Many teachers use interactive white boards in their classrooms. I’m not a big proponent of these because they are very expensive and most teachers I’ve dealt with just use them as projection screen, not really interactively.
However, there are some features I like about them. Anything you “write” on the board is captured and saved and you can manipulate your computer from the board.
I use an alternative that I am a big fan of. I have one of the original Mimio devices. The Mimio turns my white board into an interactive white board. I can capture my handwritten notes, annotations, operate my computer and presentation from the board and more. There is a wireless stylus to use that can also be used to advance a presentation from anywhere in your room. My models lets you put a dry erase marker in a special holder that has a transducer on it to transmit to the receiver. The receiver is mounted on the white board using suction cups or adhesive mounting brackets.
Here’s an image of the original Mimio Xi (like mine) system:
There is software for it that is similar to the Smart Board software and there are tons of lessons and resources available on their site. You can capture what you write on the board, your annotations, create your own lessons with the MimioStudio software, or use some of the lessons that are in their library.
The MimioCapture system is what I have (the older version) and our district has purchased many of the other products including the MimioTeach (make any white board interactive), MimioVote (classroom response system) and MimioPad (wireless tablet). The teachers that use them love them. The MimioView document camera is also really nice. The entire MimioTeach family of products are excellent to use.
Another nice feature is portability. You can use them anywhere and the system is wireless. The capture can even capture to the device and then connect to a computer later to transfer captured data. A teacher moves rooms, the Mimio goes with them. Need to use one in another room, bring one along. Storage is a snap too since they are small. Lock them up to protect them from theft or damage. Bring them along to a conference and use them with your presentation.
The device was originally marketed to business people so that they could capture their notes in a meeting. The company expanded into education and has a great support system and training for educators.
If you are thinking about getting an interactive whiteboard, check out the Mimio instead. They are more cost effective and easy to install and operate. The products all integrate with each other, are easy to use, and have great support. There are discounts for educators, great training materials, and a vibrant community of educators and lesson resources.
Here are some pictures of the system:
(I am not compensated by Mimio at all for this article)