Presentation systems are an exciting and expanding mixture of educational tools growing from computer, projection, and other technologies. The systems examined in this article are built around interactive whiteboards, devices that interpret projected surfaces and interact with a computer desktop.
These systems can be used to display any software a computer can run, any Internet connection, and software created specifically for interactive whiteboards. Users can write on interactive whiteboards; this writing can be saved or printed. Many whiteboards are touch-sensitive.
The systems usually require a computer to generate the display and a projector to project the image. Software often mimics the computer mouse and keyboard, although other devices such as pads, pens, and tablets may take on that role.
Most manufacturers are marketing a combination of whiteboard, projector, computer, and other devices together, but many components can be purchased separately for use with interactive whiteboards made by different companies.
Some of these devices are as simple as a mobile stand that allows the interactive whiteboard to be moved among rooms. A printer may be included (or attached) to make copies of notes on the whiteboard.
Some devices are as complicated as electronic slates or tablets that allow teachers to control the whiteboard while walking around the room. A few companies even manufacture tablets or slates on mobile lecterns.
Student response systems are often included. With these devices, teachers are able to present material and receive feedback from their students. The units enable students to answer test questions posted on the whiteboard, work on puzzles, solve math problems, take part in polls and surveys, and more.
Most systems include a wireless unit that enables the interactive whiteboard to operate without wires running among the computer, slates, tablets, etc. Some also have remote controls that allow the presenter to control the board from different parts of the room.
These systems are found today in classrooms, businesses, and other settings. Schools use them as replacements for traditional whiteboards or flip charts. Their amazing flexibility creates many possibilities. Users can control programs with a click and drag, mark up or annotate text and images, or use optical character recognition features on a computer-generated image displayed on or behind a touch surface.
The projectors used with interactive whiteboards offer even more possibilities. They can be connected to (and project from) video recorders, DVD players, and more, or they can be connected to a school network digital video distribution system.
Interactive whiteboards allow teachers to record instructional notes and post or print material for later student review. This feature can be very effective with students who benefit from repetition, for students who are absent from school, for struggling learners, or for review for examinations. Teachers can even record brief instructional blocks for review by students who will see exact presentations, complete with the teacher’s audio input.
This article takes a look at some complete presentation systems and their components. This is not meant to be a complete review of these products or a discussion of all of the many fine products currently available. Note that some of the features and devices discussed here are not necessarily unique to any one manufacturer.
Walk-and-Talk Interactive Whiteboards
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