The History Behind the Interactive Whiteboard Developed Designed by SMART Technologies

Several classrooms around the globe are taking advantage of Interactive whiteboards (IWB) or SMART boards. The whiteboards enable teachers to integrate chalkboards with different technologies such as computers, projectors, and televisions when teaching. SMART Board launched its first smart board in 1991, which was simply LCD attached to a computer. Whiteboards can be utilized in environments such as training rooms for sports coaching, broadcasting rooms, classrooms, and corporate boardrooms.

A research conducted by Futuresource Consulting concluded that one in every seven classrooms in world was expected to have a whiteboard by the year 2011. By the year 2004 about 24% of classrooms in Britain had IWBs.

A smart board can be a standalone computer or a functioning touchpad being used by computers. A device driver is attached to the computer in such a manner that the smart board acts like a human input device similar to a mouse. The output of the computer video is connected to a projector so that images from the computer can be displayed on the surface of the whiteboard.

The user of the IWB will calibrate its images by matching the position of the image in reference to the IWB using a pointer whenever necessary. The user can then use the pointer to activate programs on the IWB display just as one could do using a mouse on a computer monitor’s screen. At this point, the user can invoke an on-screen keyboard so as to enter text or better yet use handwriting recognition if the IWB provides for that option. In other words, the IWB emulates a mouse and a keyboard. The user can teach a classroom or make a presentation by exclusively using the IWB.

Furthermore, the IWBs come with certain improvised features that optimize the interactive opportunities that these whiteboards can provide. Some of these features are instruments that can be used in traditional classroom environments and they include rulers, virtual protractors, highlighter solutions, compasses, and flipcharts. Whiteboards can be used for:

  • Capturing notes written on the IWB and saving them on the connected computer.
  • Capturing the notes written on a tablet connected to the IWB.
  • Running a software that is loaded on the connected computer or laptop or any other software that can be used in a classroom environment.
  • Controlling a computer from the IWB using the click and drag option, markup that annotates a presentation.
  • Translating a cursive writing on a tablet into text by using an OCR software.

The common forms of interaction between the projected content and the user include:

Resistive touch-based whiteboard

It involves a pointing device. The surface membrane deforms to conduct with the back-plate. The touch pint location will then be registered as a mouse event. For example, when the user touches the surface membrane it’s registered as a left mouse click. Most manufacturers of this form claim that it’s a natural and easy to use IWB.

Infrared scan technology

It’s a large IWB that connects to a PC and a projector. The whiteboard is mounted to a wall. The movement of a pen or even the user’s finger is registered when it interferes with infrared light on the board’s surface.

Electromagnetic pen

Wires are fixed behind the whiteboard surface that interacts with the stylus tip so that they can determine the coordinates of the stylus vertically and horizontally. The pen alters the electrical signals produced by the IWB.

Ultrasonic pen

The technology behind this IWB is ultrasound positioning combined with infrared. The technology works by computing the speed of light against that of sound as is the case in thunderstorm. These types of boards are available in portable formats.

5 Benefits of an LED Video Wall For Your Business

When you want to give your business space a more modern look to brand it, or to simply display your latest innovation, product or service, consider implementing a video wall!

The reality is that a video wall has the power to attract attention. It’s the perfect tool to have everyone in sync at the office as well as engage your audience.

An LED video wall will become the focal point of your entryway or lobby. Everyone is attracted to a big screen. This is your chance to get your message seen!

What are the main benefits of an LED video wall for your business?
Why should you consider using one?

#1: You Will Have Bright, Clear Images:

You might ask, why not use a projector and screen to display your message? While this is an option, it has its setbacks. Projectors can have problems with natural light and bright areas. Since video walls are often used as focal points in an office setting, you need the image to look its best, no matter the lighting condition.

#2: You Will Have Flexibility:

One of the main benefits of using a video wall is its sleek design. With a projector and screen setup, you need to use two separate locations to set it up – one for the screen, and one for the projector. Another benefit to video walls are that they allow flexibility in size and shape, something that may be more challenging with an alternative solution.

#3: They make changing content easy!

We briefly touched on the flexibility of an LED video wall, but the reality is that it goes even further. With video walls, you have a lot of flexibility in your ability to make changes to the posted content. There’s even video wall software on the market that allows you to make changes without needing to engage your IT or design team – a win-win for all!

#4: They Make Your Workplace Cool And Modern:

In today’s competitive world, it is important for a business to stand out and leave a good impression on its customers. By incorporating video walls into a space, you are catching the eyes of visitors, sending them your messages and promoting a sleek, tech-savvy workplace.

#5: You Can Make Your Video Wall Interactive:

When you want to make the most of your digital signage, why not make it interactive? Even more compelling than having a large LED video wall is to have one where people can easily interact with it. Directories, information drill down, and more – the possibilities are endless!

How To Get Rid of Poor Audio During Conference Calls

Communication technology is a pivotal part of any company’s IT architecture, especially if the business is spread across global regions. Without real-time communication tools, such as video chat and conference calling, it’s impossible for different teams and departments to stay coordinated and organized. Using conference phones during meetings will allow for remote and work-at-home employees to fully participate in the discussion. But if your technology’s audio quality is poor, it can quickly become a hindrance to your meeting’s productivity. Consider the following tips for improving sound quality during conference calls in order to run more efficient meetings.

Research the Optimal Service Provider

For companies looking to introduce new conference calling technology to their organization, there are a wealth of options on the market from a variety of providers, including both startups and more well-known telecommunication companies. Obviously pricing will play a significant role in your selection process, but it’s also important to perform detailed research into what each provider will offer in terms of sound quality.

Most conferencing calling providers will not publish all of the technical details of their audio equipment, so you may need to rely on independent reviews and ratings from other customers or industry experts. Look for a provider with a strong reputation of consistent call quality, with minimal lag and distortion impact.

Prioritize Analog and Landlines

Obviously mobile phones have become the leading form of telecommunication in the last decade. However, landline technology remains the most stable and reliable when it comes to call quality. When researching a new conference calling provider, looks for ones that base their equipment on landlines rather than mobile access points and satellites. This will ensure that calls are routed between participants using the best quality possible.

It’s also important for you to understand the differences between analog sound and the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), as well as the advantages of each. VoIP transmits sound signals through a data connection, which often offers a cheaper solution and easier integration with video chatting. But if sound quality is your top priority for conference calls, then stick to providers who are analog based, as these types of connections will maintain high quality from end to end. Keep in mind that you can easily pair a video chat solution with a separate conferencing calling product and provide your employees or customers with dial-in information.

Invest in Professional Equipment

After finding the right conference calling provider and setting up a service plan, the final step in ensuring good sound quality is to outfit your office with proper equipment. When possible, connect all conference phones to landline ports and provide each employee with a professional headset. This will provide them with hands-free capability while also limiting echo effects and other background noise.

For conference rooms where meetings will occur, it’s best to invest in speakerphones that can be placed in the center of a table to allow all participants to be involved in the discussion. You may also which to purchase ancillary microphones to further improve sound quality. These can be integrated with a speakerphone and placed throughout a meeting room to enhance the outgoing sound signal.

What Is The Best Projector Resolution & Brightness For Your Conference Room

After all of the hard work you put into making your presentation enlightening, appealing, and eye-catching, it’s time for the presentation. The client has been someone you have been trying to partner with your business for a extended period of time. They could prove to be extremely profitable with the resources they bring to the table. After setting up the equipment needed for your presentation, you begin. However, what looked excellent on paper is now beginning to feel second rate, and this is definitely a first rate client. Not only did you have to misuse time walking over to the light switch to turn the lights off, but the images currently on the screen appear blurry.

The video you painstakingly took, edited, and crafted looks like someone took it underwater or through a steamy door. Nothing is sharp, and your performance falls flat. It’s quite possible that the client will walk out of the room disinterested, and your chances of partnering with a make-or-break business could be gone for good. Perhaps if you had been equipped with the fitting equipment, this might have gone quite differently.

If you want to impress your clients or customers, then you need to make sure that the equipment you are using is capable of doing what you need it to do. For those running a business, one of the key aspects you need to consider is the number of lumens that the projector produces. For those who don’t want to take that awkward long walk to the light switch and back, consider a projector that produces 3,000-5,000 lumens. This article will help you determine what projector may be suitable for your business needs.

1. BenQ SU931

If your main concern is brightness, then look no further than the BenQ. This projector produces 6,000 lumens, so you don’t have to worry about shutting the lights off in your conference room or bar. Your clients can see their notes, your students can see their books, and your customers can actually see the food they’re eating. The contrast ratio sits at 3,000:1 and the resolution is 1080p, so you can expect a clear and cut image.

2. Sony VPL-CH370

The Sony projector offers 5,000 lumens, so it’s still capable of being used when the lights are on in the room. The resolution sits at Wide UXGA, so this may be best suited for those who run bars or restaurants since a lot of channels emit widescreen images. The contrast is at 2500:1, and the picture it provides is light, bright, and crystal clear.

3. Optoma EH505

While the picture quality of the Optoma is similar to what the Sony provides, offering 5,000 lumens as well, the system of projection it uses is DLP. This is designed for movie theaters, whereas the LCD, which is what the Sony uses, is typically reserved for TVs. So, if you’re looking for a full-screen picture, then Optoma may be best suited for you. It contains the same resolution and contrast ratio as the Sony with Wide UXGA and 2000:1 respectively.

4. Epson PowerLite Pro G6470WUNL

If you want to make sure the picture presented to the members of your conference room is as engaging as the content, then maybe you want projectors that offer a high dosage in contrast. The Epson PowerLite doubles what the Sony can offer at 5000:1 in its contrast ratio. The trade-off with this projector, however, is that the lumen count is decreased at 4,500. The resolution sits at WUXGA.

5. Sony VPL-VW1100ES Native 4K 3D SXRD

For those with extra money to spend on their projectors, look no further than the Sony VPL 4K. It has a stunning contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1 and a resolution of 4096 x 2160. For those looking to knock the socks off their client’s feet with picture quality, then look no further.

Collaborative Workspace – New Year Comes Up With New Equipment

The World Wide Web has changed the meaning behind the collaborative work space. What are some of the hottest collaboration equipment innovations for the coming Year of 2018? What AV technology are you looking for?

2018 Collaboration Equipment

The World Wide Web is all about collaboration – collaboration between individuals, organizations and computers. The world has gotten smaller due to technology. Now, organizations can tap into the ideal skills to complete a project, even if the individual is on the other side of the globe.

The hottest collaboration trends for 2018 are based on more informal, personal collaboration and real-time sharing. Two examples of cutting-edge personal collaboration equipment are 1. Smart Digital Whiteboards and 2. NEC Video Walls. Learn how these collaborative products are revolutionizing the industry.

1. Smart Digital Whiteboards

Professionals need to use cutting-edge digital whiteboards to create a vibrant presentation. Some think people have shorter attention spans; others think viewers demand more. Either way, the Smart Digital Whiteboard M600 series offers a great way to maintain audience attention.

The Smart Digital Whiteboard M600 series’s proprietary DViT (Digital Vision Touch) technology, includes “Object Awareness,” “Intuitive Gestures” and “Dual Touch” features. Unlike older boards, the Smart M600 can differentiate between fingers and pens.

Collaborate Naturally – Smart slogan.

And, if that is not enough, with Dual Touch – a student and teacher, manager and employee or two students – can add their input to the screen simultaneously. This is a great way to encourage interaction during collaboration.

Teachers can maintain lesson momentum – testing the retention of their students immediately. This is how collaborative technology is making sessions, more personalized. This real-time collaboration raises the roof for the industry.

2. NEC Video Walls

Modern real-time AV technology allows for individuals to share information and their talents immediately. Spur-of-the-moment creation keeps online content fresh. Live concert streams are becoming hot – people don’t want to wait until movies are released on video.

Discover talent and collaborate in real-time.

The top corporate brands are turning their stockholder meetings into collaborative events. This is possible with large NEC Video Walls. These ensure that a brand is noticed and remains relevant.

A good example of this is the Washington Department of Transportation’s NEC Video Wall of traffic intersections. It can be used to display congestion points to an entire room. This saves the government workers valuable time in communicating immediate traffic problems to the public.

Modern consumers want larger visual presentations. They can live stream videos on their smartphones and assume that businesses will not only offer the same technology, but better. NEC Video Walls deliver the latest technology for 2018.

Real-Time Personal Collaboration

The cutting-edge AV technology of 2018 allows for real-time, personal interaction with more people. People are amazed by the NEC Video Walls. People share their knowledge using the Smart Digital Whiteboard M600. Combining these collaborative technologies creates a rich experience for all parties involved in 2018.

Taking Advantage of Hospitality Audiovisual Solutions

When you enter a hospitality environment, how many screens and monitors can you cont? Audiovisual technology is now everywhere within the hospitality industry. With increase in technological advancements, there’s proliferation of audiovisual communications technologies, including lighting, projection systems, sound, display, and video apparent in every sector globally. One thing for sure with display screens is they capture your attention, and most times, you could be glued to them.

Audiovisuals are therefore being used in businesses, healthcare, hospitality, education, retail environments, worship centres, government agencies, sports and entertainment industry, restaurants, and even museums to relay information. As a result, many hospitality entrepreneurs are teaming up with audio-visual equipment manufacturers, audiovisual solutions integrators, and audiovisual solutions custom builders to re-create and modernize their businesses with audiovisual solutions. These emerging solutions are facilitating better and improved methods to market products and services, increase clients, reduce costs, enhance communication, and increase productivity.

Benefits of Using Audiovisual Solutions for Your Hospitality Business

Using audiovisual can be very advantageous for businesses. Here are several benefits you can get from implementing hospitality audiovisuals:

Ability to display vital guest-related info including room accessibility, checkout times, local weather updates, local tourist attractions, and more.
Enhanced guest experience– audiovisuals enable you to post concierge services information and provide reliable direction-finding for guests at the same time boosting your brand
Keeps your guests informed– audiovisuals can offer significant real-time info including the weather and flight schedules. They capture guests’ attention and relieve your workers from guests that may be overbearing.
Enhanced efficiency– digital signage systems can help workers manage work schedules, offer training to both new and current staff members, deliver updates, provide company news, and more.
Creates a contemporary work environment– creative visual art, digital displays, weather forecasts, and news headlines promote sleek and modern business look.
Customer encouragement– audiovisuals through interactive digital technologies can be a channel to encourage your customers to connect with your brand, which can increase your customer base significantly.

Making the Best of Hospitality Audiovisual Solutions

As a business in the hospitality industry, there’s a lot you can do with audiovisual technology. First, by getting in touch and partnering with leading audio-visual tools creators, audio-visual systems integrators, as well as custom audio visual builders to help you design and create integrated control system, on-premise videos, customized on-premise paging’s and on-hold messages. Hospitality audiovisuals will modernize your business environment and create a great customer experience. Also, it will help develop exciting opportunities for hotels, airports, restaurants, casinos, and more so travelers and gain a competitive advantage.

For instance, for hotels and resorts, well-designed audiovisuals should be integrated into conference halls to simplify communication both on-site and off-site. Smart controls and advances increases graphical contact among participants and improve the capacity to share documents and information effortlessly. For many hospitality businesses, video conferencing can help with enabling facial communications as well as information sharing abilities. It also provides quality audio collaborations of teams irrespective of their locations.

Taking advantage of audio systems enables audio communications that can be used to inform, educate, and make announcements thus enhancing customer experience. In casinos, restaurants, resorts, hotels, airports and other hospitality businesses, customer service is supreme. As such, providing digital signage, video conferencing, and control technology, as well as other audiovisuals is vital to ensure business productivity by offering flexible schedules. Additionally, digital signage shares existing and future events.

Makerspaces And Their Benefits

Makerspaces And Their Benefits

The term “makerspace” has been around for quite a few years now, although the purpose and the implications of having access to such a space are just starting to show their impact. Having an association with anything from robotics development in laboratories to Lego stations at the local library, a “makerspace” is anything defined as space where people come together to explore and create.

The type of exploration and creation that takes place in a makerspace has everything to do with the type of tools contained within as well as the community that it hosts. Technology rooms, woodworking shops, sewing rooms, and print centers are all types of makerspace facilities; for younger explorers, community rooms and libraries that host Lego building and craft corners become a springboard to exploration born of curiosity and creativity.

Schools and businesses alike are beginning to embrace the concept that group collaboration breeds creativity, and when given the proper tools, such as pens and paper, computers, 3D printers, laser cutters, and other tools designed to turn concepts into reality, people can come together to stretch a collective imagination and create truly innovative things.

Because makerspaces provide a safe and inviting space for learners of all ages to come together to explore and create, the possibilities are endless for how you could use an environment like this to boost creativity and maximize productivity.

Benefits Of Makerspace Environments

  1. They provide an opportunity for hands-on learning. Makerspace environments take the theory out of learning and move it into the realm of application. Students are better able to understand the concepts of cellular biology thanks to virtual reality exploration. Architecture projects are brought to life with the use of a 3D printer to test form, function, and design. Another benefit of makerspace environments is that they allow for the use and application of brand new technologies in learning.
  2. Makerspace environments are relaxing and reflective. Humans possess an innate desire to create and reflect on their creations—a makerspace environment is a perfect place to access the potential of both of these activities as we learn more about life and ourselves through our creations.
  3. Makerspace environments encourage in-depth exploration. In a supportive, unthreatening environment, students and adults alike delve into concepts that they want to learn more about, and this freedom to explore topics more extensively gives way to some wonderful discoveries.
  4. One benefit of makerspace environments is that they place very expensive tools and materials in the hands of individuals who could not afford to own them outright; the access to this cutting-edge technology levels the playing field for all types of creation to occur.
  5. Makerspace environments are non-threatening places to learn. In an inclusive environment where free thinking and exploration are encouraged, there is a certain freedom that comes with trial and error. Free thinking is encouraged, and every mistake made brings the learner one step closer to success.
  6. Makerspace environments are community and skill building. The collaborative nature of makerspace environments lends itself well to cooperative learning and skill building. All participants learn the value of working together to create something larger than themselves. It is this collaborative learning experience that resonates so powerfully in the minds of passionate learners who desire to make learning come alive.

As learning is continually evolving, and the needs and desires of students changes with our evolving content, the development of makerspaces is perfect for the increase in creativity and collaboration through learning. It is our hope that this trend is only built upon as we realize our true growth potential through hands-on opportunities for building something new.

How To Become A Professional AV Consultant

Audio-visual consultants are more and more in demand. But what exactly is an AV consultant and how can you become one? The following explains what it takes to do to make your dream of becoming an audio-visual consultant a reality.

Job Duties

The duties of an audio-visual consultant are often complex and multifaceted. As an audio-visual professional, you will be required to have a great deal of creativity and maintain exceptional attention to detail. You will also need to understand all of the technical aspects of audio-visual equipment as it relates to their implementation in a professional AV setup.

As an audio-visual consultant, you will be expected to:

  • Meet with a number of varying clients to determine their audio-visual needs
  • Document client needs to devise a custom audio-visual plan
  • Develop and manage a predetermined AV budget, ensuring that all audio-visual needs are met within the budget
  • Create and design professional audio-video systems for a myriad of businesses and organizations with varied AV needs
  • Collaborate with audio-video vendors to meet the design plan’s equipment needs while working to maintain pricing that aligns with the predetermined budget
  • Oversee and assist in the implementation and installation of the AV plan
  • Test the audio-visual equipment after installation, correcting anything that doesn’t work properly
  • Monitor and sustain relationships with the audio-visual client after installation is complete, ensuring that the AV setup is maintained and functional

As you can see, a career as an audio-visual consultant requires a lot of knowledge and expertise. You must have a mastery of the professional technology you are installing, as well as an understanding of how that technology meets the client’s business goals. So what type of training and education is needed to become an AV professional?

Education and Training

Because audio-visual consulting requires an advanced understanding of professional AV technology, it is recommended that those interested in a career in this field have education and experience that goes beyond the high school level. Audio-visual programs at both technical schools and universities give students the background knowledge necessary to perform the everyday duties in their career as a consultant. An associate’s or bachelor’s degree also offers audio-visual consultants a professional advantage in the highly competitive field.

Many technical schools and trade schools offer one- and two-year programs that focus on careers in the audio-visual industry. These programs usually result in certificates or degrees that will give you a competitive advantage as a consultant. They also help prepare students for a more advanced degree at the university level, should you later choose to pursue that route.

At the university level, students are offered more advanced training in the audio-visual field. A university education usually results in a 4-year bachelor’s degree. While program offerings vary depending on the university you choose, many AV professionals find the following degree programs useful to their career:

  • Television production and management
  • Broadcasting
  • Visual journalism
  • New media

Audio-visual consultants with advanced training or certificates related to specific AV equipment may also find it to be advantageous in their careers.

Professional Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers in the audio-visual industry are anticipated to grow 12% by 2024. Audio-visual consultants are expected to see a rise as part of this growth. The job prospects for highly qualified audio-visual experts look positive, and well-trained consultants will be needed as the industry continues to grow. Companies like CCS Presentation Systems will continue to look to partner with the very best in the audio-visual community, including with the best consultants.

A career in audio-visual consulting is within your reach. With the right training and an understanding of the necessary skills, you can be well on your way to a job in just a few years.

The Affordability of Luxury Home Automation

Although home automation is a great concept, many people have the impression that being able to control your lights, security, shades, music, and temperature by a touch of their mobile devices is quite an expensive ordeal. It’s a fact though that automating your home has been made quite affordable due to the technological advancements and the competition between the numerous tech companies out there churning out automation products.

Moreover, you don’t have to be tech savvy to operate these controls. Automating a home is not a preserve of the rich anymore. In addition, you don’t have to undergo some complex training in order to start operating the automating systems in your home after installation.

How automating a home has been made affordable

The systems that the tech companies install in homes nowadays are affordable and scalable. You can start small and change options or add other systems into your home depending on your personal preferences and needs.

Since iPhone’s inception over a decade ago, people wouldn’t imagine that it could transform people’s lifestyles across the world as it has done. Millions of people currently use smartphones to navigate through their daily lives. Besides communicating, there are several functions of a smartphone that are just amazing and using it in your automation systems is just one of them.

When the first smartphone was introduced in 1992, it had a few features but it was very expensive to most people. In other words, as technology keeps advancing, services increase, and new devices emerge but prices keep going down. So, smart homeowners are slowly jumping from smartphones and embracing the of smart homes in this era of the Internet of Things (IoT). The automation systems are available everywhere at prices that are affordable to many.

In this app-driven world where you do almost everything using an app on your mobile devices such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones, it’s only reasonable that you automate your home and start getting the benefits of automating the way you live inside your home. Although automating a home might not be a consideration for many whenever they buy a new home, it’s prudent that you consider researching around for credible tech companies that can give you these conveniences that come with automating a home.

Benefits of Automation

Regardless of whether you own a vacation home or luxury home that you intend to rent out, smart home technologies should be your priority upgrade. The upgrade will boost the security and convenience of your home and make it more attractive to renters. In fact, the technologies will give renters increased comfort that they may consider as luxury amenities.

A vacation home can sit on a large portion of land for a long period without being occupied. That predisposes your home to several dangers like insecurity. Thieves target these homes because they’re guaranteed to a lot of time to conduct their burglaries.

A property that is unoccupied is also vulnerable to other problems such as a leak that goes on for an extended period unnoticed, vandalism, and other damages like mold or fire damage. Investing in automation will solve these problems for you.

With the smart security, you can keep the thieves off and it can also alert you immediately in case anything goes wrong on your property. The system motion and environmental sensors will pick up signals if anything problematic is happening on the property. On the other hand, the security cameras will let you check in whenever you want regardless of your location or time by using your mobile devices. Automating your home will also increase the value of your home in case you want to list it in the real estate market, and hence it’s an affordable investment at the end of the day.

How Interactive Whiteboards Have Escalated Engagement In School

If you’ve had a child in school over the last couple of years, or know of someone that does, you’ve most likely seen the new, state-of-the-art interactive whiteboards. And while the crank in us might regard these as nothing more than another step in the evolution of technology, there’s reason to believe that these whiteboards are far superior to their old-age counterparts in a number of ways.

Though the first interactive whiteboard was officially introduced in the early 1990’s, it’s only been within the last 5-10 years that they have been embraced by the mainstream educational system, primarily because new research has shown them to dramatically increase learning comprehension. Though the whiteboard and accompanying LCD projector are nothing new, the software that connects the two is, allowing the teacher to manipulate the screen with a touch of the hand or click of a pointer.

One example of this is seen in a class on geography, where the teacher projects a map of the African continent, and then asks the classroom to pick a location they would like to visit. Kenya is voted on by the class, and the teacher simply selects Kenya, and immediately is presented with a range of options including topography, animals, climate, and more. This not only saves time, but keeps the students continually engaged and learning.

But this technology is more than just fancy imaging: in a world where smartphones and instant messaging dominate kids’ attention, the push is to use that as a force for good instead of fighting against it by using antiquated techniques. The attention span of a child is normally two to five minutes times their age, so for a class of eight-year-olds, you have anywhere from 16-40 minutes max to engage their brains. Spread out over a full school day, and that rate drops substantially.

Research has continually proven that multi-sensory interaction and engagement is the key to help children learn, and this is especially true for whiteboard instruction. A 2010 study using students from different disciplines asked them to comment on what they liked or disliked about using whiteboard technology. Overwhelmingly, the respondents remarked about the level of interaction they had with the lesson, as well as even references to how it felt more like a game than school. Being able to change variables in a car crash simulator, for instance, allowed the students to quickly see different scenarios and how they changed with different variables.

This interactive technology can be used for a variety of different purposes outside of simple classroom instruction, for instance:

Group problem solving

Student showcases

Virtual field trips

Graphs showing individual progress

Lessons used by substitute teachers

Further research backs up the claims to overall efficacy. The University of Wisconsin reported that visual aids, specifically interactive types, increased learning rates by nearly 200%. Student retention went up 38%, according to studies performed at Harvard and Columbia Universities, and the Wharton School of Business claims that the time it took to explain problems dropped 15%. That same 2010 study mentioned earlier also stated students’ self-reporting themselves 20% more capable of learning than with traditional means.

The one drawback with this type of software is one that has plagued educational institutions since their inception: money. With many teachers struggling to provide even basic visual aids for their classrooms, the introduction of highly advanced software can lead to a strain on school budgets that are already heavily taxed as it is. However, many companies make the argument that these technologies can reduce teaching costs in the long-term.

Fortunately, the myriad of tech companies that are lining up to fill the gap in this marketplace is increasing daily. At the time of this writing, there are at least six different companies that provide this service (SMART, Promethean, Mimio, Numonics, eInstruction, and Polyvision), each with their own version of the software and different price points to match.

With the ability to engage classrooms on a deeper level, the specialized learning that can be adapted to students with learning disabilities, and the convenience and flexibility that interactive technologies allows, there’s little doubt that it will continue to find its way into the local school system. How quickly and what grade levels, however, remains yet to be seen.