I used to wish my school would spring for an interactive whiteboard. This year, however, I got a projector in my room and recently added a wireless drawing pad. After using these, I don't see much need for an interactive whiteboard.

With google docs, sketchcast, and another tool I just found - Imagination Cubed, I can do most things I've seen iboards do. When I throw in the wireless sketchpad, I have even more freedom and the kids can "manipulate" things on screen themselves. ( I've written more about the tools I use on my blog).

All this comes for significantly less money than iboards. Does anyone else use a similar setup? Are there iboard users who think that a simple projector and sketchpad can't measure up?

Tags: iboards

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Bob, why do you think a Smartboard makes the teacher's life easier? I have a Smartboard and love it. I don't want to go back to teaching without it but I will have to say that it hasn't made my job easier. It has made teaching more enjoyable, but not easier. I spend a lot of time designing effective Smartboard lessons. Maybe it's because I teach high school German and there aren't as many pre-made lessons for my area as there are for other subjects and grade levels.
I have been using my "wiiboard" since the beginning of the year. You can obtain 90% of the function of one of the commercial iboards for a fraction of the cost. The entire setup (not including the projector or computer) should cots you less than $100. There are a lot of resources out there on creating the Wiiboard, but I haven't come across a lot of information on effective uses of the wiiboard in the classroom. I am doing my best to document activities that work well with this technology on my wiki.
It is not $100 as you have not included a projector, mounting, cabling, or trolley, whiteboard/projector screen/painted wall, computer, in your bundle price. If correctly installed, a setup without the board is still a few thousand. The IWB is only 30-40% of the cost.
I tried this. We made the pen, got the Wii remote, etc., etc. I "wanted" to work, but just couldn't manage to get all the way there. Certainly nothing like in the video.

I am actually getting a Smartboard in my classroom this fall. I am pretty excited about all the things that can be done in the classroom, but I am also excited about what can be done outside of class.

Now I hope I am not wrong about this, and if I am no one tell me because I will be sad all summer...LOL, but my plan is to post whatever occurs on the board in my website. That way when a student is absent they can review the Smartboard video. That, plus using a student "scribe" will seemingly help absent student (or students who just want to review) a great deal.
Thank you Vincent. This is pretty amazing. I researched this on youtube and Johnny Lee's work has really snowballed. It is definitely a viable alternative.

The one advantage to the IWBs, especially Promethean is the amazing amount of resources for teachers available through the web sites. IWBs do so much more than project and record but the cost/benefit is very much in question.
I've been reviewing interactive tools for classrooms in my district for the past year. I'm surprised that no one here has mentioned the Interwrite Pad. It works the same way as the Airliner and has it's own software. Here is some cost breakdown. Wacom pad is the least expensive. While it's just like the Airliner, you don't get the software that Smart has to go with it. Smart is very proprietary about their notebook software. You must have a board or Airliner to legally use it. Promethean has lots of interactive software that you can legally download - I've heard- and use with any interactive board or slate.
The Airliner is about $400, the Interwrite Pad is $497, and the Wacom pad is about $300.
I have taught lessons with the Interwrite pad to Kindergarten classes, 2nd grade, 5th and 6th grade. What's funny is that the younger students seem to adapt much quicker to the pads.
If you really want to save money there's always the iPen. It's $100. Basically a mouse in the form of a pen. No real software to brag about.
We've also looked at the Mimeo (better than the eBeam) and very portable. Needs batteries. We've had a little problem with interference with classroom motion sensors on both the Mimeo and SmartBoard. If the board is directly wired to the computer there's less interference.
Cost-wise of the pads ,Airliner and Interwrite, are a better deal compared to a board. Again they both have their own proprietary software which can't be shared, so stick with one brand. Add a projector and they can move anywhere, they charge internally and are pretty sturdy.
There's my 2 cents worth. Hope it helps.
Smart is very proprietary about their notebook software. You must have a board or Airliner to legally use it. Promethean has lots of interactive software that you can legally download - I've heard- and use with any interactive board or slate.

If you want to run Promethean software on another board/slate then you can purchase a copy of it... you can't get it for free. Schools could legally install it on a certain number of computers (I think it was 8) for every promethean board that they have.

Smart Notebook also should only be used on a smart product - smartboard/airliner. Previously this was on an honour system, but with Smart 10 you now need a serial number.

Problem with the temporary setups - ebeam/mimio - is that the time they take to set up puts a lot of teachers up. The idea that it can move from classroom to classroom to be used by different teachers doesnt really happen as teachers don't want the hassle at the start of the lesson. The same is true of mobile Smartboards.

There is a move towards open source IWB software - the Kindle Project may eventually be something that could take on the big two of Smart/Promethean

Thanks for the update on the Wii remote software. This could be revolutionary.

Leigh - teaching in Azerbaijan
You're right - you don't "need" an interactive white board - but it's nice to have. Yes with the tablet you can still interact with the data, but for younger kids with no spacial co-ordination they can't use it effectively. Also, some of the newer boards allow 2 or more users at the same time (I'm thinking of the new Promethean with ActivArena installed), you can't do that with a tablet.

Bang for buck - your system is the way to go. Cheap, portable, and still reasonably interactive. Now if they had a tablet with led tech so you could see what/where you were touching, I'd be totally on your side here... as it is, both systems have their pros and cons....
can do this with a wiimote whiteboard too:

Hi, I have just given a presentation about IWBs in the secondary sector with the key idea that IWBs are not inherently interactive. You still really need to work on your lessons to make them interactive. You can find the slideshow here
Good point Jason. IWBs still require the teacher to have enthusiasm for the medium. I'm hearing that lots of teachers in the UK who have them don't actually use them much, I gather through lack of confidence, or enthusiasm.



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