Sunday, September 14, 2008

Activboards versus Mimio...some thoughts

There are many types of Interactive Whiteboards and Mimios out in schools. A lot of teachers are not using them to their full potential, mostly because of technical issues of calibration, software and hardware conflicts, setting up problems and most of all lack of professional development. Then there is the issue of 'Which should we buy for our school?' This blog entry makes suggestions for and against both.

I have had the opportunity of seeing both Activboards and Mimios in action in one school. The Activboard has the projector attached to the screen. (Big tick here, no projector or wires hanging from ceilings or sitting precariously on tables).
The screen can be moved up and down according to the child's height. The screen is large and can be seen by the whole class right to the back of the room. Teachers have very little problems calibrating because the projector is fixed to the screen.
There is a wireless keyboard that children or teacher can use anywhere in the classroom. The only down was maybe the clarity, the room needed to be darker or the projector needed to have higher lumens, but it was a minor point as it made no difference to the children.

The Mimio is attached to a LCD TV. This works well with small groups or the whole class on the mat in front of the TV. The mimio image was TV quality.

So far my evaluation of this equipment is that the Activboard works well in the Senior School because it can be seen from the back of the room and when you have big children sitting in a classroom with all your furniture, there is not a lot of room for sitting up the front. I also liked how you could direct student's attention to it while they are working at their desks and they could all easily see it.

I would use the Mimio more in the Junior school. It is least distacting for the whole class as it is smaller and could be used unobtrusively with small groups.

See my new blog dedicated to mimios and IWB

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