Facing an Unprecedented Challenge
In Spring of 2020 Brentwood Academy in Tennessee, like thousands of schools across the country, began an unprecedented experiment in distance learning due to the pandemic. They quickly implemented readily available solutions to finish out the term, but those solutions were limited and cumbersome. So, as the summer began, Brentwood Academy started preparing for the upcoming year even though no one could predict whether students could return in-person or if schools would need to remain closed.
In response to the need for new approaches to education, ViewSonic launched a distance learning initiative and introduced a hybrid teaching solution called myViewBoard Classroom. ViewSonic then began working with Intel to accelerate the compute capabilities to enable their in-person solution to easily shift at any moment to hybrid or complete virtual learning.
"After our experience with video conferencing and trying to use our existing system to run classes at a distance, we knew we needed to enhance our technology in order to do our best work with a blended classroom or students in distance learning," says Jeff Bryant, Dean of Academics and Science Department Chair at Brentwood Academy. "The ViewBoard gives us so much flexibility to have students be able to see and hear clearly what's happening in the classroom and to be able to see first-hand the work that the teacher is presenting on the board."
A New Way of Learning
ViewSonic looked at how they could re-create the classroom experience virtually, enabling the same engagement between the student and teacher that happens in person. They focused on building a teacher- and student-centric platform that put learning and engagement first. The ViewSonic ViewBoard interactive displays powered by Intel Unite® and myViewBoard Classroom with Intel® Distribution of OpenVINO™ toolkit create an adaptable solution that delivers in-person whiteboarding capabilities and the ability to prepare and present from anywhere.
A centerpiece for collaboration, ViewBoard interactive displays deliver dynamic interactive capabilities. Teachers can engage students by imparting lessons to the whiteboard, using live annotation, and by adding interesting videos and pictures directly on the device. myViewBoard then connects that whiteboard experience to students who are distance learning—giving teachers the ability to teach in class and online at the same time. Students can collaborate online, working on a shared canvas, and they can learn anywhere with lessons that can be recorded and shared on demand.
Engagement is the premise of hybrid learning. How do we engage students and how do we keep them engaged? So, we're introducing ways of exploring things that weren't possible before. You can grab a video, you can grab a 3D object, you can get kids participating remotely in the lesson. —Craig Scott, CTO ViewSonic
Improving the Classroom Experience with AI
Learning is still a very human process, so even new technology solutions need a personal touch. ViewSonic is working with Intel to implement AI and deep learning solutions as part of the myViewBoard software ecosystem and use computer vision to improve the classroom experience. To better understand students' needs, the Intel® Distribution of OpenVINO™ toolkit makes it possible to display facial-expression recognition and mood indexing.1 This new innovation means that teachers will be able to gauge the mood, interest, and understanding of their students at a glance and then adjust to their needs both individually and as a group. So, fewer students will be left confused, frustrated, or bored.
"We can make the engagement experience much better for the teacher and students. ViewBoard collects data anonymously in a classroom and then offers real-time insights to teachers so they can make targeted adjustments—ultimately making the learning experience even better," says Wei Oania, Education Vertical GM in Intel Internet of Things Group. "A lot more things can happen as long as we keep having a conversation between the education community and technology community to talk about those problems and let us show them what's possible."
Looking Ahead, Beyond Education
Interactive learning is just the beginning. Intel and ViewSonic are using the technology that's helping address the current education system challenges to discover new applications. The ability to merge the physical and virtual spaces to bring teachers and students together can be used for smart conferencing. Using AI and machine learning to measure emotional engagement in the classroom can be also applied to retail spaces. Together, we'll be able to find innovative solutions that help shape the future of education and beyond.
Making hybrid learning more interactive and engaging is wonderful—and Intel, with partners like ViewSonic, is how wonderful gets done.