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Ten Whiteboard Collaboration Tactics to Try Today

September 14, 2017

Some companies have the idea that a whiteboard fits in an extruded aluminum frame and rolls into a meeting venue for use with dry erase markers and may be surprised at the features and functionality available through the technologically advanced world of its interactive descendants. These large display boards still offer surfaces that accept markers, but now have the ability to turn fingers into writing instruments in order to save what is written in digital form. Businesses and educational organizations can use these unique tools in order to gain productivity, creativity and collaboration benefits using many tactics:

  • Share Meeting Content – Interactive whiteboards save or export the content they display and the annotations added to them. They create common and familiar file types, including PDFs, PowerPoint documents, HTML documents and JPEG graphics. Instead of producing printed handouts for distribution after a meeting, the whiteboard can be scheduled to email copies directly to participants, post them on a website, or make them available for download. When a printer is connected to a whiteboard's host computer, handouts that show presenter annotations can be printed.
  • Write, Annotate, Transcribe – Whether a whiteboard is used in order to display content that has been prepared in advance or live content is being created as the meeting progresses, interactive whiteboards support and capture what is written and drawn. Depending on the whiteboard technology used, users can write with an electromagnetic pen or wireless stylus—included with the whiteboard itself—or use fingers as a writing instrument. As graphics or multimedia programming is presented, hosts can pause for annotations or invite audience members to the front in order to write on the board. The boards can also incorporate handwriting recognition technology in order to translate the written words into live text. With sizes that top out at more than 8-foot diagonal measurements, these screens can accommodate large presentation and meeting venues.

  • Connection Flexibility – Interactive whiteboards connect to a host computer using a USB port or a wireless module. Although the USB specification limits the distance between computer and whiteboard to the maximum length of a cable, whiteboards with optional or standard wireless support can communicate at better distances over a Bluetooth radio-frequency connection. Whether using a Mac, a Windows PC, or a Linux-based computer, there are interactive whiteboards that support each operating system. With a projector connected to a computer or on a whiteboard that includes projection capabilities, it becomes a huge annotatable display screen.

  • Software OptionsInteractive whiteboards come with software that supports their standard or optional functions, including handwriting recognition, screen capture of both projected and written material, screen-sharing with remote participants, and conversion of session content into saved files. They make it possible to run and control standard computer software in front of a group, extending their annotation control to the document content displayed and capturing the notes and markings added to prepared documents. With support for standard Web browsers, online content can be incorporated into the materials presented.

For educational applications, some unique tactics for classrooms include:

  • Google Earth – Once Google Earth is installed, it can be beneficial not only during geography lessons, but in almost every class. Students can explore the world; find rare plants and animals; discuss different cultures, civilizations, languages, types of architecture, and types of design; tour museums; play games; and more. This makes class a lot more interesting than it used to be, and since it is interactive, students will be more involved and learn more.

  • Team Competitions – Teachers have to remember that fun is an essential attribute of a successful lesson in the eyes of their students. Technologies like Kinect and Wii provide students the chance to have fun and learn simultaneously while using physical response techniques. Teachers can divide a group of students into teams and have them compete against each other in a game needing both their knowledge and cunning. It builds team spirit and competitiveness—two skills not to be underestimated in the adult world.

  • Teach Students Basic Image, Sound, and Video Editing – With a variety of software available, like Google+’s Photos, students can edit, resize, and enhance photos. This can be an enjoyable way to lead young people into the field of graphic editing. The same can be done with sound and movies. Teachers can show the group how to change the tone of someone’s voice or add special effects to a video and then let students proceed with that knowledge in mind. This may result in the next generation of Hollywood directors.

  • Record Students – Some whiteboards come with a camera and a sound system. This feature can be used in order to record students’ presentations, speeches, and projects. Teachers can use this technique in order to offer constructive criticism.

  • Collaborate – Interactive whiteboards allow students to interact with each other and with the teacher. Students can work together on a project, with different parts created by different students, in front of the class. Not only will this engage the group, but also provide them with the visible results of their efforts, preparing them for the world of business.

  • Recap of a Field Trip – Students and teachers can bring their photos and videos taken during a field trip, organize them, and create a fun and educational summary of their experience. This can make students see that everything that they learned had a purpose and was valuable—plus, it provides them unforgettable memories.

Value-added resellers (VARs) should actively address these whiteboard collaboration tactics with businesses and educational organizations in order to create a wealth of information for their clients. VARs, in turn, will become trusted advisors and will earn revenue from hardware, software, and maintenance and may find this to be a fun product to sell.

As a VAR, what are your favorite uses of interactive whiteboards? Are there additional whiteboard collaboration tactics that should be discussed in this forum? Please comment below.