Interactive Whiteboards comes in a few different flavours these days. The two main categories can be loosely described as:
- Traditional Interactive Whiteboards
- Interactive Touch Screens
The second type is the newer type of board and is basically a giant TV screen which can be interacted with touch. It doesn’t require a particular stylus so most people simply use their finger.
Traditional Interactive Whiteboards have been around for the best part of 25 years and have gone through a number of changes. Basically, they consist of a whiteboard and projector and some sort of technology to make the board interactive. The interactivity may require a special stylus, but sometimes interactivity can be achieved with a finger or any pointed object (even a run-out whiteboard marker!)
Unfortunately boards that require a stylus have an issue if the stylus breaks. The whole board becomes unusable. Generally, a stylus can be purchased through the company in which the school buys the board. However, two problems are an issue.
Firstly, companies are constantly developing their boards and some become obsolete. For example, I have 2 TouchIT boards. The boards are in perfect condition and are only 8 years old. However, since around 2014, the company behind TouchIT stopped supporting my model of board on post Windows XP computers. This has rendered the whiteboards completely useless in terms of interactivity as Windows XP is also obsolete.
Secondly, resellers come and go. Looking at the Irish context again, in 2009 there were over 50 companies selling 26 different types of Interactive Whiteboard in Ireland. Today, there are maybe 10, and the choice is down to a handful. If one bought a whiteboard from a reseller in the past 10 years, it is more than likely the company doesn’t exist anymore. This means that schools have to try and get in contact with the manufacturers, and may be met with the same issue outlined above!
Ireland, obviously, is not unique with these issues. The main problem for Irish schools is that they are not properly funded for technology and there are no structures in place when things go wrong. This is mostly in part to decades of poor planning at government level but also that all schools are private entities.
Sadly, if you find yourself with a broken stylus, you need to hope that the company you bought the board from is still in business, and if it isn’t that the manufacturer is still in business.
Last Update: June 27, 2018