Interactive Whiteboards are becoming more prevalent in Australian classrooms. Studies that consider the use of interactive whiteboards suggest that they bring a range of benefits to their environments
such as increasing student participation, assisting in information retention and providing a platform of teaching which ‘digital natives’ are eager to be involved with.
A conventional interactive whiteboard set-up consists of three core components: a computer, a data projector and the interactive whiteboard itself. To put this into context, think of the computer as the brains of the solution; it runs the backbone operating system (such as Windows or Mac OS) along with providing other applications such as internet access, brainstorming or document processing.
The data projector provides the visual component, achieving the same job as the computer monitor but providing a much larger image so that all students in the classroom can see what is happening. Lastly, the interactive whiteboard functions as the pointing device, or the way that the teacher or student actually interacts with the computer by pressing on icons and interacting with other features of the computer.
A more recent revision or evolution of this concept is the interactive projector. An interactive projector combines the interactive whiteboard and projector components into one device and instead of the projector shooting an image onto an interactive whiteboard, it shoots onto a flat surface such as a ‘fixed frame’ screen (note, this differs from a pull-down or motorised screen), blank wall or standard whiteboard. The interactivity is then achieved through the use of an electronic pen, which wirelessly transmits a signal back to the projector, in order to provide interaction to the computer.
The advantage you’ll get from an interactive projector is that, whilst being a little more expensive than a standard data projector, you do not need to invest in the interactive whiteboard itself, which usually results in a lower overall cost. Additionally, an interactive projector is particularly useful in situations where a physical interactive whiteboard doesn’t quite fit, due to physical constraints for example, as the projector image can be resized to suit the environment more closely.
Keeping those advantages in mind, there are a few important things to note when considering an interactive projector and these centre around the use of the electronic pen, which is needed to achieve interactivity. Firstly, people who prefer to use their finger, or another pointing device, will not have these options available, as only the electronic pen can be used. The pen also requires batteries, so should they go flat, interactivity cannot be achieved.
Most importantly however, because the pen is so vital to the solution, it is paramount that it is kept somewhere safe and does not go missing, otherwise the interactivity component of the projector will not work, unless the pen is found or replaced.
Whilst, where possible, we recommend an interactive solution that provides you the ability to use your finger (or pointing device of your choosing), interactive projectors certainly provide an alternative to contemplate when considering an interactive solution; in some situations an interactive projector might be the perfect compromise between getting interactivity and purchasing a full interactive whiteboard kit.
The range of Interactive projectors is starting to grow and we provide solutions from both InFocus and Hitachi that we recommend and you can have a look at these solutions on our website:
• InFocus IN3914 Interactive Projector
• Hitachi IPJAW250NM Interactive Projector
Please note that we always recommend that these are installed by qualified AV technicians, so please do not hesitate to contact us at email@example.com for a quote on the professional installation for these products or to seek any further information.