By Gerry Blackwell
Many different types of AV and IT technologies sell into the education market. Some of it is generic: computers, networks, TVs, monitors, sound systems, digital signage. Some is more specific to education, including audio augmentation systems that amplify a teacher’s voice to ensure all students in the room can hear, and PA systems.
Our focus is the 21st century classroom. At the heart of it are interactive whiteboards and projectors that teachers and students use to interact with computer-based information in the classroom or in small-group working areas.
Non-interactive projectors, like those used in residential and corporate applications, had long been used in schools to project static information or video so everyone in the classroom could see. Whiteboards had also been used as an alternative to blackboards.
Interactive whiteboards, in widespread use in education for over a decade now, combine these two technologies. Every interactive whiteboard has a projector. The interactivity, the ability to annotate and edit information projected on the board and select hyperlinks using a stylus or fingertip can be introduced in a few different ways.
It may be built into the board itself, as with the market-dominating products from Smart and its rivals such as the up-and-coming Toronto company Egan TeamBoard Inc. and U.K.-based Promethean Ltd. Whiteboards use a variety of interactive technologies, including infrared scan (IR touch), resistive touch, and electromagnetic pen-based systems.