How to Choose Interactive Whiteboards for the Classroom?
In an age where interactive whiteboard and projection systems have become common place in the classroom, the advancing technological revolution is driving this arena to new heights.
It’s important your interactive whiteboard helps students achieve learning goals by promoting critical thinking and keeping students engaged in lessons. The only problem is choosing the right one for you and your students. It’s no easy task, as there’s plenty of hype and jargon to be navigated. Luckily we’ve done the work for you, so here’s our top tips for buying the best interactive whiteboards for your classroom.
1. Size and Design
Flat panel interactive whiteboards which are suitable for most classroom sizes range from 55” to 98”, with the most popular sizes being in the range 65” to 84”. The size of the room should dictate the size of your screen. The basic rule is that the screen should be large enough to allow the students at the back of the class to be able to easily read a 20pt font.
Their weights range from 38Kg to over 100Kg in some cases so the logistics for installation and feasibility of wall and room mounting positions needs to be carefully considered for safety reasons.
Besides the size, one must check for the availability of multi touch points and active projection dimension the other important attribute is the resolution that the whiteboard offers. The Operating system of the whiteboard must be selected with attention to detail.
2. Resolution is Key
The resolution defines the sharpness and clarity of any visual panel and is the number of pixels (individual points of colour) contained within the screen. The resolution is defined as the number of pixels in the horizontal axis X the number in the vertical axis. The higher the resolution, the sharper and crisper the image.
In today’s environment, nothing less than standard High Definition 1080P (1920×1080) should be considered. Some interactive whiteboards are now also available in Ultra High Definition which is referred to in the industry as 4K (3840×2160). For example, our IQ Board Interactive Whiteboards Series are all 4K resolution.
It’s always worth knowing the expected lifespan of the interactive panels you are considering along with the warranty terms of each device.
Our advice to anyone looking to purchase interactive panels would be to dismiss any vendor offering less than a 3 year warranty.
4. Touch Function
One of the main reasons to buy an interactive whiteboard is, of course, to touch and tap the screen while making use of recognized gestures to perform daily tasks on the device.
You’ll need at least two touch points to ‘pinch’ or ‘zoom’ an image if using the interactive panel on your own. However, invite students to engage and collaborate at the front of class and suddenly you need many more interactive touch points per screen.
Most interactive touch screens are available with 6 or 10 simultaneous touch points. Our advice would be to only consider interactive screens with 6 or more touch points.
5. The driving force.
What you need to be clear on is how you intend to use your interactive panel, what classroom software you need to be working with and what PC, laptop or integrated blade style PC you will need to guarantee you that performance. Alongside this consideration, you also need to select an interactive panel which offers you adequate input and output connections.
Reputable interactive panel manufacturers will offer 2 or more HDMI inputs, a VGA input, Component, AV and PC audio inputs as a minimum. On top of this, you should expect at least one USB2.0 port and one USB 3.0 port with possible connectivity of such devices along the front of the screen for easy access.
All interactive screens which boast integrated Android or Windows players should come with an Ethernet network interface (LAN- RJ45 Connection) or with embedded Wi-Fi capability.
7. The Sound
Most reputable interactive panels should include some form of integrated speaker system although in some cases, these speakers are deemed unsuitable for a large classroom environments.It is common to find only 2 x 10 watt speakers in most interactive panels which in most cases are rear facing.
However, facing speakers are present. These do make a significant improvement in volume and sound quality compared to screens with rear facing speakers. However, additional sound bars are readily available, are low cost and integrate nicely underneath most manufacturers interactive panels, further improving the sound quality and potential volume levels achievable within the classroom environment.
Interactive whiteboard is equipped with software. It can be called a software interactive whiteboard. Software for the IWB's are designed for delivering different teaching - learning experiences. Software supporting touch and stylus pen are used for interactive discussions within the group, forming a digital narrative, lessons for specific topics of different subjects, real-time lessons and presentations. The interactive whiteboard can provide enough variety to accommodate the different learning styles of the pupils in the class.
9. Multi-student Participation
If you’re looking to facilitate more collaboration and interaction between students in your classroom, you’ll want to look into purchasing an interactive whiteboard that allows for multiple students to interact with the projected media. Multi-student participation allows for group work and presentations, broadening lesson plans and increasing student engagement.