Established in 2001 in Taiwan, BenQ has been a pioneer in digitalizing over 3 lakh classrooms in the country which is over 50 percent of India’s total digital classrooms. Additionally, BenQ has extensively worked with various state governments under Operation Digital Board (ODB) to leverage technology in delivering quality education countrywide.
Following are excerpts from an interview with Rajeev Singh, managing director BenQ India and South Asia.
The education sector has been heavily disrupted by Covid-19. The focus of school is on creating ‘blended’ or ‘hybrid’ learning spaces that can address the needs of in-person and remote students. What has BenQ discovered in terms of the new norm of education?
The new norm of education should be focusing on health-related priorities so children can return to school safely, and developing the capability for blended learning with flexibility. Blended learning enables the teacher to bring in-class and remote teaching together by allowing remotely learning students to access the lesson at the same time. It makes in-person and online students experience the feeling of being in the same class together with no compromise in teaching quality.
What is the main challenge in Blended Learning?
Blended learning grows in popularity and utility with time and the prevailing circumstances. But with them arrive challenges as the importance of new educational technology for blended classrooms grows. Tools such as interactive displays help overcome hurdles by offering focal points for hybrid learning that bridges the digital divide existing between students from different locations and circumstances. Interactive flat panels (IFP) such as those made by BenQ further enhance blended learning by promoting fun gamification techniques that enhance student engagement. Thanks to an always-online and connected design, interactive displays assist in tracking student performance and attendance, whether in-class or from home.
Interactive displays form the rock-solid foundation that blended learning has been looking for. Inexpensive, versatile and eminently relatable, interactive displays connect educators and learners by helping overcome the many challenges blended learning presents.
Which BenQ solutions, in particular, can significantly ease the workflow for schools and students during the ongoing crisis and the new normal focussed around blended learning that is to follow?
The classroom IFPs in BenQ’s RP02 Series offer tools that can ease the workflow for teachers and students alike. All panels in the RP02 Series come with BenQ’s advanced ClassroomCare Technology that has Environmental Sensors for air pollution (PM2.5 and PM10), temperature and humidity indicators for teachers to open windows or turn on ventilation systems. They also offer teachers the benefits of in-class and cloud whiteboard collaboration with their EZWrite Whiteboarding Software. It helps make the lessons more interactive with easy whiteboard and annotation tools.
Another solution is the EW800ST which is a first-of-its-kind education projector that features cloud account integration, screenBenQ’s Hybrid Learning Solutions EW SPOTLIGHT FEATURE mirroring and smart app capabilities, as well as internet and wireless connectivity to promote blended learning and diversified teaching in K-12 classrooms. We strongly recommend our smart projectors, especially the E600 & E800 Series that work in an entirely wire-less, PC-less, and driver-less manner. Our specialised web cameras have been designed keeping in mind virtual learning and greatly enhance the quality of video lessons.
How can BenQ’s solutions ensure that the lives of teachers and remote students are made easier?
Creating a new blended learning space for in-class and remote students is the key here. BenQ interactive displays allow a new improved version of blended learning which overcomes many challenges of class-led distance learning. Interactive displays, classroom projectors and monitors for learning from home make it possible to combine face-to-face instruction and social distancing. This integrated solution allows students to interact with each other online, making every student feel included like they’re part of physical class.
We’ve seen the classroom and learning spaces really change over a short span of time. What directions are learning spaces going to further evolve in?
I think the biggest evolution of the classroom and learning spaces will see them shift from one display to two displays as the standard. Before Covid-19, we were already seeing a shift to the digital classroom. We were seeing display sizes increase. Three years ago, a 65- inch display was considered big but now we are seeing 75-80-inch displays becoming common in classrooms and I expect the display sizes to continue increasing. The increase in display sizes was being brought about as a response to the fact that students were presenting materials on screen as part of the ‘flipped classroom’ pedagogy and there was an active push from government to increase students’ accessibility to digital tools such as notebooks and laptops.
Covid-19 has further accelerated the rate of digital transformation. Schools and universities need to meet the needs of students in the classroom, and also ensure the presence of remote students. I believe the solution to this is a second display in learning spaces.