The first ever Irish Interactive Whiteboard survey

I gave a course on Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs) this week and got hold of 5 different types of IWB. As part of the course, I got teachers to check out all the options without interfering salespeople then surveyed them on their experiences. It is clear that Promethean’s beauty has won it many fans. Smart also performed well. As for the rest… well download and read my report and see for yourself. My own opinions slip in between questions but I must admit my mind was changed a little. Download the document now.

0 thoughts on “The first ever Irish Interactive Whiteboard survey”

  1. Really enjoyed this survey and results. Well done for giving us a useful and unbiased report.
    I wonder would the results change much if you asked the teachers in question to use them for a longer period of time and within the classroom. Once the initial WOW factor of anything wears off, the truth would be apparent!
    This is also very useful for IWB companies so maybe they should be paying you commission for promoting their boards. Also, your results will help the competition improve their IWB.

  2. Like Lisa I applaude the attempt to provide an unbiased report and agree that a longer study in a classroom context would make things clearer. I am, however, curious about Lisa’s final statement which implies that she has a strong alegiance to a particular type of board!

  3. 1.I am curious regarding Simon’s credentials for producing this report other than that he is an advocate of using mobile IWBs.
    2.Judging by your comments in the Conclusion it is apparent that some participants were already familiar with a particular board and there for would not only be predisposed towards it but also through being a readily available source of help and advice on that product would likely sway colleagues in that direction. Surely this ‘survey’ would have had much more credibility had all the participants had no experience or preconceived ideas.
    The ‘survey’ was much too short and through being conducted during the ‘WOW factor period’ does not give a true assessment of the long term strengths and weaknesses of the products in a classroom environment.
    3.Not all suppliers leave teachers ‘thrown in at the deep end’. I know that at least one IWB distributor employs teachers to provide continuing after sales training and support. This area of support and training should be avery important consideration when schools are purchasing IWBs.
    4.The Primary vs Secondary conclusion is flawed because it vastly underestimates the technical ability and knowhow of children who have been brought up in a largely digital environment. It is not the pupils who struggle with the technology it is the teachers.

  4. Thanks for the comments so far. Just to respond to some of them.
    With regards to my credentials… I’m presuming it’s meant that I should have written an academic paper or something in the usage of IWBs in order to be able to produce a survey with any clout? Perhaps not? However, I believe I have sufficient expertise in ICT and education from my studies (degree in Computer Science, Masters in Digital Media + teaching qualifications) and experience of IWBs. I also lecture extensively in the uses of ICT in education. On top of that – yes I am an enthusiast.
    I seem to have become some sort of “advocate” or “pioneer” for mobile interactive whiteboards to some people, probably through my own fault! However, I’m not. I have been using Interactive Whiteboards since 2002 and have changed my opinion several times with regards to what my favourite solution is. For example, I’ve changed my mind lately, thanks to this course, about moving portable solutions around. I think they now must be left permanently(ish) in classrooms with ceiling mounted projectors. And of course wires should be either hidden or non-existent.
    The reason I have been favouring the mobile IWBs lately is the fact that they are much cheaper than permanent solutions and they do the same thing. However, I’ve now accepted that sharing them around doesn’t really work.
    With regards to the argument about training etc. I really really think that IWBs should be and can be intuitive enough to use that you don’t need training. I found that most participants on courses I’ve given were well able to get going on the IWBs without any aid. IWBs are simply a giant computer screen that you control using a mouse in the shape of a pen.
    I’m delighted to be receiving all these comments because it shows how much enthusiasm there is for ICT in education even though we get little support. I’m learning all the time from these comments and updating my own knowledge and opinions and enjoy being challenged to think about what I’ve to say.
    Keep on posting your opinions and thoughts – some have completely changed my mind! Also, what’s your favourite IWB…and why? (is that very teachery of me? 🙂 )

  5. Hi Docsmith
    did not mean to give the impression that I favour any type of whiteboard, came out the wrong way. I was trying to say that I am sure the admin put a lot of work, time and effort into surveying the various IWB solutions and maybe the companies( all of them) should show their interest in some way!
    I don’t think any of my post showed an allegiance to a particular white board, please show me where and I will clarify!
    I did say however that the results( and I stand by this) that the results of this small but important study could help ALL of the IWB companies improve their products( price, resources etc.) for the teachers and pupils that use them!
    thanks for sharing!

  6. Very late to add a comment to this, but I would endorse admin’s original preference for ebeam/mimio solely because they provide the means to engage the whole class in teaching and learning with ICT in a meaningful way… inexpensively. Our school provided TWO classrooms with permanently installed ebeam IWBs (inc board/projector/speakers) for less than the price of our original Promethean. Both systems are used daily. Both systems allow for incorporation of ICT in class. The Promethean bells and whistles may be impressive first day (or even first week), but when it comes down to it, most of the content you want can be found with a quick websearch. I also prefer the way I can save my ‘scribbles’ on a webpage or Powerpoint. AND I can use whiteboard markers on my IWB, so it works as a plain old blackboard substitute when I need it to, rather than Promethean’s expensive white hole on the wall!

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