In2edu I.C.T. Resources Enhancing Education & Learning

Interactive White Boards verses LED/AppleTV and iPads

This is a review I wrote three years ago as we started to take out IWB's and replace them with LED/Apple TV's and iPads - pricing not necessarily current.

This document explores the concept of interactive whiteboards, their cost and looking at the alternative of an iPad, Apple TV, LED TV/Projector combo.

Existing Situation

A range of IWB boards in the school. Most of these are being used occasionally as IWB’s and are instead used to display screens. The biggest exception is in the Learning Support area.
5G has been trialling a different type of “interactive” system, that of iPads (the interactive hands on component) with Apple TV+ LED Screen ( the display component)

The three proposed systems

  1. IWB $7000-$9000 per system with projector, ongoing maintenance costs higher due to cost of replacing bulbs. Boards date over time but will run for years. Could also purchase touch-screen LEDS for a higher price.
  2. LED+ Apple TV for displaying of digital devices AND iPads for interactive hands on surfaces. The iPads are crucial part of the package if these are to be seen as a replacement for an IWB. Combination of 65 LED+Apple TV+8 x mini iPads = $6000
  3. Interactive projector + Apple TV for displaying of digital devices AND iPads for interactive hands on surfaces. The iPads are crucial part of the package if these are to be seen as a replacement for a full IWB. The interactive projector has dropped in price incredibly. Will work with a laptop - not iPads. Software in interactive projectors at last test Nov 2012 is not really useable and reliable, although the concept is worth revisiting in the future (best of all worlds scenario possibly)


  • Which system best fits differentiated group based learning, preparing pupils for the 1:1 laptop programme.
  • What system is better value to achieve the above?
  • What systems will require less PD (pupils and teachers)?
  • What systems have better ease of use?

Points of Difference

LED have brighter and crisper displays. Last longer and do not dim so rapidly. Bulbs in projectors are $250 - $450 to replace every two years. They are not as big as an interactive whiteboard and can be mounted on tilting technology to point to different parts of the room. Less size means smaller display for distance although with the brighter/crisper screen it possibly evens things up. LED’s have more glare from their semi-reflective surface.
iPads in teachers hands will rapidly become input devices for mobile assessment in the class (pupil and teacher), directly interfaced into SMS/LMS. iPads are not the same as laptops in their interactive use. They provide are marked ease of use in touch interactivity. They are more efficient in carrying out a variety of important portfolio tasks and interacting with LMS/SMS.
Two pupils can interact with learning packages and or show them on the projector full screen to class for same price as an IWB i.e. 3 ipads and apple TV = 2700 approx.
If we put in the newest solution from Promethean at 9395 we could purchase for a class: 5 iPads, one interactive projector (i.e has interaction without having to use a board, screen, one LED's and 2 apple TVs. This means multiple groups (ten kids at two an ipad) interaction, three points at which we can demonstrate learning (projector and two LED's) all for approx $9000.
A teacher can wirelessly connect to a projector/LED from iPads OR laptop to show materials full screen. Have a larger number of pupil interactions, keep their laptop more free (i.e. can't use laptop for other tasks while being used for IWB)

The reality of interaction of the existing IWB is that they are fairly minimal, this is because as Anna suggested at the most you can only have two kids up at the board anyway and I still think the other solutions will provide better group based, pupil based interactions. This is also because out of the box the IWB software is more difficult to use.

Ryan mentioned about multiple voting systems also with the IWB. I agree with him that this is a great idea. However, I have found that either google Forms or for quicker polling Socrative are better full class solutions that are more easily deployed, especially with 1:1 coming through. I have had experience with both systems and would say that the simplicity of Socrative makes implementation much easier in terms of feedback systems.
  • Easier to relocate the "board" to another wall. Just move the projector/LED. Any hard surface and can get large sizes easily. 
  • Easier to tilt or direct the LED display to a different part of the room.
  • Interactive projectors can run interactively without requiring a computer.
  • In some classes the boards are too high on wall to easily interact with for some pupils. Hard to adjust for all the different heights. Stools needed in most cases.
  • iPad allows you to stand/sit anywhere in the room and have the display show what you are working on. You can attach one device and then another to the Apple TV. Be great to easily work.
  • Total cost of ownership on IWB can be higher... bulbs in projectors need replacement every 2-3 years, harder to relocate these if focus of room changes.
iPads are not the same as laptops in their interactive use. They provide are marked ease of use in touch interactivity. They are more efficient in displaying and using some digital learning tools.

Purchasing Decision Notes

  • IWB’s allow physically 2-3 to interact, the Apple TV+LED+iPad combinations allow for 7 interactions for the same dollar value and more importantly I think better fit where we are trying to go with learning and teaching.
  • The combination of iPads+Apple TV + LED is less expensive to purchase and less expensive to maintain bar accidents or theft of gear.Questions
  • If you have more than one Apple TV in the room how do they handle multiple attachments? (Very well)

Is the Interactive Projector a better choice? - I found these when I tested as next to useles.. maybe in 2-3 years

Science Conference Christchurch

Had a good hour taking a workshop with the NZASE Christchurch conference. Created a few new resources for this, including a key competencies poster. It was interesting to see an emphasis in literacy in science coming through, although I think we will need to watch to see that that this emphasis does not take away from the "creation of scientists." Thanks to Simon Briscoe from Promethean who helped out with a portable board and tips on using science and IWB's.
Start with the conference overview handout here, to locate all the resources discussed or mentioned.

ActivBoard and SmartBoard Reflections

Interactive Whiteboards
As the ICT Facilitator in our school, I tend to extensively test technologies we are intending to implement within the school. Over the last year we have been putting in interactive whiteboards and now have two SmartBoards and four Promethean ActivBoards. I was also fortunate recently to win a competition for some ActivVotes so we have interactive voting technology now.
Feedback on the brands: Our Learning Support team felt that with their pupils that the hands on touch was a key factor for them so they chose SmartBoard technology. We have decided to put Promethean ActivBoards in all the other classes. The deciding factors were: sophistication of the ActivBoard software, resources available, and on ground educational support from Promethean consultants.
Having said that, I reckon in the future that the interesting thing will be the ability to incorporate multi- gesture technology in the boards, and wonder who will lead the race in this.
Implementation: We have a portable board that is loaned to teachers on the condition that:
  1. They use it as much as possible for a term
  2. That they join our on-site team of those with boards and attend a couple of training sessions
  3. That they will then get their own board in their room if they show good use and integration (i.e. not just as a fancy whiteboard!)
  4. That they share some of their ideas with the staff to motivate and inspire others.
  5. Comments: Important to get collaboration going. I have developed a web bookmarking system based on Delicious and other technologies to capture our best sites for IWB use. We also are working on a collaborative collection of all created flipcharts through using a common sharepoint.
  6. What Next: Looking into senior pupils authoring for junior classes following the concept of interviewing their client (the teacher), ascertaining learning needs, presenting an outline/plan of what they think they will design, designing presenting and evaluating how it went through interviewing the teacher again or observing a session where it is used.
Comments (3)

Promethean ActivBoard Browsing

I have just put together this method of browsing across this method of setting up your browser in activboard and to use links with the web in fullscreen or near fullscreen mode as you wish. It also provides and efficient way to use links within your school collaboratively.
1. Setup a delicious account (I researched a number and found this the best, especially with the Firefox delicious addon and the simple proxy addon to make using proxies easier in Firefox) (Be careful at this stage uploading large collections into delicious as I can't seem to download them as backup yet - have 5000 links)
2. Download and use Fluid which allows you to create a specific browser just for your bookmarks that can point to your "starter" site. It also has awesome fullscreen and minimum browser toolbars. (Make sure you choose under preferences...> advanced..> Allow browsing to all URLs to keep within your created browser )
3. Place a shortcut to the "Browser to your site" in the dock and I reckon you could not go simpler for a collaborative effort of organising, rating and using bookmarks or favourites (favorties) in your school
4. Enjoy
Medbury Logo

What next- I am going to setup one pointing to a blank page on startup and use this as the default browser from within my flipcharts as it will provide better use of screen.

I have attached a copy of our Medbury browser that you can use as a sample (does not allow access to all our links but enough to give you an idea)

Interested in feedback....
Comments (1)
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