BoardShare – The Instant Smart Wall

Need a Digital Wall without the cost – BoardShare might be the answer. As the use of digital whiteboards increases in the coming years the need for greater access to education technology becomes more and more apparent. The ever increasing gap in the quality of education between certain groups of students has become a pressing political issue, and digital whiteboard technology can aid somewhat in closing this gap. Digital Whiteboards are a type of computer hardware that can turn an existing whiteboard or LCD screen into what is essentially an interactive computer screen. Although digital whiteboards have been around since 1991, research has only recently revealed how powerful their effect on learning and retention can be. Use of a digital whiteboard showed a 17% increase in test scores at the outset, with an average of 20% increase if the teacher had been using the digital whiteboard for more than 20 months. Furthermore, with optimal interactive whiteboard usage (neither too much time with the whiteboard nor too little) test scores jumped up 29%i. Digital whiteboards increase student’s engagement with the lesson being taught as well as their ability to participate, both of which are vital aspects to students actually successfully learning and retaining informationii. Unfortunately digital whiteboards have remained expensive and complex tools, representing a significant expense and time commitment from the teachers and schools that wish to use them, a sentiment echoed by Peter Roketenetz, the director of Technology at Woburn Public schools in Massachusets. Despite requests from teachers asking for digital whiteboards in their classrooms he struggled to come up with a solution because of his district’s limited technology budget, until he discovered BoardShare. “I was immediately drawn to the idea of a portable interactive whiteboard solution for our district. Teachers and administrators were always asking me about purchasing interactive whiteboards for classrooms, especially in our older school buildings. Up until now, I struggled to find ways to come up with the necessary funding to make this a reality. After learning about BoardShare, it made perfect sense to invest in this new and innovative solution at a fraction of the cost of installing permanent interactive whiteboards.” Roketenetz started by purchasing just eleven BoardShare units, one for each school in the district to be shared between all of the teachers in the given school. The BoardShares were a hit. Christine Wyard, a special education teacher at Woburn Public Schools had this to say about her experience using it with her students: “I use BoardShare for vocabulary review. Larger than life pictures really capture every students attention. We also use it for brain breaks, short videos to introduce lessons, and to edit sentences or to mark up words. Whenever I use it, I can be sure that every student’s hand will be up wanting a turn.” In fact, BoardShare quickly become so popular among the teachers and students, that Roketenetz purchased over 70 more within the next year with plans to expand even further. Roketenetz’s situation is not uncommon. Many schools face these budgeting concerns and unfortunately, the schools that could benefit most from use of digital whiteboards are the ones who tend to have the least access to them. Schools with small tech budgets and large class sizes may benefit greatly from the use of an interactive whiteboard but face serious budget concerns when it comes to buying them. This is further compounded by the amount of training it requires to master many digital whiteboards. Schools with budgeting concerns are hesitant to consider these sorts of expenses when there are so many other vital needs to attend to. BoardShare aims to service schools and businesses with these budget concerns while still providing a high quality product at a much more reasonable price. BoardShare retails for under $350 dollars and is incredibly easy to use, requiring little to no training. It works by utilizing a preexisting LCD monitor or projector hooked up to a computer to project an image onto a blank surface such as a whiteboard. The BoardShare camera is then used to track the movements of the BoardShare stylus against this surface. The camera itself is small enough to fit into one’s pocket, making it perfect for people who travel often or need to use it in multiple places. The hardware itself is very easy to set up. Once the software is installed and the BoardShare camera is plugged in the user will be guided through a simple 9-point calibration process. In less than one minute the BoardShare is ready to use. Click here to see a video of BoardShare in action. Once set up, BoardShare can be used to highlight and underline text, draw shapes, take screenshots, and share presentations with other BoardShare users. All of these tasks are achieved with an onscreen pallet that can be expanded or minimized at the user’s discretion, making BoardShare very simple and intuitive to master.      

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