Top Tips for Buying an Interactive Whiteboard November 18 2011

Interactive whiteboards (IWBs) are a relatively new tool in modern teaching and business. Their multifunction abilities make them perfect for presentations, screenings, notes and many other functions.

Are you thinking about buying an interactive whiteboard but don't know what to look for? Here are some tips:

1. What will you be using it for?

Will you be writing on the whiteboard, or will you also be touching it and therefore need it to be touch-sensitive? These may seem basic, but you need to know what you intend to do with it now and in the future, so that you buy the best one for your needs. Do you need your whiteboard to be used as a projector too? Using whiteboard markers are easier and quicker for writing fast notes or brainstorming, but gradually leave smudges and marks that will affect the quality as a projection screen. The key is finding a balance

2. Size

The size of the whiteboard is important - especially if you want it to be portable, or if you will be using it to teach or demonstrate from. The size will obviously impact on where you can place the interactive white board, and whether it will have a permanent or temporary place. Will you be using it in one regularly occupied room or will you be transporting it to meetings or lessons elsewhere?

Some large interactive whiteboards need to be professionally installed, while others use sensors that can be mounted on any surface, using a traditional whiteboard or even a wall as its workspace.

3. Durability

If you are transporting your whiteboard around regularly is it strong enough to take a few knocks and bumps? Are you using it in a science class or an area where water and other harmful chemicals could damage the screen or electronics?

4. Special features

The features of interactive whiteboards come from the software installed in them, so if you want special features you'll need to look at the software available to make sure you get what you need. Interactive whiteboards usually come with software, so check the software that will come with your desired purchase and if there are any features that are not available, you can research other software.

5. Cost

With all the best will in the world, the final purchase decision will come down to price, and these days we all want to get our money's worth when making purchases.

The key to saving money is to do your research - compare prices against the software that comes with the whiteboard and any after-sales support and you will get the best deal for your needs.

Chris Jones is a network cable engineer for Hampshire, UK based company Connect Data. He has installed many interactive whiteboards in schools and has had nothing but good feeback about the benefit they bring to the classroom and presentations.