stevenlong1985 (19th June 2012)
We are currently looking at replacing our 10 interactive whiteboards. But I wanted to know - what is the best solution out there? What are people's thoughts? Promethean or Smart? Interactive Projectors? Apple TV and iPad? LCD interactive TVs?
At the moment we are looking to purchase 10 x Promethean ActiveBoard 587, height adjustable and wall mounted.
My thoughts are that the way things are going with technology LCD touch screens and interactive projectors will overtake the more traditional whiteboards (one day) - but in terms of price and cost effectiveness this does not look like it will be today.
So, what are people out there using and what is your preferred solution?
personally, i'm a firm believer in Smart, the boards seem robust, the drivers and software are more industry standard and have always proved reliable and easy to distribute.
I'll add a caveat to that however, my recomendation only extends to the boards themselves, I have had nothing but grief from the integrated projectors and speaker systems.
I recomend hitachi ed-a221nm UST projectors and either NuVo or Edis speaker systems to accompany them.
Hitachi Starboards and Hitachi short throw projectors we are slowly replacing our aged prometheans with them.
This reminds me, one company told us you have to be an approved Smart installer to be allowed to install their products and they claimed they were the only ones in the country who had this accreditation, am I the only one who thinks that is BS?
We have all Smart Boards here (32 at last count) and I rarely have any problems with them. Robust, pretty accurate for touch, easy to keep clean, 4 coloured pens + eraser plus buttons for on-screen keyboard and right-click so you can do pretty much everything from the board itself, no need to use the laptop/PC directly for anything.
I share @Oaktech sentiment about the projectors & speakers though; don't get the all-in-one solutions from Smart, get your own seperate projector that you can easily replace/service as the built-in ones are rubbish (had to replace 2 both in under a year of them being put in as they overheat something terrible!).
Last edited by Pete10141748; 18th June 2012 at 02:11 PM.
andyturpie (18th June 2012)
Thanks guys, exactly what I thought, apparently is a 'new' thing!
Hate the lot of them if im honest. We've gone full circle and now have a policy of not buying them and just using a fixed ceiling mounted projector onto the white wall - much bigger projected image.
From a reliability angle I would go with Smartboards every time. I have them in one school and I am very rarely called out to deal with non-connectivity issues. The Prometheans are better than they used to be but still seem to find it more difficult to maintain a connection.
We have projectors that we bought ourselves, ranging from NEC DLPs to Casios and they are all fairly trouble-free
We are mainly Promethean with a few Hitachi in one block and I have to say I've never had a major issue with connecting a board used to occasionally get the issue where you had to tell it to install the right driver but not had that for a while.
If you're talking about the quality of the boards/projectors physically, I'd recommend you visit some other schools in your area.
As for the software, Smart Notebook 10.8 is full of resources and very user friendly. I find children do interact better with coloured pens and being able to use their fingers to control the board.
Promethean have got better with ActivInspire 1.6. It's considerably better than the 1990's look/feel ActivPrimary V3, but I still think Smart Notebook has the edge.
I'm yet to experiment with Smart Notebook 11. I've downloaded it, just not installed or played as yet.
I've had experience of a few, promethean, smart. RM and hitachi of varying ages and had issues and pleasantries with them all - projectors themselves often provided with all of them are usually diabolical but for the boards themselves Promethean boards are nice and reliable but the pens aren't exactly sturdy with student use (or some staff!) and the software and support leaves a little to be desired. Smart Notebook without doubt is the best software with a lot of available resources although can be a bit of a PITA to install. Problems in the past have usually been interference related but haven't heard of similar stories on modern boards. Hitachi starboards always used to be cack but have heard nothing but positive stuff about more recent efforts. Never used the supplied software though. RM classboards seem a reasonable compromise, pens are expensive and software isn't fantastic but there's a suprising amount of perfectly functional *ancient* classboards around, showing something about reliability/longevity.
If I had to make a choice (for my primaries, we don't see much point in our secondary) then it'd be the Smart on the strength of the software, resources and the fact that fingers don't break as easily as many of the pens
I favour the SmartBoards simple as they just work and are less hassle than Promethean and much better software and deploy nicely and play well.
Never get the integrated systems they are just asking for trouble I always spec the projector, amp, speakers etc... so I know what it is, where its from and thus much easier part swapping should an item fail. We now have about 40 SmartBoards and they are great Infact did some training for our Science dept. tonight on basic Smart stuff they were impressed how they could be useful to them
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