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Before Classroom Screen There Was…The Interactive Whiteboard
About 10-15 years ago, before the advent of the iPad and more portable technology solutions in education the Interactive Whiteboard was a longed-for tool in many classrooms. Relatively prohibitive due to cost, purchase prices did fall and many schools were able to afford to place them in classrooms.
As years and technology progressed, the need to have an interactive whiteboard (IWB) dwindled as schools sought to invest in iPads and Apple TVs which had the ability to use interactivity through apps. However,
Enter Classroom Screen
Classroom Screen is an online ‘whiteboard’ that teachers can project to their boards giving students information and allows for the use of different teaching tools.
Laurens Koppers is a teacher from the Netherlands who developed Classroom Screen because he couldn’t find any similar resource. He has done a terrific job and because Classroom Screen was made by a teacher it has been designed with classroom processes in mind.
Features of Classroom Screen
The tool is simple and free to use. Logging into Classroom Screen will automatically set up a page. A clear yet appealing background image loads. These images are able to be changed, and Laurens has recently added gif files which add a nice subtle movement to your whiteboard.
Many tools have been embedded in an easy to access menu bar at the bottom of the screen.
- Language – The Classroom Screen tool has many languages to choose from. A bonus tool if you are teaching a language class.
- Background – As mentioned, the backgrounds are varied and there is a choice of static or gif displays.
- Random Student Name Selector – Preloading a text file will allow you to add student names or words which will then be selected at random with this tool.
- Sound Level Meter – this tool will ‘listen’ to the noise in your environment and alert you via a bell ring should the level go louder than that which has been set. Watch out for the ‘ping’!
- QR Code – Have you ever put a website address on your board in the hopes that students will copy it correctly? This QR tool will load a QR code for any website you input. Then the code can be displayed on the whiteboard for students to scan. No more www errors. Win!
- Two drawing tools – one full screen, the other adjustable. The smaller screen is a simple multi-coloured line draw app, while the full-screen tool is a more robust offering. It features the option of different backgrounds, (eg. music staves, grid lines, writing lines) in addition to the multicolour pen.
- Text tool – You can have numerous text boxes on your ‘whiteboard’ and it’s a full-featured mini-text editor. Options even include emoji faces!
- Work Symbols – Sometimes students need a visual reminder of the atmosphere required for the work task. The work symbols option gives teachers a way to communication unobtrusively with either the whole class or a set group.
- Traffic Lights – Using the traffic light tool students gain another visual for managing their learning.
- Timer – The timer gives a countdown, with options for the timer to automatically repeat 9 times. The timer can be used as a ‘count down’ or as a ‘count up’ with the ability to use a ‘lap’ function.
- Clock – Along with the timer, the clock will be an essential tool. You can have up to two clock windows with one displaying the time, while the other can show the date and calendar.
Classroom Screen also provides opportunity for student voice and there is an external link to an Exit Poll. Exit Polls or Exit Tickets give teachers valuable insights into the engagement and thoughts of their students who are able to give a quick ‘review’ of the lesson.
There is also the ability to increase the size of the workspace to the full-screen size using an arrow located in the bottom right corner.
Reviews of Classroom Screen
A quick glance at Classroom Screen’s Twitter or Facebook account shows people’s favourable reactions.
Further support for Classroom Screen
Classroom Screen developer Laurens Koppers is very responsive. A recent server outage saw Laurens take to Twitter and keep his audience up to speed with the outage and the expected outcomes.
Laurens is contactable by email, Twitter and Facebook and provides regular updates for his resource. Many could learn some ‘customer service’ strategies from him.
He also has a Youtube channel which provides some very clear and short tutorials to get the best out of Classroom Screen.
Verdict of Classroom Screen
Being free Classroom Screen is a cost-effective and valuable tool for any learning environment that can display a screen. With a clear interface, no downloads required and constant updates Classroom Screen is a winner.