Killough Middle School Case Study

The Challenge Realized

In September of 2014, Killough Middle School faced a major challenge: they were considering bringing Interactive Whiteboard Technology into their classrooms, but they needed to take their technology needs, budget, and other options into account. As they researched these different options, they first asked themselves, "Are Interactive Whiteboards truly effective, and, if so, how do we ensure our teachers will use this technology to benefit their students and enrich their teaching experience?"

Upon careful evaluation, they came to recognize that, if implemented effectively, Interactive Technology can have an immediate impact and positively enhance the student learning process. Killough Middle School staff realized that in order to effectively implement a new technology, the following factors were essential:

  • The technology must be accessible and promptly placed in the hands of teachers and students.
  • The set up is simple and straightforward.
  • The cost of the technology must not conflict with other key budget dependent instructional/infrastructure technology priorities.
  • The technology is easy to use and has a short and rapid learning curve.

The tech team knew that if the technology was difficult to access and use,the teachers would not take full advantage of it. They also understood that if the set up was complicated and the cost was expensive, they would resent this technology for being time-consuming and for stopping other tech needs from being purchased.

Killough Middle School is located in Houston Texas and is a part of the ALIEF Independent School District. ALEIF is comprised of 44 campuses serving 45,000 students, where more than 80 languages and dialects are spoken. The goal of the district is to prepare all students to be academically and socially successful, with an emphasis on college preparation, CTE, STEM, and the business world. ALIEF is a progressive district which looks to their tech integrators to help make decisions that benefit the individual schools as well as the whole district.

The Solution

"BoardShare is by far the easiest to train, setup, and support," explained Dan Blevins, Instructional Technology Specialist at Killough Middle School. "When we look at the ROI and cost factors including training , set-up and support, BoardShare is by far the best Interactive Whiteboard Technology solution for us." Blevins stressed how important it is to have a cost effective solution that the tech team can easily support and implement, while the technology is simple and easy for teachers to learn. "The overall combination of the price point, the portability, the short learning curve, and the support of the BoardShare team made choosing BoardShare as our solution a no-brainer. You can refer to my '20 Reasons Why I Like BoardShare' as reasons for this decision."


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"I would say that Boardshare was initially a test purchase because I couldn't grasp its concept. I scheduled time to meet Dan so that he could demo the product to myself and our school librarian. Once I saw how it worked, I (and the librarian) was highly impressed. We also liked the affordable cost and the ease of use. Some classrooms in our school have brick walls, making other interactive boards difficult to install and use effectively. I would have to say that the driving decision to purchase our first 8 units were:

  • Cost effective
  • Ability to easily equip classrooms with minimal equipment and ease of installation
  • Ability for teachers to quickly learn how to use the software
  • Immediate feedback and help with troubleshooting"

- Lesley Ayers
Instructional Technology Specialist
O'Donnell Middle School, ALIEF Independent School District
Follow Lesley on Twitter

 

Cost Analysis

Although we cannot discuss the financials of Killough Middle School, the chart below illustrates the cost comparison of BoardShare and the most known Interactive Whiteboard companies. As you can see, BoardShare is significantly less expensive than the traditional interactive Whiteboard ($681.00-1,786 savings per classroom). These comparisons are of the most basic models of our competitors, and those cost savings could increase depending on which Interactive Whiteboard you look at.

*This is a cost estimate for the most basic option of each competitor. This cost does not include installation, licensing, software updates or
maintenance fees. Note that BoardShare requires no installation and has no licensing or maintence fees. All software updates for BoardShare are FREE.

Analysis of Product Features

One of the most common questions customers ask is, "What is the difference between BoardShare and its competitors in regards to the hardware and software?" BoardShare's goal is to maintain simplicity of the product with both its hardware and software. Understanding that not all teachers are tech wizards, our main motivation is to make sure that the set-up of the hardware and the use of the software is as simple as possible. The chart below lays out some of the key differences between BoardShare and our competitors.

COMPETITOR ANALYSIS

  BoardShare Mimio Promethean Smartboard
Country of Origin USA China China Mexico
Weight* 0.5 lbs 0.67 lbs 12.5 - 88 lbs 51 lbs
Technology IR IR Touch Touch
Projector Needed Yes Yes Yes Yes
Computer Needed Yes Yes Yes Yes
Windows/Mac compatibility Yes Yes Yes Yes
Completely Portable Yes No No No
Turns Any Flat Surface Interactive Yes No No No
Compatible with all educational software at NO additional Cost Yes No No No
Free Software Updates Yes No No No
Does NOT charge maintenance or licensing fees Does NOT Charge Charges for this Charges for this Charges for this
Does NOT require external power Does Not Require External Power Does Not Require External Power Requires external power Requires external power

*Competitor weights may vary depending on make/model

Training and Implementation

Blevins knew that, in order to get the best ROI on their investment, the teachers needed to understand how to use Boardshare so that they could use the product effectively and enhance the classroom experience.

Example of Dan Blevins Implementation Plan

  1. Selecting option
    1. Communicate to the staff what technology has been chosen and when to expect it.
    2. Have the staff watch the training videos as to understand the features of the product and what it can do. Link here: http://myboardshare.com/training-videos
    3. Have staff review the BoardShare website and the free educational websites posted there.
  2. Rollout of technology
    1. Identify the "right" teachers to begin rollout.
      1. These teachers are progressive and not intimidated by new technology – they are excited for it.
    2. Have those teachers identify lessons that s/he wants to use with the technology.
    3. Get students involved.
  3. Staff development
    1. Using BoardShare, have progressive teacher/s teach their lessons to other staff members to illustrate how it can be used in the classroom and to demonstrate how simple the technology is.
  4. Monitor Progress
    1. Ensure that the technology is being used effectively.
    2. Ensure that teachers who are intimidated by technology are not left behind.

Conclusion

Today, there is an abundance of technology available, and choosing what is right for your school can be overwhelming. There is a lot to consider when purchasing new technology such as; What are the extended and recurring costs? Will this be compatible with changing software and updates of my current devices? How long is the learning curve? These are just a few of the many questions that each school will need to consider.

Take Aways

  • Completely Portable Device
  • Turns Any Flat Surface Interactive (including TVs and Monitors)
  • Superior Service and Support
  • Simple Technology
  • Easy Set-up
  • Price Point of $349
  • Free Software Updates

About BoardShare

BoardShare is dedicated to bringing technology into classrooms worldwide. Our Journey began in 2013 due to our immense passion for education and technology and it has been an exciting and challenging ride thus far. We realized that technology is not only important in today's world, but essential in education. Understanding that a large percentage of schools are unexposed to technology, I decided to tap into the brilliant minds of my team at Katalyst Technologies to discover creative alternatives with lower costs. At that point, BoardShare was born. We are invested in educating ourselves about current education technology policies in order to understand the challenges educators face and how we can help eliminate some of those challenges. By collaborating with reputable companies such as Scholastic and the New York Institute of Technology, we are able to expose ourselves to various types of learning environments to better understand the diverse needs of classrooms today.

Being a family owned business, we have the opportunity to be in direct contact with our customers and their feedback is heard immediately. This allows us to be constantly working to improve BoardShare based on what our customers are saying and implement new strategies for more effective results. I encourage you to reach out to us so that you can learn more about who we are and what we do. We truly want to bring interactivity and technology into your classrooms to better engage and expand the minds of your students.

Rahul Shah
CEO

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