PAISD looking at new technology to engage students, boost scores – Port Arthur News

Kenneth Daigre, educational technology supervisor at the Port Arthur Independent School District, is an avowed nerd.

And as a nerd, he often does research on the latest gadgets and instruments that can help students. Daigre stood in front of senior management and principal this week with a 75-inch interactive panel and a much smaller 35-inch eGlass to demonstrate how these items can be beneficial to students.

“I’m just a nerd and want the best for the students,” he joked after his presentation.

The technology

PAISD already has this in some classrooms and Daigre hopes, if the board approves it, to have an interactive panel in every classroom in the district.

The interactive panel looks like a TV, but it isn’t.

And although the demo set used in the recent presentation was large, he is aiming for 65-inch sets for the classrooms that are similar to the size of the 6×9 projectors used.

The Trustees and Principal of the Port Arthur Independent School District hear a presentation on technology for the classroom. (Mary Meaux / The News)

“Teachers are always looking for tools to increase student engagement and you know we are living in the digital age,” said Daigre. “The digital age has grown rapidly with virtual learning during COVID and has just taken us to the next level.”

And while the pandemic continues and COVID cases are on the rise again, these devices could also be used in virtual learning.

Daigre said that multiple touch and gesture interactivity increases student engagement, allowing up to four students or student-teacher combinations to use the device at the same time.

Daigre said the research shows a 12 percent increase in standardized test scores in the districts that use the devices.

The second device Daigre brought with them was eGlass, a clear writing glass with an integrated camera that can be used in the classroom and for virtual learning.

Daigre would like to see these in math and science classrooms, he said.

“This is one of the most innovative products I’ve seen and it works in conjunction with the television (interactive panels),” he said. “It takes the old school blackboard and it takes new virtual instructions and combines them together.”

Trustee Debra Ambroise was enthusiastic about the new technology and asked Daigre whether the new product could be integrated with current software and how long it would take for it to be available in the classroom, should the purchase be approved by the board of directors.

Daigre explained that the two devices would work with the current software and that the “TVs” will be ordered with special stands so that younger students can work on them when the device is pulled out flat like a table.

No price was given for the devices, but if approved later, funding could come from the primary and secondary schools’ emergency aid fund.

A schedule for a final purchase decision has not yet been set.