The Interactive Whiteboard is dead! Long live the Interactive Touchscreen! This is what people who are selling the next generation of interactive devices would hope to be the case since the slowdown in the sales of Interactive Whiteboards in the last few years. After the craze of Interactive Whiteboards from around 2008 to 2011 in primary schools, things have settled down a lot. Tablets seem to be the flavour of the moment but they aren’t selling to the same extent.
The MiTouch Interactive Touchscreen from Mediascene is basically a very large TV screen that can be interacted with using touch. The difference between it and an Interactive Whiteboard is that you no longer need a projector to display whatever is on one’s laptop. This means it can be switched on and off without blowing a bulb and you get a much clearer image on screen even on bright days in the classroom.
Interactive Touchscreens have been around for a long time but they are now at a comparable price to regular Interactive Whiteboards. Media Scene currently have an offer for theirs at less than €3,000 on some of their MiTouches.
I gave one a test drive recently and I found it to be very reliable. In a nutshell, it simply worked. There were no drivers to download and I was up and running within 20 minutes. Even though the screen looks smaller than an Interactive Whiteboard, children were easily able to see what was there. Media Scene give some software with their offering and it works just as well as on an Interactive Whiteboard. The screen is coated with some material that avoids “finger burn” though I didn’t notice that too much. However, I did notice that there weren’t smudges all over the screen, as I might have expected!
However, the big advantage for me about the MiTouch is not needing a projector. Projectors are rather tiresome devices that require cleaning and use lots of electricity. They also break down a lot and take ages to come back on once they are turned off. With the MiTouch, you have none of these problems.
Overall, if you are in the market for an Interactive Whiteboard, I would certainly consider buying the MiTouch, particularly at the current offer price. Any decent Interactive Whiteboard is going to set a school back €3,000 anyway so it’s worth a go. However, one consideration is to ensure that the screen you get is big enough for your classroom.