Interactive whiteboard

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Interactive whiteboard at CeBIT 2007

An interactive whiteboard is a large interactive display that connects to a computer and projector. A projector projects the computer’s desktop onto the board’s surface, where users control the computer using a pen, finger or other device. The board is typically mounted to a wall or on a floor stand.

They are used in a variety of settings such as in classrooms at all levels of education, in corporate board rooms and work groups, in training rooms for professional sports coaching, broadcasting studios and more.

The interactive-whiteboard industry is expected to reach sales of $1 billion worldwide by 2008; one of every seven classrooms in the world will feature an interactive whiteboard by 2011 according to market research by Futuresource Consulting.[1] In 2004, 26% of British primary classrooms had interactive whiteboards. [2] The Becta Harnessing Technology Schools Survey 2007 indicated that 98% of secondary and 100% of primary schools had IWBs[3]. By 2008 the average numbers of interactive whiteboards rose in both primary schools (18 compared with just over six in 2005, and eight in the 2007 survey) and secondary schools (38, compared with 18 in 2005 and 22 in 2007). [4]

Uses for interactive whiteboards include


[edit] Operation

The interactive whiteboard is connected to a computer through a wired medium (USB, a serial port cable) or with a wireless connection (Bluetooth).

Usually, the device driver software is loaded onto the attached computer where it enables the Interactive Whiteboard to act as a Human Input Device (HID). The interactive whiteboard usually becomes active once connected and the driver is running.

[edit] Classroom uses

Interactive whiteboards are used in many schools as replacements for traditional whiteboards or flipcharts or video/media systems such as a DVD player and TV combination. Users can also connect to a school network digital video distribution system using an interactive whiteboard. Interactive whiteboards can also interact with online shared annotation and drawing environments in the form of interactive vector based graphical websites.

The software supplied with the interactive whiteboard will usually allow the teacher to keep notes and annotations as an electronic file for later distribution either on paper or through a number of electronic formats.

In addition, some interactive whiteboards allow teachers to record their instruction as digital video files and post the material for review by students at a later time. This can be a very effective instructional strategy for students who benefit from repetition, who need to see the material presented again, for students who are absent from school, for struggling learners, and for review for examinations. Brief instructional blocks can be recorded for review by students — they will see the exact presentation that occurred in the classroom with the teacher's audio input. This can help transform learning and instruction.

Many companies and projects now focus on creating supplemental instructional materials specifically designed for interactive whiteboards.

[edit] Integration with a Learner Response System

Some manufacturers are providing classroom response systems that are integrated with their interactive whiteboard products. These take the form of handheld 'clickers' operating via Infrared or Radio signals. Simple clickers offer basic multiple choice and polling options, while more sophisticated clickers offer text and numeric responses and will export an analysis of the student performance for subsequent review.

With classroom response and interactive whiteboard systems combined, teachers can present material and receive feedback from students in order to direct instruction more effectively as well as carry out formal assessments. For example, the interactive whiteboard allows students to solve puzzles and math problems and then demonstrate their knowledge through a test. The test would be delivered via the classroom response system. Classroom Response Software is also available in order to organize and develop activities and tests based on State Standards.

[edit] Research into Impact of Interactive Whiteboards on Education Standards

A substantial body of evidence is now emerging that looks at the impact of the Interactive Whiteboard technology on teaching and learning practices and student performance on standardized tests.

[edit] The DfES Primary Schools Whiteboard Expansion project

Evidence of impacts on attainment when interactive whiteboards is appearing. The BECTA (UK) commissioned study into the impact of Interactive Whiteboards over a two year period showing very significant learning gains, particularly with second cohorts of students, where they benefited from the teacher's experience with the device.[5]

The DfES Primary Schools Whiteboard Expansion project (PSWE) provided substantial funding to 21 Local Authorities in 2003-04 to support the acquisition and use of interactive whiteboards in UK primary schools.

The implementation and impacts of the project were evaluated by a team at Manchester Metropolitan University, led by Professor Bridget Somekh.

This major study into the impact of interactive technologies on student performance standards, involved 20 Local Authorities and 7272 learners in 97 schools. Variables considered in this detailed research included; length of exposure to interactive whiteboard technology, the age of pupils (down to individual birthdays), gender, special needs, entitlement to free schools meals and other socio-economic groupings. To date it is the largest and longest study conducted into the impact of Interactive Whiteboards.

Key Findings:

The research showed that interactive whiteboard technology led to consistent gains across all key stages and subjects with increasingly significant impact on the second cohorts, indicating that embedding of the technology into the classroom and teacher experience with the technology are key factors.

Gains were measured in ‘months progress’ against standard measures of attainment over the two year study period.

In infant classes, ages 5 - 7:

- In Key Stage 1 Maths, high attaining girls made gains of 4.75 months over the two years, enabling them to catch up with high attaining boys.

- In Key Stage 1 Science, there was improved progress for girls of all attainment levels and for average and high attaining boys.

- In Key Stage 1 English, average and high attending pupils all benefited from increased exposure to interactive whiteboards

There was also clear evidence of similar impacts in Key stage two - ages 7 - 11

- In Key Stage 2 Maths, average and high attaining boys and girls who had been taught extensively with the Interactive Whiteboard made the equivalent of an extra 2.5 to 5 months progress over the course of the two years.

- In Key Stage 2 Science, all pupils, except high attaining girls made greater progress with more exposure to the IWB, with low attaining boys making as much as 7.5 months additional progress

- In Key Stage 2 writing, boys with low attainment made 2.5 months of additional progress.

There was no adverse impact observed at any level.

The study also indicated how interactive whiteboards have very positive impacts on the attention, attitude and motivation of all pupils and produces a co-operative, ‘community of learning’ ethos in the class. It also shows how Interactive Whiteboards help with teaching abstract and difficult concepts and complex ideas - visual tools help pupils concentrate for longer and understand more fully.

Becta summarizes the research as follows:

“This study clearly shows the benefits that can be gained from effective use of an interactive whiteboard. We know that technology has the capability of bringing lessons to life and making that much more enjoyable for the learner.

Not only do the lessons become more fun, the study clearly shows the very real benefits in terms of learner attainment and engaging pupils in lessons.”[5]

[edit] Criticisms

A report from London's Institute of Education on Interactive Whiteboards [6] said:

  • Although the newness of the technology was initially welcomed by pupils any boost in motivation seems short-lived. Statistical analysis showed no impact on pupil performance in the first year in which departments were fully equipped.

The report highlighted the following issues:

  • Sometimes teachers focused more on the new technology than on what pupils should be learning.
  • The focus on interactivity as a technical process can lead to some relatively mundane activities being over-valued. Such an emphasis on interactivity was particularly prevalent in classes with lower-ability students.
  • In lower-ability groups it could actually slow the pace of whole class learning as individual pupils took turns at the board.

Only around 1 in 15 of the teachers studied had received any form of training or professional development in the use of the technology which is considered by commentators as a key factor in the deployment of anything intended to impact teaching and learning.[7][8]

[edit] Academic literature reviews & research

There are a number of literature reviews,findings and papers on the use of interactive whiteboards in the classroom:

  • DCSF and Becta (2007) Evaluation of the DCSF Primary Schools Whiteboard Expansion Project[5]
  • Painter, D Whiting, E and Wolters, B (2005) The Use of an Interactive Whiteboard in promoting interactive teaching and learning[9]
  • Beauchamp, G and Parkinson, J (2005) Beyond the wow factor: developing interactivity with the interactive whiteboard. School Science Review (86) 316: 97–103.[10]
  • Glover, D and Miller, D, Averis, D and Door, V. (2005) The interactive whiteboard: a literature survey. Technology, Pedagogy and Education (14) 2: 155–170.[11]
  • Moss, G, Jewitt,C, Levačić, R, Armstrong,V, Cardini, A and Castle, F, Allen,B, Jenkins, A and Hancock, M with High, S. (2007) The Interactive Whiteboards, Pedagogy and Pupil Performance Evaluation: An Evaluation of the Schools Whiteboard Expansion (SWE) Project: London Challenge
  • Smith, H.J. , Higgins, S., Wall, K., and Miller, J. (2005) Interactive whiteboards: boon or bandwagon? A critical review of the literature, Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 21(2), pp.91–101.11[12]

A large number of articles on this technology are collated at:

[edit] Interactive Whiteboard Technologies

Interactive whiteboards may use one of several types of sensing technology to track interaction on the screen surface: resistive, electromagnetic, infrared optical, laser, ultra-sonic, and camera-based (optical).

  • Optical and Infrared — When pressed to the whiteboard surface, the finger or marker sees the infrared light. Software then manipulates the information to triangulate the location of the marker or stylus. This technology allows whiteboards to be made of any material; with this system no dry-erase marker or stylus is needed.
  • Resistive — Resistive touchscreens are composed of two flexible sheets coated with a resistive material and separated by a microthin air gap. When contact is made to the surface of the touchscreen, the two sheets are pressed together, registering the precise location of the touch. This technology allows one to use a finger, a stylus, or any other pointing device on the surface of the board.
  • Electromagnetic — These interactive whiteboards feature an array of wires embedded behind the board surface interacts with a coil in the stylus tip to determine the (X,Y) coordinate of the stylus. Styli are either active (require a battery or wire back to the whiteboard) or passive (alter electrical signals produced by the board, but contain no power source). In other words, there are magnetic sensors in the board that react and send a message back to the computer when they are activated by a magnetic pen.
  • Capacitive — Just like the electromagnetic type, the capacitive type works with an array of wires behind the board. In this case however the wires interact with fingers touching the screen. The interaction between the different wires (laminated in a patented X- and Y-axis manner) and the tip of the finger is measured and calculated to a (x,y) coordinate.
  • Laser — An infrared laser is located in each upper corner of the whiteboard. The laser beam sweeps across the whiteboard surface—much like a lighthouse sweeps light across the ocean—by using a rotating mirror. Reflectors on the stylus or marker reflect the laser beam back to the source and the (X,Y) position can be triangulated. This technology may be combined with a hard (usually ceramic on steel) surface, which has long life and erases cleanly. Markers and styli are passive, but must have reflective tape to work.
  • Ultrasonic and Infrared — When pressed to the whiteboard surface, the marker or stylus sends out both an ultrasonic sound and an infrared light. Two ultrasonic microphones receive the sound and measure the difference in the sound's arrival time, and triangulate the location of the marker or stylus. This technology allows whiteboards to be made of any material, but requires a suitably adapted active dry-erase marker or stylus.
  • Ultrasonic only These devices have two ultrasonic transmitters in two corners and two receivers in the other two corners. The ultrasonic waves are transmitted by the whiteboard surface. Some little marks in the whiteboard borders create reflecting waves for each ultrasonic transmiter at different and recognizable distances. Touching with a pen or even the finger in the whiteboard causes these point waves to be suppressed, and the receivers communicate the fact to the controller.
  • Frustrated Internal Reflection - Infrared light bounces within a flexible and transparent surface. When the surface is deformed through a finger press the internal reflection is disrupted and the light escapes the surface where it is then sensed by cameras. Image processing software turns the light spots observed by the cameras into mouse or pointer movements.
  • Using digital pens (e.g. Anoto) - The embedded IR-cameras of the pen can track a tiny dot-pattern which can be printed on a large piece of paper (or on a special rear-projection foil). This technology allows a highly accurate tracking with approximately 600 dpi. Moreover, the tracking results are independent from the shape and from the size.
  • Wii Remote IWB - A Wii Remote is connected to a computer through its bluetooth connection capabilities. Using open-source software and an IR-Pen (a pen made with a momentary switch, power source and a Infrared Led) any surface (desk/floor/wall/whiteboard/LCD) can be turned into a Interactive Whiteboard. The Wii Remote has a very accurate Infrared Light tracking camera. Once calibrated, the Wii Remote detects a mouse click at the screen location of the IR-Pen. This setup can potentially cost below $100US.

Potential issues:

Interactive whiteboards have some issues similar to regular whiteboards. Permanent markers, for example, can create problems on some interactive whiteboard surfaces. Punctures, dents and other damage to surfaces are a risk, but do not typically occur in the normal course of classroom use.

[edit] Front and rear projection

Interactive whiteboards are generally available in two forms: front projection and rear projection.

  • Front-projection interactive whiteboards have a video projector in front of the whiteboard. The only disadvantage to these boards is that the presenter must stand in front of the screen and their body will cast a shadow. Presenters quickly learn to compensate for the shadow by slightly extending their arm with or without a stylus. This disadvantage is mitigated when using an Ultra-Short-Throw (UST) projector, which casts its beam from above and just in front of the IWB surface, removing the presenter from the beam's path.
  • Rear-projection interactive whiteboards locate the projector or emmisive display behind the whiteboard sensing surface so that no shadows occur. Rear-projection boards are also advantageous because the presenter does not have to look into the projector light while speaking to the audience. The disadvantages of these systems are that they are generally more expensive than front-projection boards, are often very large, and cannot be mounted flush on a wall; however, in-wall installations are possible.

Some manufacturers also provide an option to raise and lower the display to accommodate users of different heights.

[edit] Short-Throw Projection Systems and Interactive Whiteboards

Some manufacturers offer short-throw projection systems in which a projector with a special wide angle lens is mounted much closer to the interactive whiteboard surface and projects down at an angle of around 45 degrees. These vastly reduce the shadow effects of traditional front-projection systems and eliminate any chance for a user to see the projector beam. The risk of projector theft, which is problematic for some school districts, is reduced by integrating the projector with the interactive whiteboard.

Some manufacturers have provided a unified system where the whiteboards, short throw projection system and audio system are all combined into a single unit which can bet set at different heights and enable young children and those in wheelchairs to access all areas of the board. Reduced installation costs make these short-throw projection systems cost effective.

[edit] Calibration

In most cases, the touch surface must be initially calibrated with the display image. This process involves displaying a sequence of dots or crosses on the touch surface and having the user select these dots either with a stylus or their finger. This process is called alignment, calibration, or orientation. Fixed installations with projectors and boards bolted to roof and wall greatly reduce or eliminate the need to calibrate.

A few interactive whiteboards can automatically detect projected images during a different type of calibration. The technology was developed by Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories, Inc and is disclosed in patent 7,001,023. The computer projects a Gray Code sequence of white and black bars on the touch surface and light sensitive sensors behind the touch surface detect the light passing through the touch surface. This sequence allows the computer to align the touch surface with the display; however, it has the disadvantage of having tiny fiber-sized "dead spots" in the resistive touch surface where the light sensors are present. The "dead spots" are so small that touches in that area are still presented to the computer properly.

[edit] Associated equipment

A variety of accessories is available for interactive whiteboards:

  • Projector — Allows a computer display to be projected onto the whiteboard. 'Short Throw' projectors are available from some manufacturers that mount directly above the board minimizing shadow effects. 'Ultra Short Throw' projectors are even more effective.
  • Track — Allows the whiteboard to be placed over a traditional whiteboard or tackboard to provide additional wall space at the front of the room. Some tracks provide power and data to the whiteboard as well.
  • Mobile stand — Allows the interactive whiteboard to be moved between rooms. Many are height adjustable as well.
  • Printer — Allows copies of the whiteboard notes to be made.
  • Slate or tablet — Allows students control of the whiteboard away from the front of the room.
  • Personal Response System — Allows students to answer test questions posted on the whiteboard or take part in polls and surveys.
  • Wireless unit — Allows the interactive whiteboard to operate without wires to the computer, e.g. Bluetooth.
  • Remote control — Allows the presenter to control the board from different parts of the room and eliminates on-screen toolbars.

[edit] References

  1. ^ Education Week's Digital Directions: Whiteboards Inc
  2. ^ Primary Teacher's Toolbox Interactive Whiteboard Research
  3. ^
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ a b c Evaluation of the DCSF Primary Schools Whiteboard Expansion Project, DCSF and Becta (2007)
  6. ^ Moss G, Jewitt C, Levaãiç R, Armstrong V, Cardini A, Castle F (2007) The Interactive Whiteboards, Pedagogy and Pupil Performance Evaluation: An Evaluation of the Schools Whiteboard Expansion (SWE) Project: London Challenge
  7. ^ ICT in Schools: Interactive Whiteboards and Teaching
  8. ^ How £50m went to waste on a whiteboard| News | This is London
  9. ^ Painter, D Whiting, E and Wolters, B (2005) The Use of an Interactive Whiteboard in promoting interactive teaching and learning
  10. ^ Beauchamp, G and Parkinson, J (2005) Beyond the wow factor: developing interactivity with the interactive whiteboard. School Science Review (86) 316: 97–103.
  11. ^ Glover, D and Miller, D, Averis, D and Door, V. (2005) The interactive whiteboard: a literature survey. Technology, Pedagogy and Education (14) 2: 155–170.
  12. ^ Smith, H.J. , Higgins, S., Wall, K., and Miller, J. (2005) Interactive whiteboards: boon or bandwagon? A critical review of the literature, Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 21(2), pp.91–101.11
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