Since the peak of Interactive Whiteboard usage in Ireland in 2009-10, the number of types of Interactive Whiteboard available here has decreased. There are very few companies left that directly support Irish schools and many companies have fallen by the wayside. Back in the day, Promethean and SMART were the two big brand names. Promethean used to have a direct presence in Ireland but it has since been incorporated into their UK departments. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just means that Promethean don’t directly sell to Irish schools anymore. There are a number of resellers of their products in Ireland, some of whom are stalwarts in the game, and others that come and go.
If you are planning on buying an Interactive Whiteboard these days, the various variables that used to be important are no longer that important anymore. In fact, the most important thing to consider today is whether the company you are dealing with will exist in 5 years time. If you are approached by a company, make sure to find out how long they are in business. Anyone can sell Promethean Boards so keep this in mind.
The type of board you want, for Irish classroom purposes, is a choice of 2. There is the ActivBoard Touch, which is the traditional type of Interactive Whiteboard and there is the ActivPanel, which is more like a TV screen with touch capabilities. Ultimately, they do the same thing and it is a matter of taste as to which one you prefer. Both have advantages and disadvantages. For example, some people like the fact that the ActivBoard doubles up as a normal whiteboard. Some people prefer the ActivPanel because it comes in one piece, i.e. no projector. It’s a good idea to compare the two for your school’s needs.
Finally, and very importantly, you need to check out the after sales support when something goes wrong. You need to pick a reseller that can fix your problems quickly. For this, it’s usually a good idea to buy as local as you can or to pick a company that can reach you within 48 hours. Whatever board you buy, there will be problems, so you’ll need to make sure that they can be solved as quickly (and as cheaply) as possible.
Last Update: April 14, 2018