In today’s digital age, one of the important dilemmas teachers face is how to keep handwriting alive while implementing education technology (EdTech) into their classrooms. With an increasing number of learning activities now being carried out using computers or tablets, some have questioned whether there is a long-term role for handwriting in education.  But writing is undoubtedly a crucial skill to be learned still in today’s 21st century classrooms. Watching educators handwrite, mark, and annotate information improves focus and makes it easier for students to follow the class. With the goal of keeping handwriting high on the list of important skills to foster in the classroom, this is all the more reason why touch monitors are the best monitors for teachers to use in the classroom.

Best Monitors for Teachers

Touch monitors have become increasingly popular in K-12 education in recent years, and for good reason. Touch monitors, also referred to as pen displays as you are able to use a special kind of pen to annotate on them, are essentially a hybrid between tablets and laptops, which give the user the freedom to handwrite on the screen precisely and accurately, while also having an ergonomic device to use at your desk, teaching podium or at home for remote or virtual classes. These devices offer a range of benefits that can enhance the learning experience for students and teachers alike.

Why Touch Monitors are the Best Monitors for Teachers

The latest touch monitors allow teachers to create a completely new teaching station for both remote and in-class setups. One of the most notable benefits of touch monitors is their ability to facilitate interactive and engaging lessons. Touch technology allows students to directly manipulate and interact with digital content, such as images, videos, and documents. This can make learning more dynamic and engaging, as students are able to actively participate in the learning process rather than simply watching or listening to a teacher.

Touch monitors or pen displays are the best monitors for teachers because they offer a wide range of potential uses for teachers. It’s important that educators understand the real value that using touch monitors can add for students and contribute to improved learning outcomes. Just as with any other technology that is going to be used in the classroom, teachers want to ensure that their getting the most out of their technology investments.

Let’s take a look at some of the best ways that teachers can utilize pen displays in the classroom today:

1. Increase Classroom Engagement

Touch monitors paired with an active stylus can help with notetaking, explaining complicated concepts, or visual learning methods, such as brainstorming, sketching, mind-mapping, and drawing. Touch monitors can be used by teachers not only for one-to-one tutoring but also to teach an entire class. Effectively, the best monitor then serves a similar role to an interactive whiteboards but all annotation can happen while standing or sitting.

2. Online Teaching for Remote or Hybrid Learning

The best monitors for teachers need to be an asset to online teaching. This is especially important in an age where distance and hybrid learning models are becoming widely accepted and implemented. If students also have access to either a dedicated writing tablet or a tablet with a stylus pen, they can also participate in collaborative learning sessions. Here, when combined with digital whiteboarding solutions or screen sharing technology, it allows multiple users to contribute to a shared visual learning space at the same time.  This also enables a more collaborative experience when compared to the alternative of students typing up individual notes on their computers or writing individual notes on a notepad. The notes can be shared with everyone in the session, amended by anyone, and used to collectively dig deeper into specific topics or ideas.

3. Providing Feedback for Students

Touchscreen monitors, at least those from the pen displays category, enable teachers to provide handwritten digital feedback on work that students submit. While many modern word processing applications include options for adding digital annotations or notes, the ability to do this by hand can help provide teachers with greater flexibility in this area.  For certain subjects that use many special symbols or non-standard writing like mathematics, physics, or chemistry, writing tablets are a huge convenience. Even when learning new languages that have different alphabets, letters, and characters, it’s easy to just write on-screen without spending time switching between keyboards. This is especially useful for distance learning, where engagement levels can drop easily if the lesson flow becomes disrupted too often.

4. Teaching Handwriting Lessons (to Younger Students)

Despite the shift towards more and more schoolwork being carried out digitally, let’s not forget handwriting still has a major role to play. Lessons in this area improve children’s motor skills and can assist with learning in general. This is explored further in an article by Science Daily. Essentially, the process of learning to write by hand and then the activity of actually doing it strengthens the learning process. This occurs for a number of reasons, including the fact that it triggers a kind of ‘learning by doing’ response within the brain. Teachers can use touch monitors effectively in the early years of education for the youngest students. Handwriting sessions can help with the development of fine motor skills, but there is also value in handwriting lessons for their primary purpose – teaching students how to write in a legible way. This is an important life skill that will continue to serve students throughout their time in education and beyond.

Key Features of the Best Monitors for Teachers

Purchasing a touch monitor or pen display doesn’t need to be complicated. There are different functionalities for different budgets and purposes. Here are some of the key features that should help you decide which pen display device would suit your teaching needs best:

1. Palm Rejection Technology

Your touch monitor should offer palm rejection technology, which means no accidental touch of your hand is registered as valid input. This is especially important as the latest models can tilt and be used much like a tablet. Additionally, don’t forget to check if the desired pen display offers multiple touch points so that two or more people can use the screen at the same time. This can be a gamechanger for classroom collaborative activities, homework reviews, or presentations with multiple speakers.

2. Anti-Glare Technology

Another thing to keep in mind would be anti-glare coating of the screen. Glossy displays, although they can look classier, often reflect ambient lights, resulting in poor visibility. For optimal use in both the classroom and at home that doesn’t require adjusting of the light to different rooms and times of the time, chose a model that offers anti-glare technology.

3. Hardness Level

Make sure you’re aware of the hardness of the touchscreen. It will determine how long you can effectively use it and what the total cost of ownership will be. The levels are measured using Moh scale of mineral hardness. For something durable, choose monitors with screens offering a hardness of 6H which almost equals that of a steel nail.

4. Stylus Pen

Let’s not underestimate the importance of the right stylus pen. When paired properly with the tablet, it can truly work magic. Ideally, you want to go for an active stylus pen that has a smaller nib than the previous stylus generations. The movement and tilting of the active stylus on the touchscreen are more easily detectable thanks to their precise operational protocol. Passive pens with a large nib, on the other hand, will not be able to deliver such accuracy as they are mostly suited for performing touchscreen button press inputs rather than writing or drawing.  You also need to carefully consider their pressure sensitivity. The higher the pressure sensitivity, the better. It’s measured in levels, and there’s quite a few to choose from. For pixel-perfect precision and maximum flexibility choose the 4,096 sensitivity level, that will serve all your needs flawlessly, including elaborate writing and technical drawings.

Summing It All Up

Touch monitors are by far the best monitors for teachers and offer a multitude of benefits for teaching, providing feedback, and improving learning outcomes. With the rise of remote and hybrid education, the ways we think about learning, teaching, and handwriting have shifted and utilizing touch monitors is a great way for teachers to bring new engagement into the classroom.

If you’re considering adding touch monitors to your teaching toolbelt, we suggest checking out ViewSonic’s ID2456 Pen Display. It’s a fantastic option for educators looking to create a more engaging classroom and more immersive lessons.

(From the editor: This article was originally published on ViewSonic Library.)