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.”
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.”
These interactive science lessons for grades three to five were designed to be used with interactive whiteboards. Teachers can use Aha!Science as either an introduction to a unit of study or a review of a unit. They can assign the activities in Aha!Science to help reinforce subject matter that was already taught.PROS: The interactive-whiteboard activities are engaging and meet national science standards. They’re simple enough that a teacher with a nonscience background can understand them, and most students will find them fun and appealing.CONS: None.OVERALL EVALUATION: Learning.com has a tradition of producing and acquiring excellent products, and the Aha!Science WhiteBoard is no exception. Like other products from the company, this one is truly standards-based.www.learning.comPrice: First 10 students, $110; every additional 5 students, $60 (learning.com)
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?
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: 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: 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.”
District: ODESSAMONTOUR CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT Odessa, NY; an 851-student districtType Of Whiteboard: Promethean ACTIVBoard (the 78-inch ACTIVboard is $1,795), www.prometheanworld.comWhy whiteboards?The district wanted to build 21st-century classrooms that included projectors and sound. Technology director Myron Rumsey says, “Whiteboards speak to every learning style.”We chose these whiteboards because ...“Promethean’s integrated solution was what we were looking for,” says Rumsey. “The company is focused on educators and listens to teachers.” Rumsey liked that regional consultants work with teachers free. “For a small district, that’s fantastic.”What do you like about the whiteboards?“With whiteboards, teachers have all the tools they need,” says Rumsey. “The whiteboards can adapt to it—even if they change their lessons on the fly.”What don’t you like about the whiteboards?“Like any technology, some teachers have a steeper learning curve and can get frustrated.”Have teachers integrated the whiteboards successfully?“Some teachers use them all day long. Our most seasoned teacher, who has been here 35 years, told me that last year was the most exciting year she’d ever had.”Any advice for schools that are considering whiteboards?“We asked teachers to tell us why they wanted one and how they’d use it. A year later, they showed the rest of the teachers what they were doing. That’s the culture you have to create.”