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All posts tagged Interactive whiteboard

After our last blog; looking at the considerations you need to apply before you purchase an interactive touchscreen for the classroom, we will now look at three leading brands which offer a range of benefits.

One thing to bear in mind with all screens is the type of warranty provided.  Ideally a manufacturer, on-site de-installation re-installation warranty, which is at least 3 years, but preferably 5 years long as this is a big investment for any institution, and you want to make sure that investment is protected.

With regard to software – look at what is provided by each manufacturer, but bear in mind, most Microsoft applications now have good interactive touchscreen tools.

Also, look at what you have already, migrating to a different software, with a different board, may not suit your staff and your current working parameters.  Calculate how much re-training staff to use a new software will cost, along with your other considerations.

SMART BOARD

Smarttech.com

Every school knows the name Smart, it is almost an institution in interactive products within schools, At some point in a teachers career it is almost certain they will have taught a class using a Smart product and will be familiar with the Smart software suite.

Smart provide a range of boards; from the budget MX series to the professional 6000 and 7000 series’, Smart Board.  Smart Tech utilise a proprietary software with a yearly cost per operator (included for the first year), or a ‘lite’ version which is free giving you flexibility with cost management. 

On first view the screens offer very similar solutions, however the software and flexibility of the 6000 and 7000 series’, offer much more with regards to speaker quality, software availability, sensitivity of the screen, various hardware and inputs/outputs.

Screen sizes throughout their ranges are 65”,75” and 86”.

If you don’t want the unit wall mounted, you will need to purchase a stand – so bear this in mind when pricing up (and some units may not come with a wall mount bracket).

My two personal wins for these boards – the 5 year warranty – this is a huge investment for any school or organisation, you want to make sure that there is some insurance to that investment. Secondly, with the added management tool, schools can send messages to the screens. This is vitally important with new guidance likely to be coming from the Government within the next few years in relation to dealing with an intruder in the school and a ‘Lockdown Process’ needing to be activated.  Using a simple messaging system on the screens, every class can be notified in seconds, and ‘Lockdown’ procedure followed. 

Note: Lots of schools who purchase non-Smart products are still using the Smart Notebook 11 software that they used with their old interactive boards. There are two problems with this firstly: this is not legal and Smart do not allow un-licensed use of their software on other products no matter what other screen manufacturers tell you. Secondly Microsoft systems are now not supporting the old Smart Notebook 11 software so upgrading to the new version is going to cost additional money if you purchase a different product so get quotes on using Smart with non Smart products before you price up alternatives.

My personal opinion is – if the school use Smart software and changing the software used for lessons is unachievable then Smart screens are the best option as the teachers can keep using the software they are comfortable with, combined with hardware it is designed for.

ScreenMax SizeMax TouchpointsSpeakersAnti Glare GlassProprietary Software  DisplayWarranty
Smart Board MX Series86”20 – Windows and Mac
10 – Chrome OS
2 15w inbuiltYesYes
(and Lite vers.)
4k Ultra HD  5 years
Smart Board 600086”162 20w inbuiltYesYes (and Lite vers.)4k Ultra HD5 years  

For the full comparison of Smart Board display screen visit: www.smarttech.com/en/products/education-displays/compare

PROMETHEAN

Titanium, Cobalt and Nickel, robust and strong sounding names for a useful all-rounder screen.

If a school didn’t have a Smart interactive board then chances are the school had a Promethean one. These boards would go on forever and many Promethean interactive boards are still in use. Slightly late to the touch-screen market, this hasn’t stopped them developing their technology and the tables in the market saturation race have turned slightly. Promethean are now leading the way in interactive technology, they were purchased by Net Dragon, a Chinese software house a few years ago, benefitting from the incumbent resident UK team who, using their market knowledge to are really pushing the brand forward.

Designed for the classroom specifically, the Promethean Interactive Screens provide their proprietary software free of charge enabling you to use all of the elements of the board without continued payment.  However, Schools who have Smart software can import the lesson into Prometheans’ Active Inspire software so continuity in teaching is not jeopardised.

There is an add-on purchase for the screens –  the Chrome box, which provides access to Google Play Store and all associated apps. This would be another consideration in the cost as a bolt on if you need that functionality. 

My two wins – the fact that the software is included, you therefore get what you pay for, without any hidden costs.  Secondly these screens add huge value with the integrated features, the mirroring feature is the best I have used and being able to download apps to dynamically change the way teachers teach is a huge advantage.

The Promethean screen is in my opinion the best hardware for your money and with the backing of Net Dragon, investment into these screens is going to continue even within a recessed market.

ScreenMax SizeMax TouchpointsSpeakersAnti Glare GlassProprietary Software  DisplayWarranty
Titanium86”202YesYes – but free4k Ultra HD5 years
Cobalt65”202YesYes – but free4k Ultra HD5 years
Nickel86”152YesYes – but free4k Ultra HD5 years

For more information on the screens, visit www.prometheanworld.com, sadly there isn’t a comparison chart, but very detailed tech sheets that you can flit between.

IIYAMA

Iiyma was formed in 1973 making components for TV monitors and have created niche markets for their speciality monitors and screens throughout their history. It is no surprise then that the Iiyama interactive touchscreens are a good reliable proposition certainly when compared to other budget brands.

My two wins for this manufacturer are: Most budget brands are offering 3 year warranties for their screens, probably due to the use of cheaper components to be able to be competitive in the lower end market. Iiyama however use their expertise and manufacturing scale to deliver a great product with a 5 year warranty.  The second is their website – easy to use tick boxes to select the screen (size, add-ons etc) you are looking for without having to trawl through pages of information.  You can then just look at those which are relevant to your needs.

ScreenMax SizeMax TouchpointsSpeakersAnti Glare GlassProprietary Software  DisplayWarranty
ProLite TE9803MIS98”202 x 12WYesYes- free4k Ultra HD5 years
ProLite TE80603MIS86”202 x 10WYesYes- free4k Ultra HD5 years
ProLite TE7503MIS75”202 x 10WYesYes – free4k Ultra HD5 years

For the full comparison of Iiyama screens visit: www.iiyama.com, use the tickbox menu to shortlist your selection, then you can create a comparison chart of your chosen few.

Sue Kenneally

Cablers Ltd

Why schools should think before buying IT / AV equipment from the large volume box shifters.

Comments Off on Why schools should think before buying IT / AV equipment from the large volume box shifters.

Why schools should think before buying IT kit from the large volume box shifters

Most of us love a bit of catalogue or online shopping. It saves time and usually a little money too. This is especially true for hard pressed members of a senior leadership team, teachers and admin staff looking to make the school budgets stretch further. However it is often false economy for what you lose is greater than the small savings you make.

You may get your smart board and projector for a couple of pounds less, you may pick up a server at a bargain basement price but you lose the honest, friendly and knowledgeable service a local specialist provider brings to the process.

As a local specialist education supplier Cablers understand just how busy you are in school and will fit in around you. We recommend a quick survey whenever you swap a projector, replace a interactive white board or buy a large format touch screen. Their are lots of factors to be taken into consideration. You never know if the new projector will fit your existing mount, if the power will reach,  if all your other cables are long enough, does it have the correct connections, can the wall structure can handle a heavier board/screen etc….. The list goes on and i can guarantee in 8  out of 10 times its never as simple as ordering equipment and then getting it installed. Buying from a local specialist who takes the time to look at your requirements will make sure you avoid these problems.

You must also be aware that while you can buy most equipment quite freely from lots of company’s in the UK, when it comes to installing kit the manufactures often state that warranties are invalid unless the equipment is installed by a certified engineer. Make sure your installers have the right accreditation!

We have worked hard to ensure that all our engineers are certified to carry out installations and fault rectifications for all of the UK’s leading brands supplying education technology to schools.

My advice is that you foster relationships with local suppliers who will look after you personally through the buying process. They will ask all the right questions and will ensure your purchased kit is fit for purpose and installed correctly. They will also support you with the warranty process if your equipment should fail. Local suppliers are able to pop in easily to solve any issues or answer questions. Try getting one of the big box shifters to do that for you.

I think all the extra service and peace of mind you gain by using a local specialist supplier and installer far outweigh the small savings you may make buying from a box shifter. We more often than not save you money once installation costs are factored in.

Cablers are working with local education authorities, ICT support providers and lots of schools throughout the South East. Providing a personal service to ensure schools always have the best advice and supplying the most current  IT and AV equipment available which is then installed without the hassle of dealing with more than one company.

All our work is guaranteed and we understand how you use education technology in the classroom.

Contact Cablers and get some good advice next time you need new education technology for your school.

 

Promethean provide some great options with their interactive whiteboards

The other prevalent interactive white board Cablers supply to schools are from Promethean who have also refreshed their range recently. (You can read my first post about Interactive Whiteboards here.)

promethean-activboard 500                      Promethean-ActivBoard-500-Pro

They come in three different varietys which are the Activboard500 Pro, Activboard300 Pro and the new entry level ActivboardTouch. Promethean no longer supply the Activboard100 to UK schools. Each  of these Activboards is then offered in a range different sizes to suit all class rooms. (78″ 87″ 95″ 88″) As with most other class room multimedia solutions you can mount these boards to a wall, on a mobile stand or you can opt for a height adjustable option either fixed or mobile. We will be able to advise on the best solution once we understand how you want to use equipment.

Promethean bundle their boards with ActivInspire software.  Using it teachers transform traditional, lecture-based classrooms into learning environments infused with imaginative, interactive experiences that captivate students’ attention while granting them the freedom to take ownership of their achievement. Designed to foster collaboration and active learning, ActivInspire empowers users to blend real-time assessment and real-world experience into the learning process.

ActivInspire provides you with everything you need to create differentiated lessons filled with rich, hands-on activities in a fraction of the time. With it you will simplify lesson preparation and delivery. Its intuitive interface allows teachers to easily create lessons, enhance collaboration and engage students through interactive tools.  With curriculum-based templates and an assortment of tools, images and activities, ActivInspire provides you with all the building blocks you need to create an interactive learning environment. Connect with Promethean Planet, one of the world’s largest online educator communities, to discover a wide variety of free resources for use in the classroom.

Although you can order your Promethean board to be bundled with one of Prometheans own brand projectors, either short throw, ultra short throw or extreme short throw. We would recommend that you speak to your installer about having your board supplied with a projector that has a dedicated education warranty from a third party such as Epson. It will often save you money and it allows you more freedom to specify which connections you want with your installation that will best suit your existing class room equipment and the new technology coming through.

Promethean utilise capacity resistive touch technology for their board control which senses a pen or finger with infra red. What ever ActivBoard you pick it will require installation by a Certified Promethean Installer like us here at Cablers.

Why not give us a call on  01787 221166 for some friendly advice about your class room multimedia options.

We can also help get the most out of your IT investment by training your staff to use Activinspire.

(Please see the Promethean board comparison chart below)

Product Comparison

 

ActivBoard 500 Pro

ActivBoard 300 Pro

ActivBoard Touch

Installation Options Mount, Adjustable, Fixed, Mobile Mount, Adjustable, Fixed, Mobile Mount
Board Sizes 78″, 87″, 95″ 78″, 87″, 95″ 78″, 88″
Dual User Yes Yes   Yes
Dependent upon application software and operating system
Types of Interactivity Touch and ActivPen ActivPen Touch
Integrated Speakers and Amps Yes Yes Add ActivSound System
Wireless Connection Option Add Wireless Upgrade Pack  –
Two USB Ports Yes Yes  –
Software Included ActivInspire Professional Edition or  Promethean ActivOffice;
Promethean Apps
ActivInspire Professional Edition or  Promethean ActivOffice ActivInspire Professional Edition
Operating Systems Windows, Mac, Linux Windows, Mac, Linux Windows
Standard Warranty Three Years * Three Years * One Year *

 

 

* Extended Warranty available. Terms and Conditions apply.                                             http://www.prometheanworld.com/gb/english/education/products/

 

 

 

 

 
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