In this week's feature post, an instructor shares his initial experience with the Polyvision Eno Interactive White Board.
Guest Post By James Lines
Ed Note: This post is sort of a follow up to a series of posts I did here late last year in which I started learning about IWBs and discussed my experiences working with a team of fellow staffers at The College of Westchester to determine how this technology could benefit the instructional process in our institution of higher education (whiteboards have not been as ubiquitous in Higher Ed as they have been in many K-12 districts, for a variety of reasons). We ended up deciding to procure a Polyvision Eno board to trial in one of our Digital Media classrooms, as it seemed likely to be quite useful in the instructional process, and it appeared more efficient and cost effective than many of it's competitors. In this guest post, CW instructors shares observations from his use of the system in the classroom. Thanks James!
Room 507 was chosen to test a technology new to the CW learning environment, the Eno Interactive WhiteBoard from Polyvision. When I first saw the new whiteboard, I noticed it looked like the average whiteboard but just a little smaller. No cords, gadgets, satellite dishes, or futuristic interfaces were apparent.
As class commenced, I pulled out my archaic “wet marker” and proceeded to scrawl all over the new board. I drew diagrams, sketches, curves and points with little bubbles of info to supplement my visuals. I was happy to find that the dry eraser worked just as well on this board as any of the other boards in the building. However after working with the Interactive pen, things became much more interesting!
The Eno board uses Bluetooth technology, so there are no cords, just a short calibration sequence and the board becomes ready for action. Your interactive pen essentially becomes your mouse. You can move effortlessly through your Operating System and any software opened. Certain mouse operations are built into the pen nib. The experience is really intuitive once you get the hang of the pressure needed to properly track the cursor around.
I was able to navigate around familiar interfaces with little effort. The program also has a toolbox in which you can access a virtual keyboard and virtual markers in three colors to make notes on top of the display. It is even possible to save your session for playback.
The benefits of this technology in the classroom are immediately clear. Instead of being largely invisible behind a workstation, the instructor can move around in front of the room, interacting with this “live” board with broad, expressive strokes. Situational awareness is increased tenfold because you are standing in front of your students, making eye contact and encouraging reciprocation simply by having a more visible presence, essentially all the good parts of a lecture presentation while still being able to demonstrate a software operation.
Student interaction with the board also increases awareness and interaction. The board makes coming up in front of class more fun and yields the same dynamic situation mentioned above. The pen itself is very fluid and the technology quickly becomes “invisible” so students are concentrating on the subject matter, not the board itself.
The only limitation I found has been using the board with complicated design software that require alot of keyboard shortcut combinations. Users who have keyboard shortcuts ingrained in their interface usage, may stumble a bit to find the “long hand” buttons usually accessed with shortcuts. However, the Eno does allow you to jump back and forth between your pen and the traditional human interface tools, so the instructor does not have to worry about getting “stuck.” Simply sit back at your keyboard to do your operation the old fashioned way, then return to the Interactive board seamlessly.
My first impression of the board has been very positive. I can easily visualize different opportunities for using the board in CW classes. I still have not thrown out my wet markers but am looking forward to the day when I will no longer walk into the bathroom and find my face painted the same color as the marker I was using!
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