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What is an Electronic Whiteboard?

Ken Black
Ken Black

An electronic whiteboard, or white board, is a term used to refer to two different types of presentation devices. One device is a projection screen that looks very similar to the boards used with erasable markers, but which works electronically, without the use of ink. The board displays digital images and has the capability to track drawings and writings in different colors. The other type of electronic whiteboard is a computer program that allows users in a teleconferencing environment to work on the same document in real time.

The type of electronic whiteboard that makes use of a computer and projector is used to display information to people in the same physical location. They are becoming common both in business environments, and in the classroom. A projector displays the computer program on the screen. The operator then uses a pen to control the computer. In this way, it is very similar to the touchscreens available with some personal computers.

Some electronic whiteboards use projectors.
Some electronic whiteboards use projectors.

Educational settings particularly seem to value the use of the electronic whiteboards. Since many educators teach the same lesson plan to multiple classes during the course of the day, this type of whiteboard can be a time-saving device. Notes and diagrams can be saved and reproduced at the touch of a button for each subsequent class.

In business, the electronic whiteboard has a variety of uses as well. The boards can be used when dealing with complicated spreadsheets needing to be altered during the course of a meeting, running a slide show with interactive features, or other situations. Also, the user could have additional emphasis placed on a particular word or drawing by using motion of flashes, something traditional whiteboards do not have the capability to do.

Many of the top electronic whiteboards sell for more than $1,000 US Dollars, but cheaper models are also available. Users should look at all the models in their price range and choose one that has the features they value most. There will likely be many options, including rear projection or front projection, board size, interactive features and more.

The other type of electronic whiteboard, meant for teleconferencing environments, can save a lot of time in business meetings. While there is no projected display, each user sees a display of what is taking place from his or her own computer. Nearly any computer program can be used with this technology. Users are even able to take turns making changes to the document during the virtual meeting.

Discussion Comments


A white board is the one of the best techniques to explain the idea of a project or anything you want to explain in front of others.


@ Istria- My university homepage has interactive whiteboard software applications. It is really convenient. I can collaborate on projects with students in large groups, all in real time. It allows us to meet without actually having to physically be in one place. It lessens the burden of group projects because it allows everyone an opportunity to participate, regardless of schedule.


@ Istria- I live just outside of Phoenix, Arizona, and there is a new high school that was just built that uses electronic interactive whiteboards. I am pretty sure the school issues all new students a laptop loaded with web conferencing software that allows students to access lectures and homework assignments even if the student is absent. There was a write up about the schools technology in a local paper or magazine earlier this year. I moved to Phoenix from a small rural community, so this type of technology in schools blows my mind.


One of the sections of my college chemistry class uses multiple interactive electronic whiteboards. The room holds about 72 students separated into groups of six, all situated at round tables. The room is octagonal with four interactive boards surrounding the room, connected to projectors. Each table has three tablet PCs that are synced to the interactive boards, showing what the professor is writing in real time. When the professor writes, the writing shows up on all boards. The professor can also project web content, presentations, and videos, editing them and saving the edits. The whiteboards even print documents to be distributed as needed.

I just started the class so I have not seen all that the technology is capable of, but it is impressive. It definitely makes the class interesting, and it is nice to be able to illustrate one person’s question to the entire class while they work. You can simply see what the professor is doing on the tablet PC while you complete chemistry activities.

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    • Some electronic whiteboards use projectors.
      By: M S
      Some electronic whiteboards use projectors.