Monday, October 25, 2010

SMARTBoard vs Mimeo interactive whiteboard

IWB (Interactive White Boards) is the generic name for SMARTBoards as they are commonly called in schools.  I’ve had a number of queries from teachers recently about the pros and cons of each platform so I thought I’d be efficient by posting on my blog and sending along the link. 

Disclaimer – these are my personal views and don’t represent the official view of our district.  Also, most importantly, I have no financial motivation for supporting either platform.

SMARTBoards

Several lesson examples emerging from SMART Board 600i A fast growing Canadian company based in Calgary.  They have been around for years as have many of their original boards as longevity of the hardware doesn’t seem to be an issue.  A whole ecosystem has developed around their tools.  There is certification as a SMARTBoard trainer and resources on their SMART Exchange website are outstanding.  In addition, most major Canadian publishers including Nelson, McGraw-Hill and recently Scholastic, make their digital resources available as SMARTNotebook files.  These publisher resources already have the interactive elements that would take hours for teachers to create on their own.  Their licensing allows for both teachers and student to install the software at home.  We have many teachers who assign homework to students to create a lesson in notebook that they then demonstrate to the class later.  See previous blog post about SMARTNotebook.

In addition, google search will let you search for SMARTNotebook files.  Just put the extension ‘filetype:notebook’ into your search.  Here is an example of a search for notebook files with the word ‘science’ on the page.

Pro Con
  • SMARTNotebook software is outstanding
  • Notebook 10 is the educational standard
  • hardware is durable
  • expensive to mount on a classroom wall ($400-$600 depending on building construction)

 

Mimio

MimioTeachAccording to the website, they have been around since 1997 and were invented at MIT.  My experience with them is much more limited as I’ve only heard about them for about a year now.

We now have a few schools with Mimeo devices and more considering them all the time.  The are ‘instantly’ mounted on any pre-existing whiteboard.  A word of caution, if you use with an older 4:3 ratio LCD projector, the image size is quite small.  Be sure to consider a newer wide screen projector like the NP510W from NEC that we use in our district.  This will give a large working space.

Mimio also has a sharing site called MimioConnect with lesson plans, forums and support.

Pro Con
  • hardware is cheaper than SMARTBoards
  • instantly mount on any whiteboard
  • works great with a wide-screen projector to get a big workable area
  • Can’t run SMARTNotebook software as it is excluded in the terms-of-use

Summary

In reflecting on this posting, I realize that it looks like there is a clear preference towards the SMART product but here are some factors that will change the balance over time:

  1. If more educators select the Mimeo due to the cheaper price, there will be a growing critical mass of educators posting and sharing mimeo files
  2. A file converter that converts a SMARTNotebook file to a Mimeo file.

Please comment and share your pros/cons and experiences with your IWB.

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