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An interactive whiteboard (IWB) is a large interactive display that connects to a computer. A projector projects the computer's desktop onto the board's surface where users control the computer using a pen, finger, stylus, or other device. The board is typically mounted to a wall or floor stand.

They are used in a variety of settings, including classrooms at all levels of education, in corporate board rooms and work groups, in training rooms for professional sports coaching, in broadcasting studios and others.

The first interactive whiteboards were designed and manufactured for use in the office. They were developed by Xerox Parc around 1990. This board was used in small group meetings and round-tables.

The interactive whiteboard industry was expected to reach sales of US$1 billion worldwide by 2008; one of every seven classrooms in the world was expected to feature an interactive whiteboard by 2011 according to market research by Futuresource Consulting. In 2004, 26% of British primary classrooms had interactive whiteboards. The Becta Harnessing Technology Schools Survey 2007 indicated that 98% of secondary and 100% of primary schools had IWBs.  By 2008 the average numbers of interactive whiteboards rose in both primary schools (18 compared with just over six in 2005, and eight in the 2007 survey) and secondary schools (38, compared with 18 in 2005 and 22 in 2007).

Uses for interactive whiteboards may include:

  • Running software that is loaded onto the connected PC, such as a web browsers or other software used in the classroom.
  • Capturing and saving notes written on a whiteboard to the connected PC
  • Capturing notes written on a graphics tablet connected to the whiteboard
  • Controlling the PC from the white board using click and drag, markup which annotates a program or presentation
  • Using OCR software to translate cursive writing on a graphics tablet into text
  • Using an Audience Response System so that presenters can poll a classroom audience or conduct quizzes, capturing feedback onto the whiteboard.

General operation

  • An interactive whiteboard (IWB) device is connected to a computer via USB or a serial port cable, or else wirelessly via Bluetooth or a 2.4 GHz wireless. In the latter case WEP and WPA/PSK security is available.
  • A device driver is usually installed on the attached computer so that the interactive whiteboard can act as a Human Input Device (HID), like a mouse. The computer's video output is connected to a digital projector so that images may be projected on the interactive whiteboard surface.
  • The user then calibrates the whiteboard image by matching the position of the projected image in reference to the whiteboard using a pointer as necessary. After this, the pointer or other device may be used to activate programs, buttons and menus from the whiteboard itself, just as one would ordinarily do with a mouse. If text input is required, user can invoke an on-screen keyboard or, if the whiteboard software provides for this, utilize handwriting recognition. This makes it unnecessary to go to the computer keyboard to enter text.
  • Thus, an IWB emulates both a mouse and a keyboard. The user can conduct a presentation or a class almost exclusively from the whiteboard.
  • In addition, most IWBs are supplied with software that provides tools and features specifically designed to maximize interaction opportunities. These generally include the ability to create virtual versions of paper flipcharts, pen and highlighter options, and possibly even virtual rulers, protractors, and compasses—instruments that would be used in traditional classroom teaching.

Common types of operation

  • The majority of IWBs sold globally involve one of four forms of interaction between the user and the content projected on the whiteboard. These are an infrared scan technology, a resistive, touch-based board, an electromagnetic pen and associated software, and an ultrasonic pen.
  • CWSC® provides Service Plans to cover all incidents pertaining to Interactive Whiteboards.


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Computer Warranty Services Corporation
204 Bagdad Street
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Leander, Texas 78641
USA
Main: 1-214-224-0440
International: 011+214-2240440
N.A. : 1-877-614-7181 (toll free)
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