The Return of the Whiteboard

By Lyta Ringo –

Is there anything smarter than a smartboard?  Turns out for this school district there is.

Way back in the 2008-09 school year, Penn Manor was given a grant to upgrade to smartboards.

The smartboard allows teachers to project their lessons and instruct students more easily. But as we all know technology does, it’s upgrading again. Only this upgrade, will allow us to down grade a bit.

The interactive board along with the needed pen.

Instead of having an interactive (Polyvision) board, the new device created by Mimio, is a thin device that goes on the side of a regular white board.

“All of the Polyvision boards will be removed completely (eventually).” said Charlie Reisinger, the head of Penn Manor’s technology department.

According to a presentation about the boards given by Shelby Foster, in the cottages at Manor Middle, the board comes with a USB drive that plugs into your computer, and in order for the board to actually work you must use the pen that comes with it. The nice thing about this is its completely covered. So say you drop the pen and it breaks, or a student would steal it, it has a full warranty and a new device would be received.

The Mimio boards offer a lot more than the current smart boards. For instance, as learned at the presentation, Mimio runs off of a program called notebook. Notebook allows you to access more areas of technology then ever before. An example being a function called glass mode. Glass mode allows you to be on the internet and write notes over top of your page. Which we can do on the current smart boards, except now if we scroll down our notes don’t move, and they no longer makes sense where they are placed. With notebook your notations move with you, the notes will also save in your own personal gallery under the notebook features.

Notebook contains replicas of all the programs students and teachers are used to. There is programs like word, excel, and PowerPoint. Except now they all run as one. Making it easier for teachers to create lessons on multiple programs but share it on a single one.

Another positive about the new boards is the hiding ability. With the current smart boards in order to not show the screen you have to close a slot on the projector. Which is fine except for its on the ceiling, and pulling a chair over isn’t really ideal in the middle of class. However, with Mimio their is a feature called reveal. This feature pulls up a black screen over the entire projected area, and you can move the screen from all areas of the board letting the teacher be in control of what their students are seeing. Also allowing a teacher to show a problem but easily keep an answer covered.

Since the Mimio boards are a lot smaller, the installation time is a lot faster then our current Polyvision boards. For the Polyvision boards a wooden box has to be built over top of the existing white board. The Polyvision board was then mounted over the box, and their not light either. With the Mimio board all it does is magnetizes to the far side of any regular white board.

“The installation is much easier with these new boards,” said Reisinger.

Reisinger also commented that the Mimio boards are much less expensive costing about $700, whereas the Polyvision boards can be anywhere from $1000 on up.

Elementary schools are currently receiving the boards as the schools are being renovated. One board exists in the high schools agriculture wing, which was received as a gift. However we will hopefully be seeing these Mimio boards popping up in the high school over the next few years.