Friday, February 14, 2014

IWB in Your Pocket

  • Are you in need of an interactive white board (IWB) but don't have the $3000 to shell out to get one? 
  • Have you already got a data projector in your class and are looking for ways to enhance what you can do with it? 
  • Do you have a couple hundred dollars in your pocket and want to replace it with something else you can fit in your pocket? 
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions then I have the tech for you: A portable device that you can carry around in your bag that turns any surface into an IWB.

I found out about this product last December when I was at the RCAC conference and sat in on Chris Knight's breakout session on Increasing Student Interactivity. Now although I suspect Chris would say that IWBs aren't actually as good as people think when talking about promoting student interactivity (and I might agree), he did mention that a nice option to have IWB technology in your classrooms for a fraction of the cost was a new product created by IPEVO simply called an Interactive White Board System (though the mention of this was merely an aside in his session).

Now I have written about IPEVO before (I really like their portable document camera) so it doesn't come as a surprise to me that they have continued to put out inexpensive but reasonably well performing products. This IWB is no exception.

Keep in mind that certainly a $3000 Smartboard works better but for the money, this works great. I have tried it on a regular wall (ie painted surface) and directly onto a regular whiteboard and I prefer the whiteboard. Somehow the slight texture of the paint felt when moving the pen along the wall is off putting to me. But it works just fine and I was surprised at how precise the calibration is. It comes with its own software (see menu to the right) that allows you to annotate anything on screen with different pens and take screen shots of your work. It can also be fully integrated with the IPEVO P2V document camera.

Setting up the system is pretty easy. Once you have the projector set up and plugged into your computer, just place the IR receiver so it is facing the screen and then follow the two step calibration procedure. For an idea of what that might entail, watch the brief video below.

If you are interested in purchasing this product, in the US you can do so directly from IPEVO here. In Canada (to avoid high shipping and any duties or brokerage fees) you can get it from Merconnet here. Either way you should be around $200 with shipping and taxes.

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