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Brentwood Academy navigates remote learning with latest technology

Brentwood Academy embraces technology to help students navigate remote learning during the pandemic.

By Livability on November 5, 2021

Brentwood Academy classroom
Brentwood Academy / Courtesy of Brentwood Academy

When the pandemic hit in early 2020, Brentwood Academy in Tennessee transitioned to a fully remote learning model, using Zoom and other tools to make the best of an unforeseen situation. 

Even so, the staff knew they needed better technology for the upcoming school year. The school’s IT Director, Chris Allen, was up to the challenge as he searched for the right solution. 

“We wanted something that was a little more robust,” he says. “I didn’t want remote learners to be an afterthought. I wanted the remote learners to be just as engaged as in-person learners.” 

After a lot of research, Allen decided to try the ViewSonic ViewBoard, an interactive display panel with whiteboard, video, cloud storage and sharing capabilities. 

After a successful pilot program with Brentwood Academy’s award-winning robotics team during summer workshops, Brentwood Academy decided to roll out the technology across all classes for the upcoming school year. 

They also installed two cameras in each classroom — one facing the board itself and one above the board, facing the students. With the addition of these cameras, both in-person and remote learners were able to see each other and the lessons on the board. 

“The ViewBoard gives us so much flexibility to have students see and hear clearly the work the teacher is presenting on the board and makes it much more immersive and inclusive for students who can’t be in the classroom for any given lesson,” says Jeff Bryant, dean of academics and science department chair. 

Throughout the 2020-21 school year, the ViewBoard was an essential component to navigating the challenges of hybrid learning. Students at home were able to stay engaged and participate in classroom activities. Remote learners could even take pictures of their work with their cellphones and send them to the classroom ViewBoard. The program was so successful that Intel included it as part of its Customer Spotlight series. 

Lessons on the ViewBoard can also be recorded and shared, making it ideal for students who had to miss class and need to catch up — a feature that is sure to be helpful even in a post-pandemic school system. 

With ViewSonic’s state-of-the-art technology (and help from Intel and Microsoft), Brentwood Academy rose to the challenge of looking beyond remote learning to create a true virtual classroom to serve all its students and teachers. 

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