I’m a member of a mailing list for principals and the topic of Interactive Whiteboards and value for money came up for discussion. One of the most heartening things for me was the amount of interest and knowledge that other principals had. One such principal gave some fantastic advice which would save a school thousands in costs. This principal works in Blanchardstown in Dublin and has installed 11 IWBs. He has given me permission to display his post, which I thank him for.
An interactive whiteboard can cost you and your school a lot of money. The most expensive one I can find costs nearly €6,000. The marketing people say it’s the cream of the crop – adjustable height, short-throw projector, excellent after-sales service, free training, etc. etc. However, when you can buy an Interactive Whiteboard for less than €2,500 that does everything anyone would want an Interactive Whiteboard to do, is the extra €3,500 worth it? I don’t think so. And…furthermore, is the sub €2,500 Interactive Whiteboard any worse than the €6,000? In a word, no. So, here’s what you need for an excellent Interactive Whiteboard.
I encountered Interactive Whiteboards for the first time when I trained to be a teacher in 2002. A year or so before, the Welsh government had given every school in Wales an Interactive Whiteboard, (with full training), and every teacher was able to use it. The Interactive Whiteboard usually resided in a computer room or in some cases, each classroom had one equipped. Teachers designed work for themselves and each other and they seemlessly integrated with their school plan. By the time I got to Wales, although children were happy to use the Interactive Whiteboard, the novelty had completely worn off.
Using a projector and a normal whiteboard rather than investing in a full IWB set up is often the case in cash-strapped or possibly clever schools. A discussion on this very topic is going on on the DICTAT mailing list and Education Posts Forum so here was my twopence worth…
I suppose I’m asking that question myself. I could buy an eBeam, Mimio or Onfinity Interactive Whiteboard and a cheap projector. Both my classrooms would then have one but over the summer, since my course on IWBs and since meeting representatives from Promethean and Smart and learning of all the advantages and disadvantages of all their products, I think it’s time I took a fresh look at the prices out there now.
eBeam is getting a showing in Wexford (Enniscorthy to be exact) with two courses being offered this autumn. Check out the Wexford Education Centre for more details. This post is sponsored by SmartBoard… click for more information.
I’m personally surprised by this news. I subscribe to the Education Posts forum, which is a forum for all teachers and SNAS. A thread was started a couple of days ago about whether a teacher should invest in Promethean or Smart IWBs. I was amazed to see that almost every post so far condemned Promethean’s after sales service. To quote a user…
Smartboard.ie are now the sponsors of all Interactive Whiteboard articles on Anseo.net. Firstly, we would like to thank the company for their sponsorship as it keeps us motivated to write. Secondly, we’ll clear a few things up about the sponsorship deal. The main item to clear up is that articles will not be biased towards … Read more
Today I had the pleasure of meeting the Market Development Manager from Steljes, who supply Smart Boards in Ireland. I was looking forward to this meeting because I like Smart Boards. I like the way you can use your finger to interact with the board. As far as I know, it’s the only board that allows this. However, some companies try to badmouth this with scaremongering and I was interested to see what they had to say. I also wanted to see what their plans were for their new version of Smart Notebook 10, which I’ve heard rumours about.
I often wondered how Promethean pens required no power whatsoever to work. Most other solutions require you to stick an AA battery in them and you’ll get a year or so out of them before having to replace the batteries. Promethean pens will go on for ever and ever relatively. So I asked the head of development and he told me that there is a coil of copper wiring through the pen which reacts to the wiring inside the whiteboard. This got me thinking about a touch screen Promethean board.