I finally got my finger(!) on the TouchIT Interactive Whiteboard at the IPPN conference. For those of you who have been reading this blog, you’ll have noticed I’ve been waiting a couple of weeks to see this new and interesting development. Until now, the only IWB I knew of, where you could interact with your finger was the Smartboard. (I have since found out Hitachi do one too – but that’s another review). Well the good news is that the TouchIT is all I hoped it would be.
The thing I like about IWBs that you can touch is the amount of extra opportunities it opens to the kinesthetic learner. The folk who sell the pen controlled devices will try to scaremonger you with health and safety warnings and grubby fingers but the fact is that they wish they could be touch-based and they’re looking for ways to discredit this technology.
As I said, the only option I knew of was Smartboards who are the market leaders and provide excellent service. So, what about TouchIT?
TouchIT is sold by the rather innovative company Resources4Learning, based in Limerick. This company were the first to bring eBeams to our shores and hundreds of schools have never looked back. TouchIT is the latest IWB to enter Ireland and offers a cost-effective solution to touch-based IWBs.
TouchIT uses Infrared beams (like the eBeam). There are four in total and their job is to create an invisible mesh on the whiteboard which is broken by a finger (or any pointy device) touching the board. This broken mesh sends co-ordinates to the computer and voila, you’ve got an interactive whiteboard.
At the moment, TouchIT comes with Easiteach, which is an very good piece of software. It can be extended (unlike other software) to include Science Packs, Maths Packs, Dance Mats, etc. However, because Promethean are releasing ActivStudio as a download in March 2009, you will also be able to get the board with this software. I must admit the new ActivStudio is rather excellent so it’s worth getting this.
As with all IWBs, the price of TouchIT depends on what you want and how many you get. It can be sold as a complete package – installed in your school ready to use – for about €2,500 or less. However, if you already have a projector, you can minus that from the cost. Also, if you want someone else to install it, again, that can be deducted.
The thing I like about the TouchIT over its competitors is the fact it can double up as a normal whiteboard when it’s not being used as an IWB. This saves the bother of having 2 spearate boards in our very small classrooms. I also like the personal after-sales service and the genuine belief that John Hughes, the head of Resources4Learning, has in his products.
I now have a new favourite Interactive Whiteboard. TouchIT has now given us a cheaper option than SmartBoard (except Liosdoire’s offer, though watch this space!) but it has also given us an added feature to touchscreen IWBs – and that is the ability to use them as normal whiteboards.
Last Update: August 17, 2017