Home Interactive White Boards PolyVision ēno whiteboards: A great alternative to the SMART Board

PolyVision ēno whiteboards: A great alternative to the SMART Board

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The third post in an ongoing series on learning about Interactive Whiteboards in the classroom.

I enjoyed learning about the SMART Board products while writing last week's post. This week, I had the opportunity to enjoy a demonstration of a PolyVision ēno Interactive Whiteboard. The product was demonstrated by PolyVision Territory Manager Dennis Guidera and Educational Specialist Amy Brandt. These knowledgeable representatives did an admirable job of clarifying the important ways in which the ēno product line, introduced this year, differs from the ubiquitous SMART Board products.

PolyVision eno

The PolyVision ēno products have some significant differentiators that anyone considering the purchase of interactive whiteboards would do well to be advised of, such as the following …

Writeable, virtually indestructible, ‘green', surface
The unique ceramicsteel surface is practically indestructable (and 99.9% recyclable), and you can write on it with regular dry erase markers! (The rep demonstrating the product even wrote on it with a permanent Sharpie, and then wrote over that with a standard dry erase marker and the alcohols in that broke down the ink from the Sharpie and he simply erased it – pretty amazing. Don't try that on a SMART Board!). In fact, the surface is warrantied forever (yup, forever). Check out this YouTube video for an amusing demonstration of the ēno's durability.

Easy mounting (especially with the ēno ‘click' product line)
The ēno ‘click' product line can be mounted directly on to many regular whiteboards magnetically (since many standard whiteboards are magnetic, and the ēno has a row of powerful magnets built in). Just place it up against an existing whiteboard, and you're ready to go! It doesn't get any easier than that. There is a special methodology required to pull the board back off, requiring two people and a proper technique, which helps to prevent theft.

The version of the ēno that does not have the magnetic mounting ability is also very easy to mount. My son mentioned to me how it took a week for personnel at his school to mount a SMART Board, and you can still see damage around the mounted board, where they ripped out the old chalkboard. It seems much less likely that this would happen with the simpler, lighter ēno boards.

There are no electronics or cables connected to the board
Another big surprise with the ēno boards is the complete absence of electronic connections – there's no power, no computer cables, nothing. The ēno boards utilize a Bluetooth enabled stylus, combined with Anoto technology, to detect the user's actions, so it doesn't need power, and it doesn't need a physical connection to the computer. This adds to ease of installation, and more or less eliminates maintenance. There's just nothing to break on the board. It's that simple. This also means you don't have to work with different pens to write in different colors – you just use the magnetic function strip to select the color you want.

Use any software you want!
Each ēno board comes with five RM Easiteach software licenses, but the PolyVision's open technology approach means that you can use whatever whiteboard software you want with the board (as well as interacting with regular software applications, like other interactive whiteboards). The intelligence of the boards are driver based, so once you install the driver on a PC or Mac and attach or enable a bluetooth interface, you can use any software that is designed for use with interactive whiteboards (including Smart Technology's Notebook software!). This is yet another powerful advantage of this product over proprietary competitive solutions.

Lower cost of ownership
There are a lot of reasons why the PolyVision line can result in lower costs, such as simpler installation, easier maintenance, more flexible functionality (you don't need to have both a traditional whiteboard and an interactive whiteboard in the classroom). Click here to access PolyVision's Total Cost of Ownership tools to do your own analysis. 

Here's a brief (6 min.) video overview of the ēno whiteboard, for those who would like to learn more, or “see it in action”:

PolyVision also has a variety of associated products, including a tablet that can be used by instructors or teachers to interact with the board while moving around the classroom. There is also a “Walk-and-Talk” interactive panel that enables an instructor to do everything they could do on the whiteboard from a portable interface, while the results display on the whiteboard at the front of the classroom – this works well from a podium, for example.

In summary, I was (obviously) quite impressed with the PolyVision ēno interactive whiteboards, and strongly recommend them for consideration.

Next Week
Next week I'll continue this series by looking at some other competitive products, and hope to wrap this up no later than the week after, as we come to some conclusions about which product we'll be bringing into our school to work with.

[Note: Allow me to clarify that am not paid by anyone to blog about these products, or any others for that matter. I do it for my own education and enjoyment!]

13 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Erin – The Polyvision should come with “Easiteach” software, but one of their benefits is an open technology approach which means that you should be able to use whatever whiteboard software you want. This resource: http://www.jmeacham.com/smart.board.htm, indicates that the Smart Notebook app is compatible with the Polyvision. Good luck with the new tools and the new school year!

  2. I have come across the exchange.smartechs website. I will not have access to my class for several more days but am hoping to begin lesson planning. Polyvision eno boards were just installed this summer. I am trying to find ways to incorporate it into my kindergarten classroom. Does anyone know if the Resources you can download from that site will work on an eno board? ….as the website is SMART board affiliated.

  3. ENO boards are made from ceramicsteal, so they are tougher than a lot of the boards I’ve seen. Even after 12 months of writing on ours with dry marker pens (and the occassional accident with a permanent pen) the boards are still a clean white. This is much more than I can say for our standard, run-of-the-mill whiteboards which seem to hold onto faint marks over time and never seem quite as clean as they should be.

    I’ve only ever used the touch sensitive SMART boards; you certainly can’t write on these and you have to be careful with the surface of most interactive whiteboards. I’ve sat and watched women with diamond rings scraping along the surface of our ENO boards without leaving a mark, so tough isn’t an issue.

    The software that comes with these boards is pretty basic; personally, I prefer this. I want to write on the board, run presentations and get on with the lesson; I’ve heard people complaining about “lack of functionality”, and agree that you need additional software to cut and paste pictures across the board, etc. However, I’ve also watched people waste hours of lesson time trying to remember where these fancy features are, when they aren’t really needed.

    My only advise is to keep a spare battery, and setup in advance of the lesson. Pairing the stylus to the PC/laptop can be tempremental at times…but this is ALWAYS down to the PC/laptop settings. Anyway, no one should ever start a lesson without preparing first; lack of preparation just invites disasters.

  4. Just to clarify on IWBuser’s post, Inspire can be used on any IWB brand. One of the versions is even free, which Walsh mentions in another post. You can write on many brands of IWB with dry erase markers, but it is not always recommended, as some brands, such as Promethean have an anti-glare coating. If you keep rubbing it over time, the coating can come off. The coating is meant to decrease the “hotspots” that appear from the LCD protector light. You may want to look into and see if you find certain products to have high glare or hotspots.
    Disclosure: I work for Promethean.

  5. @KWalsh – I have seen the Sharpie thing done on SMART Boards, on Egan Teamboards (another touch one like SMART), etc.

    my URL isn’t active yet… sorry, posted it too soon. I’ll share when I have it up and running – your posts are good content for the site in development.

  6. Thanks for your informed feedback “iwbuser”! I was not really clear on the ability of other whiteboards to use other app’s applications. I should, however, clarify that the rep who presented to us made it quite clear that other apps would need to be licensed – they were not encouraging pirating by any means. As for the Sharpie thing, yes, I realize this can be done on some other whiteboards, but again, not on the touch-sensitive technology boards that are out there. I agree that displacing these pens can be costly.

    As for getting excited about this technology – I won’t deny it. I think a lot of schools have spent more than they need to for technology that is not as flexible as the approach PolyVision and some others use, which have writable surfaces, have no electronics built into the board, and so on. I am still adamant about the importance of understanding the differences between these offerings.

    By the way, what is “http://iwbuser.com”? The URL shows as invalid (even if the ‘www’ is added).

  7. All IWBs can use any software – that is not unique to Polyvision Eno. What is funny is that you state how you can use SMART Notebook with it – but that goes against the EULA for Notebook, as it would with ActivInspire and others – you can use them anywhere, but you have to pay for them with other IWBs. If Polyvision rep was saying to just use SMART Notebook, then he was encouraging you to pirate software.

    Writeable surface – that sharpie and then write over it with another marker where the alcohol breaks it down and wipes away can be done on all IWBs – i’ve seen everyone do that, especially when they are just letting the sharpie sit for only a few seconds on the surface. Promethean, SMART, etc – all their surfaces can handle that same ‘trick’

    There is nothing to break on the board – but there is an expensive pen to break, lose, etc. SMART the pens aren’t ‘real’ so lose em and just use something else (plus many students prefer the visual cues of picking up a color and writing in that color as opposed to having to click for colors). Promethean has a pen, but they are cheap to replace. Lose your Polyvision pen and you are out of luck for interactivity until you buy another $200+ pen 🙂 That’ll add up real quick and blow that TCO out of the water…

    Sounds like you got enthusiastic about a sales pitch where competitive items where presented that really have little relevance to the instructional usage and benefits.

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