THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO SMARTBOARDS FOR EDUCATION
Smartboard illustration

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO SMARTBOARDS FOR EDUCATION

The use of Smartboards is one way to make learning easier, through the use of technology.

Education is the bedrock of any economy. Hence, it is vital that the best facilities are put in place to provide a pleasant learning experience.

What is a Smartboard?

Firstly, a Smartboard is a large interactive board that can serve as a standalone touchscreen computer or touchpad to control computers from a projector.

Secondly, Smartboards come with a built-in Android system and an interactive whiteboard software that helps collaboration and sharing of ideas in different environments.

Features of Smartboards

Smartboards have some fantastic features due to their interactive displays. Thirdly, these features put them head and shoulders above traditional displays.

Some of these features are:

  • High brightness levels
  • Enhanced durability
  • Front maintenance system
  • High contrast resolution
  • Low maintenance cost
  • Interactive displays and software
  • Spotlight, Magnifier and Pointer features

Popular Smartboards

There are different smartboard manufacturers out there, therefore, choosing quality ones can be daunting. In this section, you’ll get to know about the most popular smartboards, their outstanding features, pros, and cons.

The smartboards to be discussed are:

  • Epson Interactive Projector
  • BenQ Interactive Whiteboard
  • SMART Board
  • Hitachi Whiteboard
  • Epson Interactive Projector

Epson is one of the largest electronics companies in the world, therefore, it is no surprise they have great smartboards. While all Epson products are great, the Epson EB-455Wi is one smartboard that stands out.

This smartboard has a fully-loaded projector that comes with excellent functionalities such as an ultra-short throw distance. Equally important, this provides a fabulous learning experience using an electronic pen.

Smartboard Features

This Epson smartboard comes with the following features:

  • Interactive Pen
  • Board size of 96 inches
  • Built-in Epson software
  • EasyMP Network Projection
  • EasyMP Monitor
  • Mounting plate
  • 3LCD chip technology

Advantages

Large size: This smartboard from Epson provides an interactive area larger than the standard smartboard size, thanks to its 96 inches screen size.

Flexibility: You can benefit from high flexibility when using this smartboard. The height and width are not predetermined, so it can be converted to a different size when necessary.

Ultra-short throw lens: This smartboard solves all issues faced with images from short distance projections. Likewise, the ultra-short throw lens ensures the smartboard works fine in all kinds of room sizes, producing high-quality images.

Multi-surface compatibility: The interactive features of the Epson EB-455Wi are built into the projector, instead of into the board, so it works great on different surfaces.

Easy integration: Integration is a vital part of smartboards for educational purposes. The Epson EB-455Wi integrates seamlessly with various devices, widgets, wikis, apps, and software.

Mouse-like interactive pen: The built-in interactive pen works like the mouse on your personal computer. Therefore, you can use it to interact with the screen while running, streaming or broadcasting educational content.

Software-agnostic: Unlike some smartboards, the Epson EB-455Wi is software agnostic and web 2.0 friendly. Therefore, you can use it with different software and file types, making it perfect for learning purposes.

Disadvantages

  • It depends on external devices to attain maximum functionality.
  • there is no built-in wireless screencasting.
  • It doesn’t support cloud storage

BenQ Interactive Whiteboard

BenQ is a well-known manufacturer of digital displays and projectors. Therefore, they are capable of making powerful smartboards, and they are doing just that! Moreover, BenQ’s interactive flat panels are used a lot across different industries.

The EZWrite software that comes with BenQ smartboards makes it better suited for educational purposes. Also, this software allows teachers annotate documents, images, videos, and websites.

Smartboard Features

  • 4k Ultra HD display
  • Air Quality Sensor
  • Germ-Resistant Screen
  • Eyecare solution
  • Multi-touch support
  • Availability of cloud storage
  • Built-In EZWrite 5.0 annotation app
  • Support for NFC technology

Advantages

Eyecare monitor: Students can now take part in classes for longer without bothering about the effect of the screen on their eyes.

Air quality sensor: The BenQ smartboard comes with an air quality Sensor that gives an alert when the air isn’t suitable for breathing. For example, it’ll alert when there’s excess carbon dioxide (CO2) in the room.

Cloud storage support: The BenQ smartboard is excellent for educational purposes as it comes with cloud storage support. Thus, making the process of storing lesson materials easier.

Multi-touch support: The combination of the multi-touch support and EZWrite software encourages collaboration amongst students. Therefore, leading to a pleasant learning experience.

Disadvantages

  • Using BenQ without initial training is difficult.

SMART Interactive Display

SMART Technologies is a company known for creating smartboards specifically for educational purposes. Likely so, you can tell that they know the needs of the education system.

There is a range of interactive displays, but in this section, you’ll be learning about the 7000 series. For example, the 7000 series comes in two sizes, one at 75 inches and the other at 86 inches.

The 6000 and MX series also exist, and while they are less potent than the 7000 series, they have lovely functionalities.

Smartboard Features

The SMART board’s 7000 series comes with the following features:

  • 4k Ultra HD display
  • Smart ink
  • Pen ID
  • Live preview input switching
  • Cloud storage
  • Unique HyPr Touch(Hybrid Precision Touch)
  • Object awareness

Advantages

Object detection: This SMART board can recognize a pen, fist, and fingertip. Meaning, based on its detection strategies, it can switch to write, erase or select mode based on the object that touches it.

Dual presence detection: The dual-presence detection on this board is quite efficient. For example, it can detect when the teacher comes into the class and readies itself for use.

Multiple Points of Interaction: For a smartboard the size of the 7000 series, you’d expect it to work with many touches, and it does. Moreover, it works with sixteen simultaneous points of interaction which can be a pen, eraser or an actual finger touch.

Embedded computing: While other smartboards may require a dedicated computer, the 7000 series doesn’t. Thanks to its embedded computing, another computer is not needed for proper functionality.

Disadvantages

  • It doesn’t come with a wall bracket mounting kit
  • Absence of a remote control
  • No ambient light sensor

HITACHI WHITEBOARD

The Hitachi is known for making good interactive whiteboards. Likewise, their Starboard line is a testament to this fact.

Hitachi 'Smartboard' 86" Interactive Touch Screen Display with Screen Mirroring
Hitachi 86″ Interactive Touch Screen Display with Screen Mirroring

The Hitachi Starboard line has boards that have similar features such as the use of the latest finger touch technology, and at an affordable price too.

Asides the real value for money that Hitachi Starboards deliver, they are also durable as they have an electronic-free surface.

The smartboards are convenient for educational purposes as they have a minimum size of 63 inches and a maximum of 90 inches with various products having dimensions in between.

Features

  • Capability for finger, stylus or pen touch
  • Supports group work for three users
  • Multi-touch support
  • Handwriting recognition
  • Remote conferencing
  • Presence of built-in Starboard software
  • Playback support

Advantages

Touch capability: You can use the Starboard either by finger, stylus or electronic pen touch, making for better user experience.

Multi-touch gestures: Starboard supports multi-touch gestures; hence you can perform tasks such as zooming, etc.

Support for group work: Multiple users can operate the smartboard, so the learning experience is better during classes.

Starboard Software: Software comes preinstalled in every Hitachi Starboard, making it easier for users to get up and running quickly.

Playback features: Recording of classes is possible with the Hitachi Starboard as it supports playback. Students can revise previous lessons through the recordings, which can help improve academic results.

Disadvantages

  • Expensive to purchase and maintain

Conclusion

The learning process can be very demanding, so it is vital to implement facilities that can help make it easier.

This article is based on the need to implement one of such facilities to make learning more comfortable, the smartboard.

You’ve seen brief discussions on the Epson, BenQ, SMARTboard and Hitachi smartboards. Each of these smartboards has excellent functionality and advantages that outshine the disadvantages.

Getting a smartboard shouldn’t be a difficult process. In fact, you can make your pick and be confident that any of these four smartboards will serve you well.