Monday, April 16, 2012

Eno Click IWB Support Group Series (Post #1)

 This is post #1 of a series of posts that I will be publishing involving a new support group that I've started at my school. I call it the "Eno Click IWB Support Group." It involves a group of teachers at my school that have recently received an interactive whiteboard (or IWB for short) as well as a "media cart" (which I will get into a little later). These teachers range from young, new, and willing to experiment with new technology to experienced and hesitant to try new technology, but what I love about them all is that they aren't afraid to try something new! Many teachers may see this as "just one more thing on their plate" but what many fail to realize is the convenience it adds to the classroom and the engagement is brings for students.

POST #1

 **Disclaimer: This post is no way attempting to advertise or promote PolyVision's product(s). I have no other relationship with PolyVision other than being a recent customer. This post is my opinion based on my experiences and may be different from other opinions.**

This school year, our school had the opportunity to purchase interactive whiteboards. We received two separate grants which required us to use the money to specifically purchase interactive whiteboards, or IWBs for short.

We were only given about $8000 dollars to spend for each grant, so I had to do a little research to get the most for our money. We had already purchased four SMART boards in the past, but for $8000, we would only be able to purchase 1 more SMART board. A typical SMART board runs for about $5000. Not a great investment, in my mind. And we wouldn't be able to purchase another for only $3000. We wanted to get the most for our money, especially with our ever shrinking budget.

So, during my research, I came across the company PolyVision. They sell a product called the Eno Click. The Eno Click is an Interactive Whiteboard that is affordable, durable, multipurpose, and relatively mobile. They sell the Eno Click for around $2000. For this price, we could afford 2 boards for the cost of one SMART board. What a deal! But that's not all. In my opinion, the Eno Click is way better than a SMART board. Let me explain why.

First, let me start with what I don't like about the SMART board. When I was in the classroom a few years ago, I had a mobile SMART board. The board fit on a rolling stand and it took up way too much space. If you put the stand against a wall, it literally sticks out about three feet. And since I hardly had enough space for my 30+ students, that three feet was precious to me. So the board became somewhat of an inconvenience. And mounting the board on the wall was out of the question. It would be too expensive and would take away from the regular whiteboard space that I had.

Also, even though you are supposed to be able to write on the SMART board surface with whiteboard markers, I was always hesitant to do so. When I attempted to write on the surface and tried to erase it, it would always smear and cause a bigger mess.

And the biggest issue I had with the SMART board was the ability to use your fingers to write. It was the one feature I loved the most and hated the most. Mostly hated because when you write with your hand you tend to rest your palm on the surface. Don't try this with a SMART board, though! Resting your hand on the surface while attempting to write will confuse the heck out of the board!

Now, let me explain why Polyvision's Eno Click is way better! First of all, it's an IWB for less than half of what a SMART board is! And it does the same thing and MORE! The board's surface is multpuprose! Meaning, it's an interactive board, a regular whiteboard (that wipes off clean!), and magnetic. The magnetic feature is missing from the SMART boards that we have, and is a bonus for our teachers because they love putting charts and posters on the board to show the students.

Another reason I love the Eno Click is because most of it's magic comes from the pen. The pen is what makes the board interactive and what controls your computer. It becomes your mouse and your writing tool. And, the Eno Click allows up to 3 (yes, 3!) pens to draw on the board at the same time. Teachers love this feature because it means more than one person can be at the board, writing or drawing, at the same time. What is also nice about this feature is that each pen syncs separately with the software. So, for example, one pen could be writing in red, another pen could be writing in black, and the third pen could be writing in green, all at the same time.

The last thing I really love about the Eno Click is it's ease of installation. This board weighs about 30 pounds out of the box and takes literally 1 minute to install in the classroom. That's because the board is equipped with extremely powerful magnets on the back. So all you have to do is remove it from the box and slap it up on a magnetic white board surface. It's really that easy! And although it may seem heavy, the ability to take it down and move it to another classroom is quite easy as well. This is much more convenient than a SMART board sticking 4 feet out from the wall.

And the one thing I emphasis the most to all of the teachers that use these boards is that the Eno Click is simply an interactive surface in which the pen controls your mouse. It does the same thing as a $5000 SMART board, for far less. All you do is control your computer from the board with the pen. Simple as that.


The next installment in this series will be about the support group's first meeting and what resources and information was shared with the teachers who are beginning on their new technology adventure!

If you would like to discuss this post further or disagree with my description of the SMART board, please leave a comment below. I would love to continue the discussion!