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!
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