Product: Luidia eBeam Engage

Product: Luidia eBeam Engage Retail price: $1,299.95

Luidia eBeam Engage is a simple, effective tool for creating interactive presentations in the classroom.

Quality and Effectiveness : The eBeam Engage is an interactive whiteboard that allows students to write and type directly onto a projected screen. An instructor simply attaches the Engage to a wall near a whiteboard (or other flat surface) and uses a third-party projector to display his or her screen on the surface. The product works best with a good projector and a clean whiteboard or surface. The Engage also offers one-touch audio and screen recording, letting teachers archive and return at a later date to material created on the whiteboard. The entire unit is durable and compact with the notable exception of the “scroll knob,” a small wheel at the bottom of the Engage that permits scrolling through Web sites and slides, which could be more stable.

Ease of Use: The eBeam Engage shines in its commitment to simplicity. Installation is so simple that a single Engage unit could conceivably be shared among several teachers over the course of a school day. This is a major bonus for schools facing financial limitations. The eBeam’s software bundle is similarly userfriendly. The included Scrapbook program allows presentation slides to be created and archived easily, while the eBeam Home application displays customizable shortcuts for favorite Web sites and applications. More interesting is the “tool palette,” a simple tool that makes it easy to jump between programs without having to constantly reconfigure toolbars and settings.

Creative Use of Technology: The eBeam Engage system does not veer far from other, similar interactive technologies on the market, but it does deserve recognition for its portability and versatility. For instance, The Engage can be used in virtually any room that has a flat surface, and the screen can be adjusted to fit large conference halls or cramped classrooms. The Engage’s wireless keyboard has a sleek design that makes the unit most closely resemble a PDA with a touch screen. The Engage’s remote includes a small QWERTY keyboard, so presenters can type directly on the screen.

Suitability for Use in a School Environment: The eBeam Engage takes up very little space, and its height can easily be adjusted to suit the needs of students from kindergarten through high school. Audio and video archiving are great options for review. The simple hardware and software ensure that teachers who are inexperienced with technology can easily design and execute interactive lessons. The one potential drawback of the Engage, however, is that it is not self-contained. A teacher who does not have regular access to a good projector or who teaches in a room that has no usable flat surface will not be able to use the Engage effectively.

Top Features
¦ Simple and portable and has easy-to-use hardware and software
¦ Video and audio recording create an archive of lessons and activities.
¦ Wireless keyboard and stylus provide engaging novelty as well as functionality.

—Samuel B. LaMonica IV