BenQ: Maintaining classroom health in a blended learning environment - Education Matters Magazine
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BenQ: Maintaining classroom health in a blended learning environment

Students may be back in the classroom, but COVID-19 has highlighted the need, and opportunity, for schools to embrace technology.

Blended learning – combining online and interactive technologies with traditional learning environments – is a concept that had significant momentum even before the pandemic forced some students into learning from home. Now, it’s practically a necessity.

Sanjay Handa, BenQ Business Manager ANZ, says blended learning has really come to the forefront of education in the past few years.

“The curriculum is encouraging more interactive, collaborative learning. It’s not so much about the old style of sitting at a desk and taking notes while the teacher’s talking,” Handa says.

There are many ways blended learning can be incorporated in a classroom. One example Handa gives is each student having a tablet or laptop with the ability to collaborate wirelessly on an interactive flat panel, taking the place of a traditional whiteboard. Remote students could be dialled in on their monitor at home, utising the cloud whiteboarding features.

“This creates an environment where student can either come up to the screen and annotate on the board, or cast the screen of their own devices to the main panel up front to share their work with the class,” Handa says.

“BenQ has continued to base its technology on the ever changing requirements of schools. They’re moving away from traditional projectors and whiteboards, where you have to take a photo or erase everything before starting on something new.”

BenQ’s flagship ClassroomCare RP02 Series Interactive Flat Panel acts as a centrepiece of the blended learning model. The panels, available in sizes of 65-inch, 75-inch, and 86-inch, allow for wireless casting and connection and easy in-class and online collaboration.

A “smart” projector can be set up in tandem, or in place of, the flat panel to create a similar environment. BenQ’s Smart Projector uses an Android-based operating system with all the same features and benefits Android offers in other devices, being able to cast content or work with files off a USB instead of requiring a cable.

“You can share the interactive display with students’ devices to annotate or collaborate and mirror that work over a bigger screen – 100 inches plus – which only a projector can really achieve,” Handa says.

“It’s making the traditional technology smart. There’s a lot of ways that’s a good thing for the classroom, and the results prove that.”

But new technology is not the only aspect of classroom learning that COVID-19 has brought to light. Health and hygiene are bigger concerns than ever before, and with interactive equipment like a flat panel, questions can be raised around the spreading of germs.

The BenQ RP Series overcomes this with a silver ion nanoparticle coating that kills troublesome germs and viruses on contact. Learn more HERE.

But this is only one measure BenQ has taken to ensure its products contribute to classroom health care. Handa says with the focus on germs, viruses, and hygiene due to COVID-19, people may be forgetting the importance of things like proper eye-care.

“When children go to school, they’re naturally spending most of their time in the classroom. Keeping them safe and healthy has an effect on their overall health and that requires a diversified approach. Smart eye-care features are just as important as an anti-germ screen when it comes to physical health,” he says.

“BenQ has always been mindful of the effects that screen time can have on user’s eyes, not just the developing eyes of students, but  the teachers who  are delivering lessons every day. Most of the time in very close proximity to the interactive panel.”

BenQ interactive flat panels incorporate certified blue light filters, anti-glare and flicker-free technology to minimise the impact its technology has on the eye.

“Students are using a lot more technology – from iPads and laptops to 86-inch panels – exposing them to higher levels of blue light than ever before. There are more and more studies relating to eye strain and, over time, degenerative eye disease like myopia,” Handa says.

“This is especially prevalent in Asian countries, where most parents and teachers are serious about eye-care and are taking action. They’ve seen an uptick in myopia cases, so they’re using more projection devices, like Smart Projector, and eye-safe technology in schools.”

Beyond germ protection and smart eye-care, BenQ has even looked into how they can improve the very atmosphere of the classroom. Bad indoor air quality presents a myriad of issues from decreased learning efficiency and greater risk of lifelong health problems.

The RP Series interactive flat panel features new and improved air quality sensors, measuring CO2 and PM 2.5 (like dust) concentration, temperature, and humidity, displayed through a widget on the panel’s main page.

“There have been studies that show high concentrations of CO2 are quite detrimental to  the attendance, concentration and learning outcomes of the students. They can’t take in as much information as they possibly could,” Handa says.

“Teachers get easy access to this information, so they can take small steps like opening a window or door so students can get some fresh air.”

With blended learning likely to play a key role in the future of education, Handa and BenQ stress the importance of maintaining classroom care with any new development.

“Blended learning has been a part of the learning approach for a lot of schools for a while, but it hasn’t been as balanced as it is now. It’s great to be able to have this technology in the classroom – and involve students who are remote – most of all, it’s important the best technology available is being used,” Handa says.

“BenQ can introduce a complete solution to schools, based around the latest interactive display technology, all with student wellbeing at the centre.”

For more information, click HERE.