Hitachi-Cambridge are a company that sell all sorts of electronic equipment, including Interactive Whiteboards. I believe their Interactive Whiteboards are the best quality out there and although they are a bit more expensive than the others, they have functions and service that no other board out there can match. I’m usually quite critical of the native software that comes with any interactive whiteboard (except those that come with Promethean or Easiteach) and the Hitachi board was no exception. So, when I was send 2 DVDs full of primary resources developed by Hitachi for the primary school, (which I assume come with the board), I was very interested indeed.
The two DVDs come with a hell of a lot of software. The first, which focuses on literacy contains a full interactive scheme of electronic books with activities. They are more suitable for the lower end of the primary school (3rd class downwards), but they are all, without exception, brilliant. The stories are bright, colourful and interesting. They could easily be used in place of a class reader as a whole class reading tool. The activities are well thought out and motivating. Activities are comprehensions or phonics-based and are super. All of the stories, activities, etc. are designed to be used on IWBs and are incredibly easy to use.
The second DVD is much the same. This time, however, it focuses on Maths as well as English skills.
iLearn is the English curriculum based tool and is a well known piece of software in the UK, published by Cambridge-Press. It focuses on the UK English curriculum strands of Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, which are similar to Ireland’s three strands, (we bulk listening and speaking together). This proven piece of software is excellent with loads and loads of interactivity, videos, photos and inspiration. I particularly like the iLearn writing program, which goes into the various types of writing and explains different styles and really motivates children.
The maths stuff is less equally comprehensive and what is on offer is ok. Mult-e-maths is the main tool on offer – (there is also a maths dictionary program) – and, again, it is developed specifically for the IWB. I found mult-e-maths toolbox to be a reasonably good way of using the IWB for maths but there wasn’t too much in it that would make me invest, if it wasn’t free. Also on the DVD was a full program of a “Year 3” (equivalent of 2nd-3rd class) add-on to Mult-e-Maths, which took AGES to install. The quality of the program was good but compared to the literacy offerings, the maths stuff paled in comparison.
I’m fairly sure these two DVDs come free with the Hitachi boards and there’s probably around €1,000 or more worth of IWB software on the DVDs, so in itself, that is a great bargain! The literacy stuff blew me away with its excellent quality and comprehensive material. It would certainly inspire me to invest in similar software on offer. The maths software was good but limited. Unlike the literacy material, there wasn’t a lot to offer except for a piece of software to support the equivalent of a Year 3 scheme.
I’d give 10 out of 10 for the literacy material but only a 5 for the maths. The fact that the software comes free with the board, however, gives potential purchasers another good reason to buy the board. If you don’t own a Hitachi board, the software works with any IWB but, you could be paying over €1,000 for it!
Last Update: August 22, 2017