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interactive whiteboard

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

An interactive whiteboard, also known as a smartboard, is an interactive display in the format of a whiteboard that reacts to user input either directly or through other devices.

For a while, standard whiteboards have been used commonly as a way people can share messages, present information, and engage in collaborative brainstorming and idea development. With the same cooperative goals in mind, interactive whiteboards have the ability to connect to the Internet and instantly digitize tasks and operations.

The technology behind interactive whiteboards varies between large format screens with a standalone system on a chip (SOC) and combinations of video projectors or smart projectors that use a tablet or other devices with drivers for user interaction. Forms of operation are often either by infrared or resistive touch, magnetic or ultrasonic pen. As writing and character recognition is generally digitized, keyboards can be almost completely unnecessary. Interactive whiteboard software often includes easy-to-use charts, polls and graphs, including virtual versions of tools one might find in a classroom like rulers compasses or protractors. They can play various types of media and provide teachers with interactive lessons for their students.

Interactive whiteboards are a billion dollar industry and are used in classrooms, boardrooms, engineering, coaching and the strategic planning of many types of projects. According to the Becta Harnessing Technology Schools Survey in 2007, 98% of British secondary schools and 100% of British primary schools had an interactive whiteboard in use.

Learn how to use an interactive whiteboard:

This was last updated in May 2017

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