Choosing the Right Interactive Whiteboard
Interactive whiteboard, which also known as IWB is a common sight in today modern classrooms in schools and campuses. All around the globe, interactive whiteboard sees high installation in educational establishments with interactivity and enhanced learning being the most featured benefits. However, it turns out that interactive whiteboard seem to also gain incredible popularity among business users as collaboration platform. When integrated with unified communication or video conference system, interactive whiteboard makes a great tool to connect with anyone practically from anywhere and anytime. But despite its wide deployment in education and corporate environments, alike, note that the interactive whiteboard alone may not be much of use if you do not choose the right solution. When choosing the right interactive whiteboard, the most important thing to do is matching it with your needs. After all, the interactive board is only a tool to meet your goals. So in order to get the most out of your interactive whiteboard, there are some aspects to consider depending on your requirements. For teachers, they may want to ensure that the interactive whiteboard fit the classroom size and applicable to learning materials. As for business users, the compatibility with existing unified communication or video conference systems may be critical.
Compared to the conventional board, there are some reasons for why interactive whiteboard is a better option for engaging your audience, both in education and business purposes. In the first place, interactive whiteboard is powerful in gaining higher attention. Case in point, teachers can use interactive whiteboard to demonstrate how some biological process work or abstract concepts. In another case, interactive whiteboard also helps to bring out graphics and visuals when sharing new product presentation with your clients or colleagues. Secondly, interactive whiteboard also comes handy to keep your audience focus to what you've got to say or deliver during learning process or collaboration. And interactivity is a way to do so. Interactive whiteboard allows two way communication where students or other parties not only see and listen to ideas but also giving feedbacks and take an active role in the whole process as presenters do. That aside, users can also expect opportunities to engage their audience with various kind of multimedia materials such as video, websites, interactive software, and many more. All things said, some types of interactive whiteboard is also fitted with multitouch capability, interactive pen, or both of them; creating a new comprehensive learning or collaboration process altogether with visual, auditory, and kinesthetic senses involved. If you find interactive whiteboard the right solution for you, nex thing to do is choosing the right interactive whiteboard for your needs. Again, choosing the right interactive whiteboard is that first step to get the most from it.
Look Behind the Board
When choosing the right interactive whiteboard, it is best to start from the board itself. In general, the interactive whiteboard may look all the same even when compared to the conventional board but when looked closely, they can be totally different. First thing first, board can be categorized into two major types: electromagnetic and resistive. The former usually has hard surfaces with grid layer behind it and needs special pen to make input. In contrast, resistive board are soft and you can use both pen and fingers to interact with it. Even, there is also this active interactive whiteboard type which work together with interactive projector and cordless pen which does not really comes in contact with the board directly. Each type of board has its own strength weaknesses. The proponents of hard electromagnetic interactive whiteboard argue that it is more durable than its counterpart because there is no whatsoever moving parts. On the other hand, others which uses resistive interactive whiteboard believes special pen is more costly and may wear down and get damaged faster in long term.
Other board specification you need to look at is the size of the interactive whiteboard. When choosing the right interactive whiteboard, you need to make sure that the screen size match the size of the classrooms. The bigger is not necessarily the better, especially if you got a small or medium rooms. Think also about the distance from the interactive whiteboard to projector and audience. What;s more, users may also have to watch for the actual active screen area in which you can use the interactive features. Problem is sometimes manufacturers only provide the overall size of the board, not the active area which is usually cut down by bezels.
Software Compatibility and Versatility
When choosing the right interactive whiteboard, do not only focus on the hardware aspect such as size or material of the board. Software is the next important key factor to consider when choosing the right interactive whiteboard. Making the wrong choice and end up with limited options because of software compatibility issues will not bring you anywhere into the realm of interactive whiteboard. You may as well end up like people buying standard whiteboard with extra features. Some models of interactive whiteboard may come with proprietary software of their own so the software will vary in functionality and features in most cases. But there are also some which support a lot of interactive software applications. Aside of compatibility, ease of use and versatility are also other thing you need to look for when choosing the right interactive whiteboard. After all, you need to protect your investment while maintaining possibilities for future expansion. You are not buying into interactive whiteboard for short term usage so you definitely want something which you can easily use without much fuss or taking too much time to learn. Collaboration is another most common scenarios with interactive whiteboard. As such, you should ensure that the interactive whiteboard supports collaboration or sharing features with little to no additional equipment software. Even if they do need one, it is better to keep the cost reasonable. You choose to use interactive whiteboard to increase productivity in cost-effective way, not making more expenses.
Warranty and Value of Money
Warranty is the last thing to consider when choosing the right interactive whiteboard. As mentioned above, interactive whiteboard is more of the long term investment type of product. Therefore, look for manufaturer which offer at least three to five years warranty to ensure quality and long-lasting usage of the interactive whiteboard. However, some high-end models also comes with lifetime warranty, making the best value of your money.