Brentwood Academy using multi-camera setup in classrooms to keep quarantined students on track

Brentwood Academy using ViewSonic ViewBoards during pandemic
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Posted at 1:20 AM, Nov 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-13 12:01:35-05

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. (WTVF) — The IT director at Brentwood Academy thinks the school has found a way to keep quarantined students and teachers engaged.

"Before [the pandemic] we had a really traditional classroom," said Chris Allen, director of IT. "We had projection systems, the teachers were airplaying and sharing content and stuff like that, but the systems that we had in place quickly became outdated."

After using Zoom to finish out the 2019-2020 school-year, Allen searched for technology that would allow students at home to be immersed in the classroom experience.

"It was the perfect timing for us to do a complete overhaul and that is exactly what we did," Allen said.

He decided on ViewSonic ViewBoards. The school now owns 70 screens that function both as whiteboards and conference lines.

"We wanted to create a core hub so to speak, so the focal point was the front of the room, which is why we put the ViewBoards where we did," he said.

Desks face the boards that are attached to a wall in each classroom. There are also two web cameras in each room that can see 108-degrees.

When senior Mercer Greene had to stay home because she was exposed to COVID-`19, she didn't feel isolated because she could see into her classrooms.

"Even when my teachers were sharing the board and showing notes and stuff like that, I could still see the classroom, which was really neat because I felt like I was there a little bit," Mercer Greene said. "I could hear the conversations going on and interact with the people in my class."

Greene even participated in group work during her 14-day quarantine.

"People were able to come up to the screen and interact with me and show me what they were doing and I could show them easily. It was a really smooth transition going into quarantine and coming out of it," Greene said.

The IT director is hopeful that other Tennessee schools get to use the technology, saying it makes the school day more normal for everyone involved.

"We want to spread the word that this is how you can do that. We want to be an example for them. We recently pitched this to the governor's office that this is an option," Allen said.

Currently, the school has five students registered to learn remotely full-time and about two-percent of the school population is temporarily quarantined.

To see what tech giant Intel did when it learned how Brentwood Academy was creating interactive classrooms click here.