Our district is trying to decide if classrooms should be equiped with a projector and an interactive whiteboard or just a projector and wireless slate. Could you please tell me the pro and cons of each? What can you do with the interactive whiteboards that you would not be able to do with the wireless slates? An thoughts, articles, research would be helpful.

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Our district uses a variety of interactive boards - Numonics or SMART in all high school math rooms, some middle school science rooms and a few other rooms. We also use SMART boards in our low-functioning special ed classrooms (PreK to 12) since the students can use fingers and don't have to grip a pen - we can then video the students doing their activities as documentation of their standards assessments since these students don't take the regular state test.

We also have 12 or so Interwrite SchoolPads in each school (less than 600 students each). Some teachers take to them right off, others are hesitant. I have found that if you take part of a class period and let each student give it a whirl then they are ready when you want to do the "real" work. As far as being glorified mice, my only experience is the SchoolPad and it is so much more than that. I can create activity pages easily with the pad using the software that comes with the pad. There are also lessons available for download. Just as with a Numonic board I can program the "buttons" on the sides of the pad to open specific files or web pages and save this is a lesson.

One thing I have not seen discussed here is the advantage of pads for students who have disabilities which restrict movement. Examples from my district that come to mind are the middle school girl in a wheelchair who cannot easily go to the board, but she can sure participate using a SchoolPad; another example from my district is the 5th grader with cerebral palsy who often falls when walking (even using crutches) - in a tight classroom, his manuvering to the board can be a nightmare, but he is quite able to participate with the SchoolPad without risking injury. I agree with the comment about being in two places at once. Since you can move around with a pad/slate you are not stuck in front of the class with your back turned.

Another use I have found for the SchoolPad is using its record/playback function to record how-to videos for our staff. I can sit at my desk with a headset and record my screen along with audio directions. In this case, I am not even using the pad, simply the recording software.

I honestly don't think there either one is better than the other, rather I think it depends on what you (or your faculty) envision using using the board or the slate for. As mentioned already, the slates are much less expensive than the boards and for some schools, this is a deciding factor - it certainly was in our district. We can supply the SchoolPads in a greater ratio than we could boards - and they are easier to share than a board, even one on wheels.
Michelle, I would look at the new interactive whiteboard from PolyVision. It is called eno. It is a hard surface interactive whiteboard that has a lifetime warranty. It allows teachers use of magnets and dry ease markers so that means a teacher does not lose the front of the room when a traditional whiteboard is installed. I am sure you have seen those...those interactive whiteboards that have some type of sign on them that say "This is not a whiteboard...do not use markers of any kind on this board." I have always got a good laugh at that. Now, PolyVision's interactive whiteboard can be whatever you want it to be...a whiteboard, a dry erase board, an interactive whiteboard....check out link below. Also, if you go with a slate, any slate that you can connect to your computer will work with the PolyVision product. Nothing special needed.

My suggestion: buy a projector, really good speakers and make a nice installation so that u easily can connect your laptop - then buy computers (maybe the new classmate tablet pc from intel) for the kids - use software like the Classroom presenter 3 for interaction with the pupils- and connect a cheap wacom tablet for writing... if u really want something lika the smartboard - use the wiimote whiteboard software - it works and it is cheap -
I would most definitely suggest that you hint to your technology committee head that you would benefit from a projector and interactive whiteboard, rather than a projector and wireless slate. I am fortunate enough to have all three resources in my classroom and I have to say that I undoubtedly use the interactive whiteboard much for often. I teach first grade, and I will be honest...we rarely use the wireless tablet. Not only do I have trouble working the slate without seeing anything in front of me (you have to look at the projection), but my first graders can barely use it all. I initially was excited to use the tablet as a classroom managment tool (in theory, I had planned to do something on the whiteboard from far away using the slate) but I find that going to the Smart Board is much more efficient and user-friendly for the students and myself. So again, interactive white board for sure! If anyone has any hints on how to incorporate the wireless slate more effectively, please pass that information on to me!
I have been a squeaky wheel to my district regarding technology. I have wanted interactive whiteboard technology in my classroom for some time, but due to cost, that hasn't happened. However last week a wireless slate was installed in my room. It is an incredible tool. I am just learning all it can do, but it is impressive. The cost is significantly less than an interactive whiteboard and that is just the beginning of the "pro" list for me. Other advantages include mobility for me within my room, as others in this forum have stated, and ease of integration with other software and technology. Along with that, the available educational interactive sims designed for use with this tool is incredible. I don't know if I can include this, but here is a link to some videos that show the flexibility of one brand of wireless slate. http://iwl.einstruction.com/support/wstutorials.html#vids Here too is a link to sims that are free downloads somewhat correlated to state standards. http://iwl.einstruction.com/resources/standards2.htm

One "con", as someone stated is related to the user's hand/eye coordination. It can be challenging, but i have used a graphics tablet for personal use for some time so the transition was relatively easy. I think most people can become proficient with this tool, if they want to learn it. My kids laugh sometimes when I fumble, but someone is always quick to say, "Don't be mean! She's just learning." That in itself is priceless! Interactive whiteboards are probably easier for someone to quickly use, but.... i prefer to be mobile.

Another great thing is that some of these interactive slates are designed specifically for education. If I were given a choice at this point, I would choose the interactive slate.
I forgot to mention one more advantage of the interactive slate that I am using (Interwrite). You can record and playback both visual and sound. So if you have a substitute covering your class, you can have the instruction recorded exactly as you want your students to see/hear it. That way you can make sure the students are getting the instruction you want them to have. I am rarely out of the classroom, but I don't like returning to clean up/reteach concepts the correct way. Mistakes in instruction by substitutes don't happen often, but once in awhile they do.
I used both a smartboard and slates. There is no difference between what you can do with a smartboard and a slate and slates turn out to be more interactive than boards. The only thing is slates are more difficult to master, it needs getting used to so if you have many students and it will take some time.Then the problem is while one is learning the rest is getting bored so you have to get something ready so that everybody has work to do. Still once you are done it works really well.
We have had both slates and boards in our school (I work at a high school) and our teachers prefer the slates. In my opinion the pros of the slates are as follows: the teacher is not tied to the board, the cost is much less, anything that can be done with the board can be done with the slate, students enjoy using the slates, and classroom management issues are lessened. There is nothing like standing next to the disruptive student while still being able to teach the class. It does take a committment of time to get comfortable with the slates. I have found that if a teacher is willing to invest the time initially he/she will find the slate invaluable. This year I was only able to put one slate in each classroom, but I am hoping to add at least one more to each classroom next year. We have used both the Interwrite and Airliner. In my opinion the Notebook (Airliner) software is superior. When working with elementary level students, I would say that the board is a better solution due to coordination issues.
convertible tablet computers and projectors.!!!!a properly placed projector can give you a "screen" as large as you emptiest wall. The projector and the tablet are ULTRA portable--no problem fitting a big board into the room. The smartboard system still requires a computer for storage and sharing. With the tablet computer and projector, the hand/eye coordination should not be a problem--write directly on the tablet screen and see it there, while classmates view the big screen. Use Onenote (which is included in the package of many convertible tablets) for the presentation and the finished product can be shared/stored in many ways.
Our teachers like the ability to check what they have covered in one class to what was accomplished in another section of the same class.
I should add that we are a 1 to 1 tablet high school, so we can also use OneNote shared sessions on the projector and make the lesson completely interactive.
Thanks for the posts here! I was hoping to find this question. It's nice to have found it! I'm elementary and lean towards the slate (wish mine were an airliner, so I could use the notebook software with it). I have had my students use it a little bit (even kinders and first graders), but as the tech teacher I don't see them often enough to really train them. I took them to a room with a Smart Board today and discovered the 2nd graders had about as much trouble with the SmartBoard too though. I really think both tools will take learning time up front (yes, the other students will get bored during this learning period if it isn't planned right). I feel like the WAY cheaper price of the AirLiner compared to board is worth it. I hadn't thought about the students with mobility issues! Thank you for bringing that up. For those who said the pad is a glorified mouse... I definitely disagree there. Have you ever tried to write notes - legible words with a mouse? The stylus makes a HUGE difference. I've been telling my teachers with projectors in their rooms that they can use the SMART software to do practically everything they could do with our one SMARTboard that we share as a school. The problem is, they have to do it with a mouse and highlighting and writing notes on a website and all doesn't work really well with a mouse.

As I see them: Slate Pros: Mobility of technology instead of user (classroom management for teacher, work from anywhere for student) cheaper, projected image isn't limited by size of board, software works just like it does on a board, multiple pads can be used in one room (though usually students have to wait their turn), can always reach the top and sides of the screen

Slate Cons: hand/eye coordination takes a little longer to develop maybe, needs to be charged,

Board Pros: see what you are doing where you are doing it, technology to stare back at you in your classroom as a reminder that you should probably be using it

Board Cons: can't rest hand on board while writing like you can on paper, little ones can't reach the top of the board, if your projector isn't placed just right you can't always touch the sides, need to realign if the unmounted board gets bumped, installation costs, might cover regular whiteboard

I'd like to think that both Board and AirLiner could be equally effective if lots of people in a school have them and plenty of staff development is offered.

On a different note, Camstudio is free screenreading software that also lets you record what you are doing on screen as well as audio while you do it (similar to the recording s/w others have mentioned.)
I'm influenced of the tablet over the Smart Board. I've used a tablet in a Math class for a year now and adore it.
Yeah Walt Cox I'm agree with you it's very easy to use. In fact Interactive whiteboards are transforming the technique that teachers and students can interrelate, both with each other and with instructional content.



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