Interactive whiteboards can take many forms, but the most commonly used features are generally the following:
– Capability to project screen from a computer to the whiteboard surface
– Control of a computer from the interactive whiteboard surface using proprietary software
– Ability to “capture” notes or drawings from the surface onto a computer or printout
These capabilities of interactive whiteboards are implemented in many different ways:
– Resistive touch
– Infra-red touch
– Electromagnetic pen
– Other: IR/EM pen, Wii-mote e.t.c.
Now, these kinds of boards are used in educational environments and can also be seen largely in learning centers and classrooms around the world.
As well as the ability to be used in a normal classroom, there are numerous applications for online communication. With the ability of the instructor or presenter to maneuver a “mouse” which may be viewed by students remotely, a whole course could be presented where in fact the teacher’s voice is broadcast as the student’s screen shows what’s actively occurring on the interactive whiteboard.
Additional capabilities of interactive whiteboards are:
– Easier presentation of inherently graphical subjects (geography, 3D imaging, 3D+ mathematics)
– Group editing of documents
– View and navigate the internet from the surface of the whiteboard
– Google Earth
– Watch movies
– More modern boards help boost multi device input
– Create video files for use at a later time or online
– Group games
With the large number of capabilities and amount of technology used in these interactive whiteboards there is a larger price to pay when compared to traditional whiteboards such as melamine, glass, or painted boards.
Typical prices range in the $1000 to $3000 (U.S. dollar) range. There are also occasionally addition costs when purchasing an interactive whiteboard – a computer to run the software, a projector if not included to project the display of the computer onto the whiteboard surface, and various input devices.
Making the correct choice when purchasing an interactive whiteboard is very important due to this increased cost. Before making your decision you need to answer several questions:
– What is my spending limit for the whiteboard and accessories combined?
– Do I want to use my hands or a pen for input?
– Will I be projecting onto this surface from a remote projector or do I want one incorporated into the board?
– Will I be broadcasting online, and if so, do I need special software?
Answering these questions ahead of time will make your decision easier and ensure that you end up with a whiteboard that meets your needs.