A Free Alternative to Smartboards: Interwrite Technology
Photo: A student uses a wireless Interwrite pad/pen to help make his PowerPoint interactive.
Have you wanted a Smartboard but can't afford the price-tag or the space it takes up? Well, consider an Interwrite download, as it can do almost everything a Smartboard can with one quick (and free) download. With a wireless mouse and a clipboard, you are good to go. As for me, I won an Interwrite pad, making it one of my favorite tools in the classroom.
No More Dirty Whiteboards!
Photo: You can do everything on your TV or projector. With less space than a Smartboard.
Because I teach in a portable, we are not allowed to have projectors mounted on the ceiling and we can not have a Smartboard installed. This was sad news to me, but my technology coordinator, Mary, helped solved my technology dilemma lickety-quick. She installed Interwrite on my main computer for free, which hooks up to our large television. From here, she ordered an Interwrite pad for me (about 300 dollars). The pad is really a great resource, but a wireless mouse and a clipboard works just as well. You can write notes on your "board" anywhere around the room. This makes it easy to continue writing notes on the board while you make your presence known by an off-task student. If you are not familiar with Interwrite, here are its features:
~ You can use your television screen like a whiteboard, using a keyboard and mouse or an Interwrite pad. This includes pens, markers, highlighter, and an on-screen keyboard, to name just a few.
~ With the program open you can "write on" and save notes made on Internet pages you visit together. This is really helpful when a student is absent and an Internet site was used for the lesson. Highlighting important areas helps catch students up quickly.
~ You can create multiple pages of notes and Internet pages and go back and forth with ease. Again, you can save these and return to them later.I particularly enjoy this when we are working with an online textbook.
~ Interwrite comes with a large photo gallery, including interactive tools. For example, you can import an interactive protractor to show the various degrees.
~ With the Interwrite pad, you can post a question on the board/TV and hand an Interwrite pad to a student. The student can write the answer from his/her seat with ease. It is light and easy to use.
~ Using the tools on the side, you can "work" the computer as if you were sitting in front of it with the keyboard with a mouse in hand.
~ You can write notes anywhere in the room, which allows you to walk around while teaching. I do not like having my back turned while teaching. Interwrite easily solves this.
Photo: You can't do this on a whiteboard! I quickly took a photo from our porch. I uploaded it and wrote this question on the "board". I could then hand of the pad for a student to write the answer on the photo. By the way, wispy clouds like this are called Cirrus.
Photo: Here is an example of one of the photo gallery pictures. You can import your photos as well (like above).
The Interwrite program is FREE! You don't need the pad, but I love it with all my heart. You can simply use a good wireless mouse on a clipboard to make this a totally free alternative.
The Interwrite pad was purchased for 300.00. I was fortunate enough to win it through a web design contest. And I was lucky enough to win a projector the year before under the same contest, so I often pair the two together. Interwrite can be downloaded at the following site: