Interactive Whiteboards and projectors have been used in classrooms for many years enabling teachers and students to interact with a PC and write notes over any computer application. The market in the UK has been dominated by the SMART Board accounting for over 60% of the total number of interactive whiteboards being used in schools. This technology has enhanced the teaching and learning experience by moving away from whiteboards and blackboards providing access to the world of education software and Internet resources. With the amount of high quality computer based resources available for teaching and learning increasing and improving constantly, the reliance on durable, high quality display technology is increasing all of the time.
Quick look overview of differences between interactive whiteboard and projector vs interactive LED
|Interactive whiteboard with projector||Interactive LED|
|Multi touch||Dual touch||5 to 10 point touch|
|Lamp life||2,000 – 8,000 hours per lamp||No lamp, estimated 50,000 hour life|
|Decreasing Brightness||Degenerative, even when new lamp is installed||Estimated 50,000 hour life and no decrease in brightness|
|Cleaning||Regular cleaning required to prolong the life of the unit||Light external dusting|
|Shadow||All projectors cast a shadow even an ultra short throw||None|
|Resolution||Usually 1024 x 768 0r 1280 x 800||HD – 1920 x 1080 or Ultra HD -3840 x 2160|
|21st Century Connectivity||Usually VGA and maybe 1 x HDMi||2-3 HDMi and often Display Port or DVi as well as VGA and video|
What are the challenges of the current Interactive Whiteboards and projectors?
- Multi Touch – interactive whiteboards are struggling to keep up to date with the direction of software. SMART have just announced the new M600 series to replace the 600 series at the end of 2013, but this new product is still only dual touch. Gestures in Windows 7 & 8 sometimes require up to 6 touch recognition to control the full range of gestures.
- Lamp Life – Most projectors have lamps that will last anywhere from 2,000-8,000 hours. When they fail they require replacing at an average cost of £250. There are lamp free projectors now but they will still only last up to 15,000 hours and are more expensive
- Decreasing brightness – There are now DLP projectors available which are better at maintaining their brightness than LCD projectors but even so, all projectors will lose brightness as they are used.
- Cleaning – All projectors require cleaning, even the ones without filters. If they are not cleaned the projector and lamp life and performance will be significantly decreased
- Shadow – Despite ultra short throw projectors being available all projectors still cast a shadow on the screen. The shadow makes the screen less user friendly and if the projector is not short throw, can cast a shadow in the eyes of the user
- Resolution – the demand for higher resolution is happening throughout technology. High definition videos, photos, diagrams and documents are becoming a standard requirement in many cases. Recently there have been a couple of new Full HD (1920 x 1080) short throw or ultra short throw projectors released on the market, but they are expensive.
- 21st Century connectivity – devices requiring multiple HDMi and Display Port are becoming more common all of the time. This drive towards digital inputs leads to better quality pictures and performance but many older models lack the required connections, you will be lucky to have 1 x HDMi connection on a projector. In addition, often the projector is installed in the ceiling and difficult to get HDMi cables up to as well as the audio back to a separate audio system
Why are Interactive LED’s a better long term investment than projectors with Interactive Whiteboards?
- Multi Touch – all interactive LED’s we recommend have a minimum of 4 point touch. There are now options for 6 or 10 point touch. Gestures in Windows 7 & 8 sometimes require up to 6 touch recognition to control the full range of gestures
- Lamp Life – All interactive LED’s we recommend are commercial panels with no lamps and an estimated 50,000 hour life
- Decreasing brightness – All interactive LED’s we recommend are commercial panels that do not lose brightness and have an estimated 50,000 hour life
- Cleaning – Although screens should be kept dust free there are no filters and the panel is sealed to dust
- Shadow – You are writing and touching an interactive LED with no projector and therefore no shadow
- Resolution – All interactive LED’s we recommend are full HD resolution (1920 x 1080) there are even Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) available
- 21st Century connectivity – All interactive LED’s we recommend have a minimum of 1 HDMi, many have 2 or more and many more connections. Most screens have integrated speakers and therefore the HDMi audio comes from the screen.
Technology changes faster all of the time, but we have no hesitation recommending every school should consider an Interactive LED screen to replace an existing projector or for any new classrooms. Please contact us to discuss which Interactive LED will be suitable for your school.