May 25, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Interacting With Interactive Boards

Being in EdTech I always think we have it all—nothing can top what’s already out there. Kudos to Smart of the brand name Smart Board, the company that coined the term “Smart Board.” Interactive boards are for schools and businesses alike, though schools and universities usually purchase larger numbers.

This column will not give justice to the actual boards themselves. I hope I am successful at at least getting my readers excited enough to go check one out in person. Many of the schools The Garb I.T. Consulting Group LLC manages have interactive boards or are in the process of replacing or upgrading their current “Smart Boards” or whiteboards to interactive panel displays.

What is the difference, you may ask, between a Smart Board and an interactive board?

Smart Boards classically have either a throw projector that is mounted to the ceiling or an arm that has the projector mounted right in front of the Smart Board. The Smart Board essentially is a large mouse pad. The Smart Board has to be connected to a PC or laptop. The troubleshooting part includes maintaining the PC, bulb life and connection cords. Many times these cords may be pulled out, the PC may have issues or the bulb needs to be swapped. Which put a large overhead on the IT team and school.

The interactive boards in layman’s terms is a large monitor with a PC or Droid operating system on board. You can use a plastic device or your finger to draw on the actual interactive board. What truly makes the interactive board stand out is the apps and ease of use. My team will usually put the interactive board on the WiFi, which saves the task of running a hard ethernet line. The mounting can be done by a simple AV team. Be ready—these boards can weight a ton. Most users are purchasing boards that are 75 inches. Teaching, training or having an interactive meeting with your satellite office is a breeze. Saving documents can be done in the cloud or locally.

Our company is a fan of the Promethean Board and InFocus board models. Both are quite amazing. Of course, my column is limited to print and nothing compares to an on-site view.

Recently I had the honor of hosting the owner of Radix-International, which has an amazing product that not only manages the interactive boards, but can push applications, and our team can even access the boards remotely. Radix has an outstanding product that allows the teacher to stand in front of the board and see all the PCs, Macs and Chromebooks. The teacher can whitelist, administer a test, or have students take over from their own devices.

The Garb I.T. Consulting Group has expanded our services to interactive board solutions. For example, at Naaleh Girls High School, the staff not only uses the board for education purposes, but the board sounds an alert when classes are over. My team installed an app that the lets the administrators use their smartphones to speak over the interactive boards using the internet. And yes, of course, the board can send an emergency alert that an intruder may be in the building.

If you are interested in learning more about interactive boards, our team installs, sells configures and even trains on site. Email [email protected].

By Shneur Garb

Shneur Garb is the CEO of The Garb I.T. Consulting Group, which manages education and business IT solutions. Shneur gives seminars and interactive sessions. For comments and questions, email [email protected].

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