Widgets Magazine

Engage Students with Classroom Collaboration Tools

Students have been collaborating in classrooms since the days of the single-room schoolhouse. Collaboration is, by definition, an “intellectual endeavor.”
But just because it’s natural to collaborate in schools, doesn’t mean students and educators are always using the best tools. Integrating the correct tools into classrooms will improve collaboration among students in and out of the classroom, as well enable better engagement with educators.
There are hundreds of wireless presentation systems available, but for the sake of brevity, let’s explore two common wireless collaboration systems that K-12 and higher education institutions can implement for better classroom collaboration.
Dongle Collaboration Solution
If you are unfamiliar with the term dongle, a dongle refers to a small piece of hardware that connects to another device to provide additional functionality. One example of a dongle solution is the Barco ClickShare. It allows up to 4 users to share content wirelessly on any display. They can present from their laptops, tablets, or smartphones, and participants can extend their desktops for presentations. If using a classroom computer or laptop, users simply plug the button into the USB port, click the button to view their content on the screen, and start sharing their content with the rest of the class.
The major downside to using a dongle solution is that at the end of the class, the teacher and students need to make sure to return the dongles to their proper station. Dongles have a tendency to walk, which causes frustration for teachers and tech managers when they have to find or replace them.
WiFi Collaboration Solution
Another wireless solution for the classroom includes no dongles. An example of this is the line of products from wePresent. The wireless presentation system allows up to 64 users to wirelessly collaborate from laptop, tablet, or smartphone. There are no dongles to lose or cables to trip over. Simply connect the wePresent device to any display via HDMI or VGA for full 1080p resolution. Additionally, if connected to a local area network, networked computers can display presentations, and the device supports a pass-through internet connection. wePresent also offers a built-in wireless access point within the device that provides additional WiFi signal for guests and other participants.
Other examples of non-dongle solutions are Mersive Solstice, AMX Enzo, Crestron AirMedia, and Kramer VIA.
A wireless solution can work well in traditional classrooms, flipped classrooms, and huddle spaces. Once you determine how you want to use your space, you can then decide what type of collaboration tool would best fit the classroom and needs of the teacher and students.
Next Steps
Check out this guest blog that explains what collaboration is and how people can work better together.
What does the AVNation team think about consumer products in the classroom? Listen to EdTech Episode 38: Interface Matters to learn how consumer electronics are being used in classrooms and to hear the team’s thoughts on those scenarios. They also discuss HDMI premium certified cable, Dolby Atmos, and 4K displays.

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