Is using outdated whiteboard technology shortchanging educators in their school readiness outcomes?
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Is using outdated whiteboard technology shortchanging educators in their school readiness outcomes?

by Jason Roberts

February 21, 2023

School readiness, in general, has always been a pressing concern for early childhood education and care (ECEC) professionals. However with the advent of both universal access kindergarten and preschool access initiatives currently progressing in states like Victoria and New South Wales, it’s now more important than ever before, in the context of early learning settings. 


Against this backdrop practitioners are re-evaluating the specific technology at their disposal to deliver the very best programs and activities to ensure their children are ready, willing and able to make that all important transition to “big school”. 


“Our extensive research and consultations has confirmed that for early childhood teachers and educators, the advent of universal access, and increased funding for preschools, is a really important development,” Jonathan Lee, Business Manager for Interactive Display ANZ at BenQ said.


“School readiness has always been an important objective for the curriculum but as early learning professionals look ahead, and prepare for changes, we need to ensure that they have the right resources in place to make sure they are preparing children to thrive in a world that is quite different to ten years ago,” he added.


Questioning the usefulness of interactive white boards for school readiness programs 


One area which is presently receiving a great deal of focus is how display technologies can be harnessed to augment and complement existing school readiness programs.


When interactive whiteboard technology first emerged in the education sector, early childhood settings were early adopters. However, fast forwarding five years, many of these systems are now out of date and many are under-utilised.


Challenges around difficulties with installation, the calibration of the projectors and what to do if something wasn’t working combined with a lack of connectivity, interactivity and collaboration opportunities have seen them fall out of an early practitioners activity design tool kit. 


“It is very common for services to have a whiteboard with older technology that they acquired with some funding help back in 2015 but having used it for a few years found that it just wasn’t adding any meaningful value to their school readiness programs,” Mr Lee said.


“As a result it has sat in the corner without much use, which is a shame because with digital technologies front and centre in our children’s lives it would be useful to have a system that was more versatile and inclusive.”


How modern interactive display solutions can supercharge school readiness programs 


As with many technologies evolution is inevitable and in response to the fall from grace of interactive whiteboards a new generation of in class educational display tools has been developed to more effectively meet the needs of contemporary early learning environments. 


“From our perspective we have seen a significant step change in the capabilities of modern interactive display technologies compared to those on the market as recently as five years ago,” Mr Lee shared. 


“The conversations we have now with our early learning community of users are all about how modern displays can boost interactivity, encourage collaboration, allow for different modes of learning and above all prepare children more completely for their transition to school.”


Modern interactive displays are not only less cumbersome and more intuitive than their older counterparts but have access to substantial libraries of educational activity materials that can support teachers and educators achieve literacy and numeracy outcomes for kindy and preschool children.  


“We are encouraged by the feedback from our user community regarding children’s engagement with our displays. It seems that the opportunity to “play” with such a large display injects a new dimension into the children’s day, in addition to the very important outside and traditional activities. This fills them with great excitement.”


Commitment to early years by state governments a boon for school readiness programs


With Victoria and New South Wales committing to a transformational program of changes to their respective states year before school early education programs, and more recently the Queensland Government boosting their commitment to kindergarten funding schemes, opportunities to re-evaluate tools needed to deliver school readiness programs abound. 


Fortunately, a number of these schemes include dollar allocations that support resource acquisition such as that run by the Queensland Government who as part of the “Base Subsidy” stream LDC providers are able to spend 25 per cent of funds received on quality and age-appropriate resources specifically for eligible children.


This amounts to $468.62 per eligible child per annum with the equivalent number for sessional kinders is substantially higher at $3,618.30 per child per annum.


“As an organisation committed to early learning and school readiness we welcome the wide ranging commitment to the early years we are seeing across the country and look forward very much to supporting the early learning community in any way that we can to enhance and improve school readiness outcomes,” Mr. Lee said. 


To learn more about how BenQ can support your school readiness programs with their new interactive displays visit their website.


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