Getting to Know Interactive White Boards
Interactive white boards have been making their way into classrooms and corporate conference rooms for nearly a decade. If you aren’t familiar with what they are and how they work, now is the time to find out the benefits of having them in your office.
An interactive whiteboard uses a digital projector to display computer images on a board. The computer is connected to the whiteboard with a USB, a serial port cable, or wirelessly through Bluetooth. Basically, your computer screen is now an extra-large screen. That means you can use the whiteboard just as you would use your computer, but instead of using a mouse, you can use your finger or a stylus to interact.
While standing at the board, you can drag, click and copy images. You can make handwritten notes which can then be saved as text. This makes it useful for group discussions, brainstorming sessions or analyzing data. It’s an ideal way for small groups to work on a project, then save the findings and send them to others via email.
There are some handy features that can be used while working with the board as well. When you are discussing a specific item on a worksheet, for example, there is a spotlight tool that allows you to brighten up a specific area. A magnifier can enlarge an area of text or graphics.
Before deciding which board to buy, there are a few things to consider. First, there are two types of whiteboards generally available: rear and front projection.
As the name implies, on a rear projection board, the projector is behind the whiteboard. This allows the presenter to stand in front of it without having to look into a bright light. A drawback is that it is significantly more expensive and often very large, so it won’t sit flush against a wall. A front-projection whiteboard has a video projector in front of it. The disadvantage is that the speaker may cast shadows or block the image while working on the screen.
Deciding which will work best may also depend on the space you have. Boards come in very small sizes or they can take up an entire wall. Also, whiteboards are generally mounted, but some can be mobile.
Once you decide on the size and type you want, be sure you’ll know how it works. Ask if there will be technical support available with your purchase. A whiteboard company should offer a professional to guide you through set up and training. Even if you already have an in-house IT specialist, you may want extra help to get started. After all, there is little point in investing in technology if you don’t know how to use it.
Finally, consider what kind of software it has. Will it do what you need it to? Software, in a general sense, is outdated within a year. Will you receive timely updates?
Deciding to dive into new technology may seem a bit daunting, but using a board isn’t much different than what you’re already familiar with, and it can improve your experience working with and teaching employees. Keep in mind the interactive whiteboard purchasing tips, and you should be on your way to a profitable experience.