Most schools now have at least one interactive whiteboard (smart board) in a classroom somewhere within the grounds. In the last 5 years the Education world has certainly taken up the technology rapidly and deployed it in primary and secondary classrooms with tremendous results.
What we are seeing now is the technology being adopted before and after the school years. Pre-schools are now looking to the interactive whiteboard to introduce early learning concepts in a new and exciting way.
Tertiary Education is also integrating the systems into lecture rooms to improve their teaching environment.
With all these installations going on I thought would put together some points to help get the best set up
- It is always recommended that any installation be carried out by qualified professionals as it often makes a big difference in the quality of the audio visual experience
- I would always recommend the best set up is to have the board fixed to a wall. This way the surface does not move and makes it easier for the Educator to get the lesson started.
- Likewise the projector should ideally be a fixed installation to stop any vibration or knocking whilst in use.
- The most ideal projector to install is one if the newer ultra short throw units that are available. These projectors sit directly above the board surface very close to the wall and display the image directly downwards on to the board surface . This has tremendous advantages to the operator as it drastically minimises shadowing with no glare for the teacher or students. [NEC have a fantastic range now with 5 year warranty which I certainly recommend in schools for peace of mind.]
- Speakers should be installed close to the board either directly above or to each side. The also need to have enough power to fill the room with plenty of sound. Typically a minimum of 20 watts is a good starting point for the average classroom
- A fixed wall plate should include the necessary connections. For example; a VGA female socket(for visuals), 3.5mm female socket (for audio input), and optional USB female socket. This would be the minimum in most situations but can vary between sites and different requirements.
- Ensure you install the latest version of software to run your board. Ideally this is available from the Manufacturers website.
- Lastly conduct some training for the people who are going to operate it. It will give tremendous confidence to those that who may be uncertain of the change in their classroom. Excellent advice from one school was to have a teacher buddy system where users of different technical experience were paired together to make the transition as easy as possible
I hope you have found this brief guide of some use. If you would like to see how an interactive whiteboard might fit into your school call us now on 1300 139292