The Nashua School District's Instructional Technology Committee developed a definition of a 21st Century Classroom and what technology they would need to fit that designation. A projector, document camera, computer, and an interactive whiteboard system were all part of the picture.
The Committee recognized that the use of interactive whiteboards allows both teacher and students the flexibility to maintain information over time, as well as to build hybrid lessons that are a combination of “old school and new school”.
When approaching the task of acquiring new interactive technology, the Nashua School District faced three major challenges:
- Budget - The cost of simply mounting the devices that they were considering would deplete a good portion of their technology funds.
- Training - In addition to the cost of mounting the devices, they also had to consider the cost (in both time and money) of training the teachers on these devices.
- The cost of the technology must not conflict with other key budget dependent instructional/infrastructure technology priorities.
- Mobility - The teachers needed a device that they could take from room to room. If the teachers transitioned to a classroom equipped with interactive devices they were unfamiliar with, a whole new set of training was required.
The Nashua School District simply did not want to purchase a product that the majority of other schools have. Any new technology had to be proven and vetted to ensure that it is both cost-effective and manageable by the students and teachers with minimal intervention by others.
The Nashua School District is located in the city of Nashua, New Hampshire. The district is made up of a total of nineteen schools: one Title I preschool, twelve elementary schools, three middle schools, two high schools, and one alternative high school. In total, the Nashua School District has approximately 1,500 classrooms and 11,178 students. Dedicated to providing high-quality education, the Nashua School District works closely with parents and the Nashua community to ensure that each and every student becomes a lifelong learner.
"We chose Boardshare as a solution for the entire Nashua School District for several reasons,” said Jennifer Grantham, Technology Teacher Coach (K-8) for Nashua School District. "In addition to BoardShare being cost-effective, it was also chosen because of its mobility and ease of sharing between teachers and classrooms."
Grantham stressed that the company and its customer service was another major factor in their decision. The technology team was looking for a company that would truly aid and assist them if the need arose.
"When (on the rare occasion) something goes wrong, I have been able to quickly reach out to the team at BoardShare who have responded right away," she stated. "They have helped to troubleshoot and find resolutions to any glitches we have found. It is nice to have peace of mind and to know the company you are working with hasn’t forgotten the words customer service! It is always done in such a pleasant way and in such a timely manner, I leave my chats with BoardShare with a smile and a solution!"
Another reason the technology team chose BoardShare was its ease of implementation. The Technology Integrators in the district were able to set up BoardShare and introduce it to the staff in an incredibly short time frame. Due to the ease and simplicity of the BoardShare software, the team didn't need to spend a great deal of time training the teachers on the technology. Rather, the teachers were able to teach themselves.
The technology team was also looking for a system that was flexible in both software and setup. BoardShare was able to annotate and interact with anything that the teachers could bring up on their computer.
"The fact that BoardShare can project on ANY flat surface made it very appealing," said Grantham. "We have some classrooms that are using a cinderblock wall and others where they have simply painted the old chalkboard white."
There are a number of factors that go into the overall cost of interactive technology, including the initial purchase, installation, maintenance, and integrating the new technology with previously used devices. The Nashua School District had previously considered purchasing another interactive solution, which cost $1,295 for the device alone. In addition to the cost of getting ceiling mounted projectors (which were necessary for the device to work), there were also additional costs for installation, mounting brackets, and wiring. The overall cost for the solution was approximately $3,500.
"We can outfit nearly ten classes with BoardShare, considering most of our classes already have a stand-alone projector, which is all they need," said Grantham. "The amount of money we've saved by purchasing ten BoardShare units instead of of the other product we were considering is staggering."
BoardShare is one of the few interactive technology products that does not have licensing fees or charge for software updates; this also contributed to the overall saved costs for the Nashua School District.
With the money that they saved, the technology team has now been able to explore individual computing answers for the students. Their next major purchase was carts of Chromebooks and iPads for each classroom.
Cost Analysis Continued....
This chart indicates the allocation of monies towards the individual technologies that were implemented in the Nashua School District
This chart indicates what allocation would look like for the Nashua School District had they chosen the alternative interactive system
By selecting BoardShare as their interactive solution, the Nashua School district was able to use their remaining monies for additional technology purchases. In comparison to the costs of the other technologies they implemented later on, a single BoardShare unit only took up approximately one-fourth of their budget; another interactive system would have taken up approximately three-quarters of their budget. By choosing to implement BoardShare district-wide, the Nashua School District was able to save even more money by purchasing the units in bulk.
Other Than The Cost, Why BoardShare?
While cost was an important factor in choosing BoardShare, there are a number of other reasons why the Nashua School District implemented the system district-wide.
- Customer service - the BoardShare team follows up with every school to make sure the product is running smoothly.
- Training and support - customers can join in on any of BoardShare's free live training webinars to make sure they are getting the most out of the product.
- Communication - BoardShare shares what they find and learn with other educators. They have a list of educational websites that contain free content for educators to use in the classroom. They consistently update that list as they discover more websites.
- Feedback - if a BoardShare customer would like to see a feature added, s/he can call or email to share those suggestions. All suggestions are discussed with BoardShare's Chief Technology Officer, who is the founder and designer of the BoardShare product.
- Locality - BoardShare is owned, operated, and is manufactured in Chicago, IL. This means that: 1). BoardShare customers can call the team with any questions, comments, or concerns, and they will always be connected with a live representative 2). There is a high level of quality control with the product. The BoardShare supply chain manager pulls 25% of the products during production to test and ensure quality.
The Nashua School District knew that they wanted to implement interactive technology throughout the district, but found that many interactive solutions were cost-prohibitive. In addition to their desire to find a cost-effective solution, they also wanted to purchase a system that was easily-integrable, low maintenance, mobile, and intuitive. BoardShare appealed to them for a multitude of reasons, including its mobility, price point, flexibility, and user-friendliness. BoardShare's customer service and dedication to successful implementation and use of the product was a key factor as well. By purchasing BoardShare for their classrooms throughout the district, the technology team was able to save enough money to purchase other necessities for the classroom, including Chromebooks and iPads. Through utilizing BoardShare's available resources, teachers, technology integrators, principals, and students in the Nashua School District have all benefited from the BoardShare system.
Technology Teacher Coach (K-8) ,Nashua School DistrictFollow on Twitter
What do teachers, principals, and students love about BoardShare?
Teachers: "The ease of setup made it a non-threatening addition to their classrooms. Even teachers who wouldn’t consider themselves 'tech-savvy' can figure out the easy system in about 25 minutes. All it takes is a little practice and play. "
Principals: "BoardShare was utilized in various conference rooms throughout the district to review data during PLCs (Professional Learning Communities) or showing reports during IEP Staffings, which cut back on the paper needed for everyone around the table."
Students: "BoardShare allows students to connect with their learning and makes sharing work or information very easy. Whether students share a writing selection and the class works together to make edits right on the work, or students are highlighting a difficult piece of text from a website to gain meaning, it is incredibly easy for them to pick up and use. It's so simple, a kindergarten student could do it (and they do)."
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.