From chalk boards to whiteboards with markers to now interactive electronic whiteboards better known as smart boards. Technology changes quick. A smart board is a fun, helpful tool for any classroom because paired with the right software it allows a teacher or a student to interactive in real time with what is being displayed.
Writing made easy and enhanced for teachers
By far and away our favorite feature of any smart board is the ability to write, draw, move what you just made and erase everything with ease without having to select any icons off a menu.
All the smart boards on this list allow you as a teacher to use gestures for different features. So perhaps you select the scribble function so you’re able to write or draw, to move you simply point with one finger and like a mouse pointer you can move it anywhere on screen. To erase, simply rub out using the back of your hand.
This makes conveying the lesson material much easier and it takes you less time to write and fix mistakes.
Adding multi media like YouTube videos or images is fast and easy
Well designed smart boards for classrooms should allow you the teacher to search for videos and images without the complexity of the YouTube homepage or related image search. As a teacher, you’ll want to display an image easily without showing your students the Google Image search on the board.
Conversely, for videos you won’t want any sort of ads to play or the additional YouTube meta data and related videos to be displayed as well as some suggestions may be inappropriate for students depending on the age of the class.
Store content from previous lessons
One last thing we found incredibly helpful was the ability to save your work for future classes. Sometimes when you’re teaching you’ll come up with some great ideas you’ll want to revisit later, or perhaps you’ll want to simply view a the lesson material you put out a few weeks ago. With a smart board, you can easily do this.
The best interactive, smart boards for classrooms
So what are some of our favorites that we suggest checking out when looking to get an interactive whiteboard / smart board for your classroom? From our use, these are our favorite options across a wide range of prices from budget to high end:
- Smart board MX
- Vibe All in One
- AG Neovo
- Interactive Smart board
- IPEVO Whiteboard System
- Chengying infrared system
- Smart Board SB660
Smart board MX Series
A company called “Smart Tech” makes a variety of different smart boards, we used their MX series and were quite impressed. They have an MX series, a GX series, 7000R series and the 6000s series. It’s a bit overwhelming but a difference between the different product lines can be found here.
This is a professional level smart board that costs a few thousand dollars and a 1 year subscription to their smart learning suite. After this year you’ll need to pay a yearly fee to access some of the proprietary apps.
This could be a deal breaker from some school and educators who are looking for a one and done solution. However, the MX series had a bunch of features we really liked. Namely the ability to write, move what you wrote with ease, erase with a gesture, use interactive media library, sync everything with one drive and have automatic updates enabled.
Vibe Board all in One – Collaboration tool
The Vibe Board is our favorite alternative to the expensive but feature rich smart board MX series. While it’s not specifically designed for education, the Vibe Board is much more flexible for use as a collaboration tool or in the classroom.
The Vibe board is a functionally a desktop computer with whiteboard software installed and an interactive mouse. On this big, beautiful display you can show movies, photographs, presentations, or simply use it as a conventional whiteboard. The interactive aspect of it will capture students attention and the desire to utilize it will keep them engaged throughout any lesson you’re teaching.
Last, what makes this option an excellent choice for use in the classroom is that it is somewhat more portable in that you can mount it on a wall or use it on a stand. Making it easy to transform any learning environment. Last, it comes with a variety of free apps to use, it’s great to use with any sort of Zoom game and it saves all your data so you can end class and pickup where you left off.
AG Neovo – 4k flat panel display
The AG Neovo is a flat surface display, interactive board that has a massive 65-inch display screen and 4k 3840 x 2160 HD resolution. The components and instructions needed for wall installation are included with the purchase, but it’s still quite a bit technical as this device is big and heavy. We would suggest buying a stand or paying someone to properly install and mount the AG Neovo
The ability to construct interactive presentations using readily available technology is a major consideration when selecting a smart board for a classroom. The touch-sensitive surface can detect users’ fingertips or the use of a special touch pen, allowing for simple finger drawing in 20-point multi-touch systems.
What makes this classroom option so appealing is that it allows multiple students to participate at the same time without issue if you’re breaking your class up into teams. Last, the AG Neovo supports Chromecast, Airplay and Miracast for all your screensharing needs. It also supports wired LAN connections and wireless connections depending on the setup at your school.
Interactive Smart Board SBX885 – The MX alternative
A whiteboard, smart board, projector hybrid. This is an expensive, all in one device that has internal sensors that allow for multiple students to use at the same time. With this board you can animate and interact with the projector for various activities and you can use the included accessories to write, draw or scrible with precision.
It’s created by the same company that manufactures our top board, Smart Tech. This board is ideal if you’re looking for a projector system, whiteboard and smart board system all built into one large and powerful device. It comes with a wall mount, however this board is big and heavy so it may require additional assistance to properly install.
IPEVO System – Budget smart board projector system
This is our top pick for anyone looking for a budget oriented, smart board system. It turns any flat surface like a whiteboard or even just a wall into a smart board. You pair with your laptop and can then project it onto a surface using the included camera. Best of all you can write and animate on the projection itself with the included interactive pen.
Overall this is a creative whiteboard system with a touch-screen interface, interactive presentation system, and a one-of-a-kind control panel. Convert any flat surface into an interactive projector and whiteboard. The platform is controlled using a wireless sensor that receives input from a wireless receiver, which is then connected to your laptop when it’s in use. You have access to thousands of color options, 11 distinct line thicknesses, fast erasing and saving abilities, as well as so much more model advantages.
Chengying 10 Point Multi-Touch Frame – Touch screen made easy
Using this product you can turn any screen into a giant touch screen. It’s reasonably priced as opposed to a proper $2000+ smart board and allows you to turn your whiteboard in your classroom into a touch screen to enable added functionality.
Simply using a free whiteboard app with this and you now have a simple, ease to use, cost effective smart board solution for class. We also really liked how you’re able to save your dated on your laptop for use later and how easy this is to setup. However, just know that you’ll have to plan ahead with your laptop with slides and apps for use in the classroom.
Smart Board SB660 – The classic choice
A solid, mid range choice for smart boards is the SB660. It’s a no frills smart board in that it allows you to write with a pen or your finger. The pens have on-screen functionality built into them to enable you to choose from different commands and you can screen capture your work and send it to another device or simply save it to a variety of formats including PowerPoint, Word or Excel.
Last, while it is compatible with any type of projector, it works best with short throw projects for best results. Also, the size of this smart board is that of your average white board, about 4.5 feet by 3.5 feet. If you need a large device, this is not it.
Are smart boards effective in the classroom?
Smart technologies in the classroom may assist with boosting test scores, improve learning, enhance literacy, increase attention and comprehension. A primary advantage observed by teachers who utilize smart boards is an increase in student engagement, according to them. Hands-on learning is one of the most effective methods to engage children and ensure that they are fully grasping the lesson material.
In addition, smart boards allow more tech savvy teachers to access their computers, video cameras, digital cameras, microscopes, microphones and just about anything else they want to use to help teach their lessons.
What are the disadvantages of using a smart board for teachers?
First, high end smart boards are cost prohibitive. At thousands of dollars with additional year subscription software it simply may be too expensive (which is why we suggest more budget oriented alternatives). Another issue is software updates causing technical problems, teachers not knowing or understanding how to properly use such a feature rich device and overall resistance from teachers who are set in their ways.
Digital whiteboard, smart board conclusion – what to look for
Anyone who’s used a smart board will agree, it does have a slight learning curve for new teachers but long term the fun and flexibility it provides an education makes it a much more effective alternative to a basic whiteboard and projector. Depending on the subject and age group your teaching, you may find the added functionality of a smart board to be invaluable.