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What Is an Electronic Whiteboard?

by Bianca Bumpres

The blackboard, along with the traditional presentation board, has just gone electronic. An electronic whiteboard is an interactive display board that connects to a computer and projector. The projector allows the computer information to be displayed on the board and can be manipulated by using a pen, finger or other device. Electronic whiteboards can be mounted to the wall or on a floor stand.

Function

Electronic whiteboards were developed for office settings. Now these boards have moved over into the education system, allowing the business and educational worlds to participant in interactive instruction or direction.

Size

Sizes of individual whiteboards vary considerably, depending on the need of the classroom or office. A standard electronic whiteboard measures about 35 inches by 50 inches. Wide-panel electronic whiteboards measure about 35 inches by 69 inches. Larger sizes are also available.

Benefits

Electronic whiteboards allow users to move beyond the desktop and present the same information to many people at once. These tools are beneficial for demonstrations in the classroom and office. Whiteboards are colorful tools that capture the attention of students and professional adults. They also allow the user to save information for a later use or to reference previous material. Interactive whiteboards can be used for distance learning, where persons don't need to be in the physical classroom or office. Whiteboards are able to display images from documents, video files and document cameras, where information can be displayed and marked. For example, a diagram of lab specimen can be placed on the whiteboard, with labeling and writing tools enabled. Electronic whiteboards also allow group brainstorming sessions, in which notes can be jotted down and saved as you go.

Expert Insight

Electronic whiteboards are a seed of motivation for students in grade school and high school, according to Mary Ann Bell, assistant professor of library science at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. Whiteboards maximize computer access for groups as a whole and can accommodate different learning styles including auditory, sensory and visual learners, according to Bell.

Considerations

Although electronic whiteboards are increasing in use, there are some considerations to keep in mind. For example, an electronic whiteboard is only as beneficial as the properly trained user. If users don't have accurate knowledge working with electronic whiteboards, these are not viable tools. Training and continued technical support is essential for the most beneficial use. Whiteboards are hard to see when sunlight hits them. They must be positioned correctly, with effective blinds in the classroom or meeting area where the boards are used.

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