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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Great slideshow. I agree that most IWBs aren't being used interactively. Many of the things teachers do with them (in my experience) could be done on a chalkboard. In my original question in this post, I wondered if anyone did things with an IWB that couldn't be done with a projector on a whiteboard (and possibly a drawing pad or wii-mote set-up). I still haven't seen anything that truly separates IWBs from the cheaper alternatives. They are easier to use and have lots of extras, but a little effort and creativity is all it takes to accomplish similar results.
The Wiimote whiteboard is almost exactly the same experience as the Prometheans - Mimios, EBeams .... So I would say with a Wiimote & IR pen a teacher should be in good shape and not need to spend $1,000 ... $50 should do.
Thanks for this Jason - you make some very good points - ict in any form is yet another tool and how we use it is important rather than expecting it to instantly transform teaching and learning.
Thanks for the reminder on these slates. Our school has not made the leap into IWBs although there are a couple in the school. I have access to a data projector which is probably even more important than the IWB. A slate however would be useful.

Why is Imagination Cubed useful? Can't you do the same thing in MSWord without the issues of being online?
I don't use Imagination Cubed much, just to draw diagrams or bubble charts on the fly. I can do the same thing with PowerPoint, save it and post it to the web. What I really like is sketchcast. It records what you draw. It's great for math. I recently found out (on this network) about a program called sketcfu. It does similar things to sketchcast, but allows you to speed up the image or slow it down. In math, students often demonstrate understanding in class, but then forget the process when they do their homework. Their notes are static, it doesn't show the process. The recorded steps do.

Another good choice for the WIImoteboards is Kindlelab - http://kindlelab.com ... alot like Notebook (except free and opensource)
Thanks for sharing this. I am able to see exactly how it works and the costs.
I notice with the WIImote and Kindlelab you still have to calibrate as with all the interactive boards. That's one thing I really like about the slates (Interwrite, Airliner, Wacom, etc). No calibration, means no interruptions when someone moves the projector while teaching, if it isn't ceiling mounted.
I was experimenting with the record function on the Interwrite yesterday and was able to convert the video to a Quicktime so it could be posted on my blog. This was just for testing purposes, but you can check it out at
Just think about the uses here, not just for posting on a teacher's website, but playing the prerecorded lesson while the teacher moves about the classroom freely to help students following and practicing the instruction.
I tried the same with the Smart notebook tool recorder and the Mimeo. Mimeo was a little clunky to use, but worked, the Smart file was twice the size of the other two, and also a little awkward to do. Both of these would also have to be converted to Quicktime.
You can record your screen action for free with with jing (saves as swf) or screencast-o-matic (saves as quicktime or wmv). Here is a sample I did with screencast-o-matic to show how to make green screen material in Final Cut. Jing and S-O-M are embeddable, but can be huge files - especially for graphics intensive things. As Wade pointed out you can downconvert the Quicktime files pretty easily.

As I've mentioned in previous posts, my favorite for screencasting is sketchcast (scroll up a couple posts). These casts are embeddable, fairly small, and allow you to add audio. You only have to grab the embed code to put it on your blog, rather than messing with all the converting.
I also like freescreencast, a small download, simple controls and easy upload to an embeddable service.
I am not familiar with what the wireless drawing pad can do, so I can't really say, but I am absolutely amazed at the difference an interactive white boards makes in our classrooms. I am a district Technology Integration Specialist and we have had the boards for 7 or 8 years. In our new schools, we have eliminated televisions in the classroom by directing everything through the Smart Boards Promethean boards. Also, having worked with the boards for so many years, I can say that we have never had one stolen and they all still work. I would be interested to know more about the wireless drawing pad. Can you share lesson plans from Smart and/or prometheanplanet.com?
So as I'm reading all these posts generated by Mike's initial post "Are Interactive whiteborads necessary?', I'm curious as what criteria would one consider to qualify making them necessary? Doesn't student achievement fit in here? Has anyone looked at student assessment data to determine if any of these tools increase student achievement?
If they are not helping to increase students achievement, are they helping to infuse 21st Century tools? Not that many of our students will be using interactive boards or slates in their 21st century jobs, so how do they actually fit in?
Just to clarify myself, I'm neither pro nor con about any of these tools. In my position I need to look at all the benefits and downfalls.
Here's a link to an interesting post about student achievement and interactive boards (something to think about)

With dollars being so scarce this next year, we need to make sure the tools that are purchased are used with a focus.



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