Is this the year of the interactive whiteboard? If you’re going to BETT this year it will be worth your while to check out the latest offerings from SMART and Promethean, as well as one or two others which are smaller in terms of education market share but no less inspired.
The new kid on the block, in terms of functionality, is very much dual- or even multi-touch. I recently tried out a SMART widescreen and dual touch whiteboard, and it was fabulous. I don’t want to say too much about that here, because my review will be appearing in PC Pro magazine in the very near future. All I will say is get along to the SMART stand and see a dual touch board for yourself. Promethean, too, has some new kit coming out.
Also, do have a look at Hitachi’s and Sahara’s offerings. Their boards have some interesting features. For example, the HItachi boards have the main icons down the sides of the board itself, while Sahara may be showing its latest mobile product, which is more like an interactive TV than a traditional whiteboard, and can be adjusted up or down and also horizontally, so that it becomes an interactive table. I was unable to report on this for PC Pro because the one I tried out was only a prototype. I’ve tried out the interactive TV technology from SMART as well. Like all technology it has its plus and minus points, but for now I just wanted to draw your attention to some interesting new products you might like to explore.
Finally, check out the non-whiteboard interactive whiteboards, such as the e-Beam from Luidia, the Mimeo, and the Epson Interactive Projector. Reviews of the first and last of these, together with an interactive whiteboard buying guide for schools, will be appearing in PC Pro very soon.