user-friendly, cloud-based web interface allows schools to manage broadcasts anywhere, anytime and from any device. For multi-campus schools, X-Sign Broadcast can also send broadcasts to specific campuses.
Getting set up with X-Sign Broadcast is easy. Firstly, school administrators create an account for staff members through BenQ Identity’s Access Management System.
From here, staff members can edit their broadcast content, style and duration.
The grouping function helps ensure information is only sent to the recipients for whom it’s intended, while also reducing
the time and labour usually required to send messages to multiple people.
There are two modes of message delivery: Interrupt and Schedule.
Interrupt messages are those delivered to the class immediately, and appear as an audio/video announcement or as a moving banner on the IFP screen during a lesson.
This mode is useful for safety messages, as well as reminders and change notifications, such as cancelled classes, room reassignments or deadlines.
With several states recently introducing a mobile phone ban in classrooms, this feature could be particularly helpful when
parents are attempting to communicate with their children in class.
“Sally Smith in Grade 2, please go to the Principal’s office” might be an example of an interrupt message broadcasting on an IFP.
X-Sign Broadcast can deliver an extensive list of customised messages, including evacuation and emergency alerts.
IT Services Manager Darryl Hall says this feature has fast-tracked the school’s emergency procedures.
“So when an evacuation actually occurs within the college, we can very easily and seamlessly push an evacuation plan out to the classroom so the teachers can visually see the plan and it helps them coordinate the students,” he says.
Schedule messages involve pre-loaded content which appears at the time the user sets it to appear, even if the screen has been switched off.
School administrators can also manage which users can send messages to a group by adding or removing them.
For students, the multimedia allows for an enriching learning experience, by feeding them a variety of teaching materials throughout the day.
With X-Sign Broadcast, students can continue their learning during lunchtime and other breaks.
For more about X-Sign Broadcast, click here.
InstaShare software changes the teaching and learning game
One of the softwares designed to enhance collaboration and complement X-Sign Broadcast is InstaShare.
InstaShare is designed for seamless wireless presentation and collaboration that allows smooth streaming of both audio files and full HD videos. It runs two-way mirroring between IFP and mobile devices, including smartphones, tablets, and laptops, without the need for video cables interconnecting the devices. It can also be used in-room or in remote spaces.
Pre-Prep teacher Rachael Fernandez says the software has enriched learning in her classroom.
“At the Early Learning Centre age group, InstaShare’s changed the way that I teach, as I can annotate and collaborate with [students] at the same time.
“So I’ll be typing on a laptop and then the student can see that typing come up on the screen, and then between the two of us it becomes a collaborative piece of work,” she says.
InstaShare also supports two-way touch on Windows and macOS platforms, which allows users to control what is displayed using either a BenQ IFP or personal device.
“Another great feature of the annotation tool itself is the ability to capture what we’ve been doing in class in terms of annotation and to quickly save that and store that for later, so we can refer back to that,” eLearning Specialist Tadgh Treanor says.
InstaShare allows up to four devices to simultaneously share their screen to an IFP, allowing a host to select which screen to focus on.
For more about InstaShare, click here.
“Quite often in my subject in digital technologies, we’re using both iPads as well as tablet smart devices, smart phones for VR as well as our Windows devices the students have, and the ability to put all those up at the same time and reflect and contrast on those is really beneficial for student engagement and learning,” Treanor says.
Rob Wehl, Head of Year 7, says both X-Sign Broadcast and InstaShare improve communication and idea sharing and can be accommodated to suit a variety of classroom needs.
“So I guess the InstaShare function is incredibly good that we can collaborate within a classroom.
“However, what the X-Sign broadcasts allows us to do is that we can take that collaboration from students and teachers all the way across multiple classes.
“So for me, I have five Year 7 classes that we collaborate all the time with using that broadcast system and then the InstaShare allows us to do that within individual classes with their individual teachers.”
Wehl says he enjoys the ability to instantly communicate with students, who often forget about reminders or other classroom materials.
“I guess I’ve been teaching now for 10 to 12 years and I’ve used lots of products in a classroom ... I’ve used projectors, I’ve used screens, I’ve used a number of different things.
“For me personally, this has always been where I wanted to get to with InstaShare and also the X-Sign Broadcast. It’s reached the point that I’m happy to use.”
Creating an engaging learning environment has never been easier at Coomera Anglican College, and Hall firmly recommends both X-Sign Broadcast and InstaShare to other schools.
“InstaShare straight out of the box nailed all of our requirements. It was very reliable [and] easy to use and in the classroom that’s key and critical to teachers,” he says.
“I would definitely recommend X-Sign broadcast and InstaShare to other schools. Not only is it a very affordable product, its features set is huge. It’s very easy to manage and maintain and very easy to implement and makes IT life a lot easier for us.”
For more on BenQ Education Interactive Flat Panel, including X-Sign Broadcast and InstaShare, click here.