What is the real value of software that is bundled with an interactive whiteboard?

Saturday, January 9th, 2010 | IWBs, software

Interactive whiteboards are sometimes offered to you as a package: with the board comes a selection of software products.

How valuable is such a bundle of software?  It all depends on what is in the bundle.

Some manufacturers of interactive whiteboards provide software specifically developed for their product.  Such material is generally of great value:

Look out for an authoring tool – a software package that allows you to develop your own lessons.  Remember, the day will come when won’t be satisfied using packaged software any longer since you’ll feel competent to develop your own material.  Then an authoring tool working in conjunction with your interactive whiteboard is what you need.

Other items specifically developed for your board may also be useful, particularly while you are learning to use the new tool.  A further advantage of such resources is that you can adjust them (if you have the authoring tool), or you can use them as models to create new material.

At times the bundle of software consists of a disparate collection of software items, procured and owned by the interactive whiteboard manufacturer or distributor.  In an attempt to give the offering a wide appeal, a huge variety of items are included.  This may look impressive, but means that you will find only a few items meeting your particular needs.

A big bundle is not necessarily a bargain.  Imagine you’re looking for new shoes.  A big sign in a shop tells you that if you buy a pair of shoes (on the expensive rack) you will get twenty pairs of socks for free.  “What a bargain,” you think.  Until you look at the socks.  The colour is all wrong!  What will you do with twenty pairs of purple and orange polka dot socks?

The same principle applies to the bundle of software that comes with your interactive whiteboard.  The “lots of resources” and “free” may be appealing, but how helpful will it be to you?

A bundle of software may be useful to you – but first check the contents of the bundle!

Click here for more information about interactive whiteboards.

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4 Comments to What is the real value of software that is bundled with an interactive whiteboard?

Albie
Saturday, 9 January, 2010

Yes software is NB, but what I would like to see is that ALL vendors should allow their EIAWB’ software to be used on ALL makes, models amd brands of EIAWB. The software is compatiable.

Albie

miles3wp
Saturday, 9 January, 2010

The value and importance of Software cannot be disputed…. Yes, any hardware need software (main bundle) to run, but too much of the same can overwhelm and confuse the user. We do not want to repeat the scenario of the first school roll-out, where schools received a whole basket (bundle) of software, only to let some titles fell into disrepute and not being utilized to their full potential. Presently, with different software vendors in the market, fighting for a monopoly or a fair stake in the “technology drive”, it’s rather unlikely that one software bundle will be compatible with all makes and models of IAWBs. All the same, all software have the same end result…. it’s like the mythical concept of…”someday all software will be free…..”

kvanwyk
Saturday, 9 January, 2010

Good point, Albie – I hope the interactive whiteboard vendors take note!

Mark C
Sunday, 10 January, 2010

I am not always in favour of software that comes with hardware devices. Many of them are low quality and are not suitable for general use. Many companies use over-the-top marketing to dupe consumers into purchasing things they either won’t or cannot use. I think there is enough other freeware that can be used on the board in addition to the Smart’s software. In maths we have been using Geogebra and Graph for a long time. They are free and are excellent to teach with. The applets and flash animations we use in Physics are also of use. There are free authoring tools but they may not always be exactly what we want. We need tools to fit our purposes and this is a difficult task.

I think we should stick to a few programs we know well and contribute to the communities that support them e.g Geogebra.

Also, I think it is time that our internet service providers offer us better value-for-money (faster and more reliable) internet connections as there are good cloud services we can can use on the interactive whiteboard e.g. The weathersa site, OpenStreet maps, all Google’s Apps etc. These are all software programs we can use with the IAWB without installing them.

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