Edinburg (TX) Consolidated Independent School District is standardizing its classroom technology via the MimioTeach™ interactive whiteboard, a device that converts any dry erase board into a fully interactive whiteboard.
District: EAST PENN SCHOOL DISTRICT Emmaus, PA; an 8,000-student districtType Of Whiteboard: Numonics (the Intelliboard 77 is $1,395), www.interactivewhiteboards.comWhy whiteboards?Michael Mohn, director of technology, says, “Whiteboards let teachers present anything that’s on their PC and engage a group of kids at once.”We chose these whiteboards because ...Mohn liked that more than one platform can be used with the Numonics boards and that he isn’t limited to a specific type of curricular content. “The personal touch went way beyond and was very impressive,” says Mohn.What do you like about the whiteboards?“Teachers can present a concept in two or three ways,” says Seidenberger. “With staff development, they can create terrific lessons.” Says Mohn, “Teachers can capture a lesson at the end and share it.”What don’t you like about the whiteboards?“Technology with all whiteboards is limited because you must project onto the board, which can cast a shadow,” says Mohn.Have teachers integrated the whiteboards successfully?“Every teacher is using them,” says Seidenberger. “We’re developing a district Web site where they can share ideas. There’s a lot of informal staff development, which we advocate for.”Any advice for schools that are considering whiteboards?Seidenberger says, “To use these to their potential, teachers need encouragement and guidance.” “The whiteboards must work seamlessly. For us, that means they’re always mounted, calibrated, and on,” says Mohn.
District: PANAMABUENA VISTA USD Bakersfield, CA; a 16,500–student districtType Of Whiteboard: Luidia eBeam (Luidia’s eBeam Whiteboard System with Bluetooth is $1,200), www.luidia.comWhy whiteboards?“We already had whiteboards instead of chalkboards in every class. We wanted to turn them into multifunctional electronic whiteboards,” says Terrell Tucker, director of information and technology services.We chose these whiteboards because ...“eBeam turns a projected image into an interactive image without the expense of a traditional electronic whiteboard,” says Tucker. “We were looking for function and convenience and affordability, and the Luidia makes any white surface interactive.”What do you like about the whiteboards?“Teachers can control their PCs from it and do terrific lessons. Watching the kids interact is amazing, especially at the first-grade level. Everyone loves having interactivity on a standard whiteboard.”What don’t you like about the whiteboards?“A small annoyance: We occasionally get some reflection from objects we have clipped to the board and have to move it around.”Have teachers integrated the whiteboards successfully?“We installed a Luidia in one class at 5:30pm,” says Tucker. “By 11 the next morning, the students were already using the board. The teacher figured it out before school started and used it immediately.”Any advice for schools that are considering whiteboards?Tucker suggests figuring out what your district needs, what it would really like, and the fluff that would be useful. Then pick the best-fitting solution. He suggests giving it first to the teachers who will use it the most, to increase enthusiasm.
District: ROOSEVELT SCHOOL DISTRICT 66 Phoenix, AZ; a 12,000-student districtType Of Whiteboard: Panasonic (the Panasonic Panaboard UB-8325 is $2,100), us.panasonic.comWhy whiteboards?Two years ago, the district modified its technology plan to integrate more technology, says IT director Stacey Hawkins. “Our limited amount of computers couldn’t reach everyone. Whiteboards give more of our kids the tech access they need.”We chose these whiteboards because ...Hawkins had tested whiteboards and found that some were too small and others were too easily damaged. “The Panasonic board is more durable,” he says. Hawkins also likes that the Panaboard is bundled with curriculum software that lets teachers create and share lessons.What do you like about the whiteboards?“The teachers love it. Each teacher gets to install the software at home, and they are using it. They use other interactive programs, too, and the teachers and students all love the stylus.”What don’t you like about the whiteboards?“The boards require some calibration, but it’s such a simple process that it really isn’t a problem,” says Hawkins.Have teachers integrated the whiteboards successfully?“Teachers started using them immediately, and I’m getting lots of great feedback.” He is especially pleased that teachers have requested licenses for online software to use in class.Any advice for schools that are considering whiteboards?“From an installation standpoint, if your infrastructure will allow it, go with a ceiling mount. It reduces the shadow, and the kids can’t play with it. Also, if you can afford to go with one in each class, it will improve your tech integration.”
District: ENTERPRISE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL DISTRICT Redding, CA; a 3,500-student districtType Of Whiteboard: eInstruction (the Interwrite Board Model 1095 is $1,825), www.interwritelearning.comWhy whiteboards?California students aren’t tied into a particular district because of where they live, so districts need to “compete for students,” says J.D. Wolfe, director of IT. “We wanted our tech offering to be the most appealing and beneficial for students.”We chose these whiteboards because ...Wolfe loved eLearning’s flexibility. “We bought just the components we wanted and integrated them,” he says. “Interwrite is only board I know that lets you use a regular pen. That makes it easier for teachers, especially those less comfortable with technology.”What do you like about the whiteboards?“The feedback is positive. Teachers say it opens a whole new realm for reaching kids. They’re thrilled with the lesson plans already created by other teachers in various subjects, and Interwrite support has been great.”What don’t you like about the whiteboards?As with any new technology, Wolfe says, there have been a few bugs, but they’ve been worked out quickly and easily.Have teachers integrated the whiteboards successfully?“The teachers who have them rave about them,” says Wolfe. “Many used the Interwrite pad before we bought these; they even bought the pads with their own classroom money.”Any advice for schools that are considering whiteboards?Wolfe suggests evaluating your needs against the products out there, and then looking at your budget. “Plan for professional development,” he urges. “Also, be sure to involve your teachers in the decision process; you’ll create more buy-in.”
District: GALESBURG COMMUNITY UNIT SCHOOL DISTRICT 205 Galesburg, IL; a 4,000-student districtType Of Whiteboard: SMART Boards (a 77-inch SMART Board is $1,399), www.smart tech.comWhy whiteboards?“We wanted to enhance teachers’ comfort and expertise with innovative teaching and learning tools, and our students’ engagement in learning, our students’ technology skills,” says Matt Jacobson, technology and learning coordinator.We chose these whiteboards because ...SMART has “taken care of us and takes notice of the things we’re doing.” The local trainer helped the district coordinate SMART user groups that serve as support groups, allowing teachers to exchange lesson plans.What do you like about the whiteboards?“The packaged software works wonderfully and can be used with anything on the desktop. The smart notebook tools, such as the magnifier and spotlight, help teachers navigate.”What don’t you like about the whiteboards?“This is nitpicking, but the latest version of clicker software forces you to reinstall Notebook 10.”Have teachers integrated the whiteboards successfully?“The K-8 teachers are doing an especially wonderful job, but the high-school teachers are taking a little longer. If the board is in a class, the teacher is more apt to incorporate it.”Any advice for schools that are considering whiteboards?Mount them permanently if it’s affordable, as you’ll get more usage. “Giving support and training, along with the time to play with it and figure out what this button does, is the key.”
Disrict: CRESTVIEW ELEMENTARY Lubbock, TX; 830 K-5 studentsType Of Whiteboard: Dukane (the Dukane LB77S is $1,799), www.dukcorp.comWhy whiteboards?“We created a standard tech solution for all elementary schools,” says Denise Salmon, technology coordinator. “Whiteboards let the whole class interact with technology. Every student goes up to the board and is engaged.”We chose these whiteboards because ...“With Dukane, a small component operates the entire board. If there’s a problem, you just need to detach that component and attach a replacement. Also, students can actively manipulate it. Most other boards have a stylus; Dukane allows kids to use their fingers for tactile interaction.”What do you like about the whiteboards?“Teachers like the interactivity, and they can use so many programs. They love the immersion into the curriculum. I like that they didn’t require an extensive amount of training.”What don’t you like about the whiteboards?Salmon would love it if the boards had a way to disengage. “When a kid touches the board, the PC it’s connected to gets affected.”Have teachers integrated the whiteboards successfully?“Definitely,” says Salmon. “They are doing a great job of integrating them. Even our student teachers have embraced the technology and been able to use it with students. They love it.”Any advice for schools that are considering whiteboards?“Look at what functions and features you need. Put together a rubric to compare different boards. We didn’t just buy the first board. We want it to be standard in every school so that at the district level, maintenance is a no-brainer.”
District: ROBSTOWN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT Robstown, TX; a 3,500-student districtType Of Whiteboard: PolyVision (the 78-inch eno is $1,595. Pricing decreases for multiple quantities), www.polyvision.comWhy whiteboards?The goal was to enhance education through technology, says Fred Zamora, the former technology coordinator. “We wanted to gain the attention of the learner, and with a board, all eyes are on the instructor.”We chose these whiteboards because ...“PolyVision proved itself,” says Zamora. “They listened to our needs and promised to deliver as much staff development as we needed—for no charge. We didn’t have to make the product fit into our plan; PolyVision made a product that let us do what we needed to do.”What do you like about the whiteboards?“The boards are very well made, and the construction has been designed for longevity, which helps with technology budgets. The new eno board is supereasy to use and is practically indestructible.”What don’t you like about the whiteboards?“The board response was being confused by our teachers resting their hands on the board as they wrote, but the eno resolved that.”Have teachers integrated the whiteboards successfully?“The teachers recorded a 30 percent jump in test scores. I believe that was at least partly due to teachers using boards, as they amplify teacher instruction.”Any advice for schools that are considering whiteboards?Ask yourself: Will the product enhance education? Will the company provide free tech support? Is staff development provided free or at a nominal cost? How long is the warranty? What are the installation costs? Do teachers want the product?
CASITA CENTER FOR TECHNOLOGY, SCIENCE AND MATH Vista, CA; a 700-student K-5 magnet schoolType Of Whiteboard: Hitachi Starboard (the Hitachi FX DUO 77 is $1,999), www.starboard.hitachi-soft.comWhy whiteboards?“We’re a magnet school for science and technology, so we wanted technology that would be effective for teaching and for presentation,” says Scott Hill, district technology coordinator. The boards are part of an overall interactive classroom.We chose these whiteboards because ...“We liked that the Starboard does not possess any electronics, is not pressure sensitive, and doesn’t need a proprietary pen,” says Hill. “It seemed like it would be more durable in an elementary class. It also supports two users at once.”What do you like about the whiteboards?“For teachers in science, technology, and math, these boards are perfect. I’m a big proponent of whiteboards.”What don’t you like about the whiteboards?“A 4’1” student can’t use a wall-mounted board alongside a 5’10” teacher.”Have teachers integrated the whiteboards successfully?“It’s a home run. Our curriculum has simulations that are made for whiteboards. Right now, only our science and math teachers have them, but we hope to get them in all the classrooms soon.”Any advice for schools that are considering whiteboards?“Talk with the teachers and principal to know what they need. Then work with the business office to determine total cost of ownership. Do that analysis among all competing brands to make your decision.”