In2edu I.C.T. Resources Enhancing Education & Learning

Interactive White Boards verses LED/AppleTV and iPads

This is a review I wrote three years ago as we started to take out IWB's and replace them with LED/Apple TV's and iPads - pricing not necessarily current.

This document explores the concept of interactive whiteboards, their cost and looking at the alternative of an iPad, Apple TV, LED TV/Projector combo.

Existing Situation

A range of IWB boards in the school. Most of these are being used occasionally as IWB’s and are instead used to display screens. The biggest exception is in the Learning Support area.
5G has been trialling a different type of “interactive” system, that of iPads (the interactive hands on component) with Apple TV+ LED Screen ( the display component)

The three proposed systems

  1. IWB $7000-$9000 per system with projector, ongoing maintenance costs higher due to cost of replacing bulbs. Boards date over time but will run for years. Could also purchase touch-screen LEDS for a higher price.
  2. LED+ Apple TV for displaying of digital devices AND iPads for interactive hands on surfaces. The iPads are crucial part of the package if these are to be seen as a replacement for an IWB. Combination of 65 LED+Apple TV+8 x mini iPads = $6000
  3. Interactive projector + Apple TV for displaying of digital devices AND iPads for interactive hands on surfaces. The iPads are crucial part of the package if these are to be seen as a replacement for a full IWB. The interactive projector has dropped in price incredibly. Will work with a laptop - not iPads. Software in interactive projectors at last test Nov 2012 is not really useable and reliable, although the concept is worth revisiting in the future (best of all worlds scenario possibly)


  • Which system best fits differentiated group based learning, preparing pupils for the 1:1 laptop programme.
  • What system is better value to achieve the above?
  • What systems will require less PD (pupils and teachers)?
  • What systems have better ease of use?

Points of Difference

LED have brighter and crisper displays. Last longer and do not dim so rapidly. Bulbs in projectors are $250 - $450 to replace every two years. They are not as big as an interactive whiteboard and can be mounted on tilting technology to point to different parts of the room. Less size means smaller display for distance although with the brighter/crisper screen it possibly evens things up. LED’s have more glare from their semi-reflective surface.
iPads in teachers hands will rapidly become input devices for mobile assessment in the class (pupil and teacher), directly interfaced into SMS/LMS. iPads are not the same as laptops in their interactive use. They provide are marked ease of use in touch interactivity. They are more efficient in carrying out a variety of important portfolio tasks and interacting with LMS/SMS.
Two pupils can interact with learning packages and or show them on the projector full screen to class for same price as an IWB i.e. 3 ipads and apple TV = 2700 approx.
If we put in the newest solution from Promethean at 9395 we could purchase for a class: 5 iPads, one interactive projector (i.e has interaction without having to use a board, screen, one LED's and 2 apple TVs. This means multiple groups (ten kids at two an ipad) interaction, three points at which we can demonstrate learning (projector and two LED's) all for approx $9000.
A teacher can wirelessly connect to a projector/LED from iPads OR laptop to show materials full screen. Have a larger number of pupil interactions, keep their laptop more free (i.e. can't use laptop for other tasks while being used for IWB)

The reality of interaction of the existing IWB is that they are fairly minimal, this is because as Anna suggested at the most you can only have two kids up at the board anyway and I still think the other solutions will provide better group based, pupil based interactions. This is also because out of the box the IWB software is more difficult to use.

Ryan mentioned about multiple voting systems also with the IWB. I agree with him that this is a great idea. However, I have found that either google Forms or for quicker polling Socrative are better full class solutions that are more easily deployed, especially with 1:1 coming through. I have had experience with both systems and would say that the simplicity of Socrative makes implementation much easier in terms of feedback systems.
  • Easier to relocate the "board" to another wall. Just move the projector/LED. Any hard surface and can get large sizes easily. 
  • Easier to tilt or direct the LED display to a different part of the room.
  • Interactive projectors can run interactively without requiring a computer.
  • In some classes the boards are too high on wall to easily interact with for some pupils. Hard to adjust for all the different heights. Stools needed in most cases.
  • iPad allows you to stand/sit anywhere in the room and have the display show what you are working on. You can attach one device and then another to the Apple TV. Be great to easily work.
  • Total cost of ownership on IWB can be higher... bulbs in projectors need replacement every 2-3 years, harder to relocate these if focus of room changes.
iPads are not the same as laptops in their interactive use. They provide are marked ease of use in touch interactivity. They are more efficient in displaying and using some digital learning tools.

Purchasing Decision Notes

  • IWB’s allow physically 2-3 to interact, the Apple TV+LED+iPad combinations allow for 7 interactions for the same dollar value and more importantly I think better fit where we are trying to go with learning and teaching.
  • The combination of iPads+Apple TV + LED is less expensive to purchase and less expensive to maintain bar accidents or theft of gear.Questions
  • If you have more than one Apple TV in the room how do they handle multiple attachments? (Very well)

Is the Interactive Projector a better choice? - I found these when I tested as next to useles.. maybe in 2-3 years

LMS Moving Ahead

ultranet_LMSMoodle, Ultranet, KnowledgeNet, Desire2Learn, Canvas are all names of Learning Management Systems. Not a definitive list, but a list of those with market presence in N.Z. with the last two being my outsiders that are new on the scene but interesting enough to keep a watch out for. We are currently running Ultranet in our school, a package that has achieved a very quick number of schools since it introduction in 20. Ultranet is very simple to learn. We have had a lot of success with being able to get teachers up to speed with a couple of days of PD and they are away. Task setting and handing in files is great as is the uSpace (portfolio, buddies and social areas). The questions is with Ultranet is how will it develop as a product. Areas such as quizzes, blogs and wikis have limited features and the ability to assess and track a class within the system is limited also. If we could just create using gardening techniques our own hybrid that combined the best of Ultranet with say Canvas or Desire2learn and Moodle.
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