The Evolution of Interactive Classroom Tech to Include Special Needs


Ensuring that every student in a class has access to high-quality instruction is an ongoing need for many schools, especially when considering how students with disabilities have varying educational objectives. In recent years, teachers have explored different technologies to support student learning including but not limited to interactive hardware, software, and apps. Teachers have found quite a few of these technology solutions to positively engage students and support active learning.

Barry Sunder, Central Regional Manager with Boxlight, spoke with Larry Jacobs from Equity and Access Pre K-12 ( on how large interactive displays (interactive flat panel displays, interactive boards, interactive panels) can improve engagement for students with disabilities. Sunder who has experience working with students with disabilities and special needs, as well as having a wife and a sister who are both Special Education teachers, shares that in these classrooms, the use of technology has “gone up another level.” Referencing an experience his sister had with a student, he says, “His attention span was about 15-20 seconds. He has seizures. When he got in front of that board, (his) time with seizures was reduced. He was up there focused on that activity.”

Clelian Heights School for Students with Exceptional Needs (Greensburg, PA) has long made efforts to incorporate more technology in their instructional practice to engage their students. Sunder explained that classrooms were outfitted with portable white boards but there were challenges such as having students hold the pen. He also mentioned that there was no collaboration so it was simply students “looking up at a screen.” After bringing in a ProColor interactive display to demonstrate its features and uses, he says the Clelian Heights staff was “blown away” and added, “As of this last spring, all classrooms are equipped with a ProColor.”

When asked by Jacobs about how the ProColor interactive display could be used with visually impaired students, Sunder shared an experience of a visually impaired student who was uncomfortable and embarrassed about always having to sit in the front of the classroom. Staff provided her with a larger-sized tablet and using the Unplug’d screen mirroring software she was able to see the lesson on the display using her tablet – all while sitting comfortably in the back of the classroom. Sunder comments, “To see the smile on her face. She got teary-eyed, we all got teary-eyed. She was so happy.”

To listen to this amazing conversation and how interactive displays bring learning to another level for students with disabilities, click here: The Evolution of Interactive Classroom Technology to Include Special Needs.

To read more about the Clelian Heights School experience, click here: Engaging Exceptional Students with Simple-to-Use Education Technology.

The Boxlight mission is to help educators enhance student outcomes and build essential skills, such as those that support social and emotional learning. To watch a recent round table discussion on ways to integrate SEL in the classroom, click here: SEL: Key Indicators for Classroom Integration.

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