An interactive whiteboard is a large, wall-mounted board with built-in computer processors that allow users to interact directly with a computer through contact with the screen. The users can write on the board with special markers, or touch the screen with a wand or their hand. A standard white board uses dry erase markers and ranges in size from 10 to 15 feet (3.4 m to 4.6 m). They are often used in meeting rooms or classrooms. There are three items required to use interactive whiteboards: projector, screen and computer.
The interactive whiteboard is a large interactive display that connects to both a computer and a projector. A projector displays the computer image onto the board’s surface, where users control the computer using a special pen, finger or other device. The board is either mounted to a wall or on a floor stand.
A digital projector mounted to the ceiling is required to properly display the image on the screen. It is important to check the recommendation from the interactive whiteboard supplier for the projector to determine if a specific model is required. Read the minimum system requirements provided with the interactive whiteboard software to ensure that the computer will be able to support this interactive software. It is important to ensure that Internet browsers and data capture software are also available on the same computer. Install antivirus protection to ensure that the unit is protected.
The software provided with the interactive board will include data capture, editing, image modification and document management tools. Included in these tools are specialized products, such as document versions and tracking changes. Additional features available may include integrated audience response. In this scenario, audience members are all provided with hand-held devices. During the lecture, they can respond to questions and participate by clicking on the appropriate button.
When selecting an interactive whiteboard, it is important to consider the room size, type of presentation and level of audience interaction anticipated. These factors affect the ideal location and screen size. These units are commonly found in post-secondary classroom, business boardrooms, media and sports broadcasting studios. The interactive component of the software enhances the participation level of the audience and creates a shared experience.
The popularity of these tools has increased as the price decreases. A series of research studies have been completed in Europe, evaluating the value of these tools in a classroom setting. A two-year study found that the level of knowledge retention increased significantly with the use of interactive whiteboards. The program success increased during the second year, as the instructors became more familiar with the tool and were able to better incorporate it into their lesson plans.