Why BenQ Board Is By Far The Best Smartboard For Schools
Classrooms have changed quite a lot over the past decade.
If you’re like me, who grew up with teachers using whiteboards and projectors for classes, seeing them shift to smart boards is kind of mind-blowing.
Who knew that these fancy tablets, the size of your flat screen TV, would one day make it to your homeroom or chemistry lab?
Recently, I had the opportunity to use one of these smart boards myself. It was the BenQ Board Pro, which, as you can guess from its name, was developed by BenQ, a company you’re probably already familiar with for their monitors and projectors.
Their Pro board is their way of adapting display technology to match the current needs of both teachers and learners.
I will list below the features that make the BenQ Board Pro an ideal smart board choice for schools.
Teaching software – Powerful whiteboarding and screen sharing
What makes the BenQ Board stand out in the classroom is its own whiteboarding software called EZWrite. You can treat it like an ordinary whiteboard to take notes during classes. But if you take time to play around with it, you’ll actually discover that there’s a lot more you can do.
You can import photos and videos directly on the board so you don’t have to open other windows. You can draw accurate shapes using the shape tools or its many rulers. It also has a library of templates you can use for gym or math classes, like a football board or graphing paper.
EZWrite also lets you export your sessions into PDFs for easy handouts.
Another awesome feature is InstaShare which lets you share your laptop screen on the board without having to connect it using a cable. You can use it with your tablet or phone so you can walk around the room while teaching. It not only extends your screen to the board, it also lets you control it.
You can also share multiple screens at the same time, which makes it ideal for group presentations or show and tell.
User Interface – Tools at your fingertips
What’s great about the BenQ Board is how it acts like a big tablet. The main screen is laid out like one. You can customize your app shortcuts and add widgets like weather and time.
There is also the sidebar with shortcuts to your web browser, whiteboard, and other nifty tools.
You can long press with two fingers on the screen to pull up the Floating tool, which has useful teaching tools like a pen, eraser, screenshots and screen recording.
There is also the multi window mode that allows you to split your screen into several windows so you can multitask. You can open your whiteboard on the side while loading a YouTube video on your browser.
Screen – Super clear and safe for the eyes
The BenQ Board screen comes in 65, 75, and 86 inches, making it ideal for classrooms of different sizes.
The 4K UHD screen is Eyesafe® certified, which means that it protects the eyes from blue light without having to use that yellow filter that changes your screen’s colors.
It is also anti-glare and flicker-free, making the screen effective for reducing eye strain. This is especially good when using the screen for a full day of classes.
It uses 9H glass that makes it sturdy for teaching. It also has an antimicrobial coating, which is great in helping protect the health of learners and teachers.
Sound – Immersive surround sound for classes
When you hear that something is Dolby, it’s normally referring to entertainment sound systems. Dolby has a reputation of providing great surround sound, making it ideal for playing movies and concerts at home.
Because the BenQ Board has Dolby Digital Plus™, you get to experience that level of sound when using the board’s built-in speakers and subwoofer. It’s even better when you hook it up to a Dolby Surround sound system, if you have it.
The board also comes with an 8-microphone array that’s very useful when you’re recording lessons or starting a video call on the board.
Ports – Multiple connection options for external devices
Teachers who are more comfortable having everything on their laptops can still use the BenQ Board by just plugging it in using a USB-C cable or HDMI with a touch cable. Once they’re connected, they can extend their laptop screen and control the notebook directly from the board.
The board also has other ports for Bluetooth dongles if you want to use a wireless mouse or keyboard. There are also special slots for a webcam and an OPS PC at the back.
Using an OPS PC adds extra CPU space and lets the school install other operating systems and programs that teachers can access directly from their board.
Sensors – For easy access and other automated features
The BenQ Board also comes with multiple sensors that are designed for different things.
The first is the NFC reader placed conveniently at the front. Teachers can scan their personal NFC card on the reader, and the board will automatically log into their BenQ account and give them access to their files on Google Drive, OneDrive, or Dropbox.
The Pro board also comes with an intelligent motion sensor that wakes up the board when it detects someone approaching the screen. It also activates the built-in air ionizer.
ClassroomCare – Protecting teacher and learner health
Unlike many smartboards available, BenQ is the only one with ClassroomCare. ClassroomCare is a set of features, which BenQ designed to protect the health of everyone in the classroom.
It starts with the germ resistant screen, remote, pens, and buttons, which have been tested to be effective against germs. This makes it safe for both learners and their teachers to use the touchscreen with their fingers.
The Pro board also has an Eyesafe, anti-glare, flicker-free screen that makes it safe for the eyes even if you’re using the board for a full day of classes.
Lastly, the Pro board has air quality sensors that detect if there are any pollutants in the air. The sensors notify you through a widget, and activate the air ionizer, which helps clean the air.
Management software – Manage everything in one place
The BenQ Board is linked with special management software that make it convenient for schools to keep tabs of their boards and maintain the user accounts of their staff.
The AMS lets schools import existing accounts. Teachers can use them to log in, load their cloud storage accounts, and access their lesson files. They can also use this to customize their boards according to their personal preferences.
On the other hand, the DMS gives administrators a dashboard that shows the usage stats of their boards and gives them several controls to help them manage the settings of all their boards in school.
Support – Personalized training and warranty
Though the BenQ Board is really easy to use, teachers who aren’t familiar with tech might find themselves overwhelmed the first time they encounter the board. For this reason, BenQ offers two ways for teachers to familiarize themselves with the technology.
The first is through the BenQ Academy, which is an online resource that’s full of helpful how-to guides and videos showing how to use tools like EZWrite and InstaShare.
The second option is through on-site training and certification. BenQ can send accredited trainers to your school so they can guide teachers and show them the best ways to use their boards.
As far as warranty goes, the BenQ Board is guaranteed at least 3 years of warranty and customer service that can be extended depending on discussions with your school. The coverage may include anything from replacements and replacements.
The Bottom Line
The BenQ Board feels like a dream come true for many teachers like myself. It’s great for whiteboarding, and even better if you like using multimedia in your lessons.
For this reason alone, it’s no surprise that it made our 8 Best Smartboards for classrooms list.
But beyond the basic stuff, I feel like the BenQ Board goes an extra mile in terms of accommodating educators. The fact that it has health-focused features means that our well-being was also considered when they designed it.
It’s impressive both in visuals and sound, it’s easy to use, and it’s flexible enough to match different kinds of teaching styles. This is why we can say, as of now, it’s the best smartboard out there.
Of course, the BenQ Board may not be for everyone. There are still a lot of other options available, and it’s really up to you to decide which ones are really worth it in terms of price and the features you think are actually useful for your school.