Conecuh County Schools, Alabama
Student engagement is at the core of Alabama’s Conecuh County Schools’ new focus. At every level, the school system is devoted to preparing students to reach their highest potential and become lifelong learners and responsible citizens. Accordingly, the school needed new technology options that would encourage greater interaction and collaboration in classrooms while simplifying their operation for teachers. The school had been using LCD projectors, but those were nearing end of life and required expensive bulb replacements and disruptive maintenance. Most importantly, they didn’t fulfill the district’s requirement for opening up new opportunities for connecting with students.
Time for a Change
“As we were developing our technology plan and goals as part of our Alabama Continuous Improvement Plan (ACIP) — which are both necessary to secure federal funding for new technology — we knew that it was time to look at solutions that would be affordable enough to deploy into every classroom while at the same time reduce the extensive maintenance costs of projectors,” said Scott T. Luthardt, technology director and coordinator for the Conecuh County Board Of Education. Partnering with educational dealer Teachers N Tools, Conecuh County Schools’ technology administrators explored new options that could be deployed in each of the 99 classrooms in the county. Started in 1974, Teachers N Tools has a 45-year history of helping meet the needs of educators across Alabama with cutting-edge 21st century technology and was poised to provide extensive advisement, training, support, and service to Conecuh. With an exclusive distribution portfolio, TNT selects only the most innovative education solutions to resell to its customers. Chief among those is HoverCam. TNT was the first HoverCam dealer in Alabama, distributing the company’s line of superior quality, highly regarded document cameras starting in 2010. Trusting HoverCam’s keen eye for understanding the frustrations of operating technology in the classroom, TNT recommended HoverCam’s newest classroom solution, the Pilot 3 digital teaching podium and interactive flat panels to fit the school’s new technology plan and ACIP goals.
The Pilot 3 and CenterStage
The HoverCam Pilot 3 breaks through one of the largest roadblocks for instructors: effortlessly commanding audio, video, and data devices for a truly captivating learning and collaborative media-driven experience. Pilot 3 is the world’s first fully integrated wireless digital teaching station. It eliminates the outdated AV cart and combines the most important elements used in today’s digital classrooms in an all-inclusive, easy-to-use, and mobile podium, combining a Windows PC, 13MP document camera, and 21-inch touchscreen with wireless HD mirroring functionality. With the Pilot 3, Conecuh teachers would be liberated from commanding the classroom from their desk, being able to move about the classroom, ensuring student interaction while controlling all the room’s AV technology from anywhere in the room. Featuring a wireless transceiver, teachers would be able to instantly beam their screen content and touch annotations to the HoverCam CenterStage interactive flat screen wirelessly in HD resolution without delay. In addition, the document camera’s built-in microphone would allow teachers to capture audio for every lesson. Together with HoverCam’s ClassFusion software, Pilot 3 enables interactive whiteboarding, annotation, and desktop marking for lesson recording and sharing. The platform also reinvents lesson planning and recording, capturing video and audio of lessons in real-time for students to access anywhere, anytime on any mobile device or browser.
Classrooms of the Future
“Every single day our educators are using their Pilots and IFPs and achieving incredible efficiency from bell to bell,” said Luthardt. “At the high school, we have seen an increase in the number of students on the honor roll. In the middle and elementary schools, students are invested and enthusiastic to earn better grades. At an administration level, the State Department of Education gave us high marks, and we are now fully accredited for our entire district.”
In addition, TNT made it even easier to deploy HoverCam’s solutions in every school. Rather than having to rely completely on federal funding or title, grant, or fundraising money to secure the new system for select classrooms, TNT offered a unique technology service contract opportunity. The service contract option would enable Conecuh schools to purchase new technology for every classroom at the same time through a Professional Classroom Service Contract, spreading out the costs over several years as well as providing additional value with ongoing support and training from the company. As a result, every classroom would be updated with the HoverCam classroom solution and no school would fall behind in technology capabilities.
“Because of this forward-thinking approach and HoverCam solutions, a whole district was able to afford to update all their classrooms and enable 21st century learning,” said Cynthia Lowery, President & COO at TNT. “It’s truly unprecedented for every child, from pre-k to 12th grade, to have access to the same tools and opportunities. Conecuh is now light years ahead.”