Smart Boards Increase Individual Productivity, Too

Nov 07, 2016

I’ve been following the deployment and use of smart white boards within enterprises and schools for the past several years with great interest. I first became aware of the technology about five years ago, when my daughter’s elementary school bought a few of the boards for select classrooms, then asked parents for donations to purchase more almost immediately. The tools were a hit with students and teachers alike, and the school wanted to extend the benefits to every classroom in the building. Being able to save work done in class to a PC, and to share it with students and parents at home, was a game changer for these lucky kids, and the community quickly stepped up and raised the money needed to ensure everyone could have a productive time in and out of the classroom.

I’ve also seen them in use in some of the business clients I work with—in conference rooms and huddle spaces, and even a few large executive offices. Again, the benefits are clear: the ability to share work product within and across distributed teams, knowing that all the information produced on the boards is easily saved, archived, and shared for later use.

Then, this fall, I encountered a new problem around work and collaboration. My 14-year-old son is taking his math classes online, and he wanted a way to easily share his work with his professor, who lives 1500 miles away. Not only that, but my son doesn’t like (OK, cannot stand) the physical act of writing with a pen or pencil on paper. He’s been using a standard whiteboard for years, because the smooth feel of the pen across the surface—as well as the ease with which he can erase and add new data—meet all his calculation needs. But he wasn’t able to save, store, and share his work in a clear and effective manner.

Until now. Today, he is using the kapp 42 board from SMART Technologies. It’s small enough that it fits easily in his room and big enough that he has plenty of space for problem solving with all his notations. And best of all, he can share the content with his professor; he just downloads it to his phone app and the professor sees it in real time.

I, too, am starting to take advantage of the tool. Most of my work is easily shared using word processing and other applications. But one business process stymies me: when I need to collaborate with our designers on images for white papers and presentations. I’m no artist, and I’m not going to use a fancy CAD program, or even something relatively simple like Photoshop or Illustrator. Nope, I need to sketch out my pathetic stick figures and geometric shapes on a blank sheet, and then hope our crack designers can make them look good in real life. Until now, that has meant taking pictures of my drawings and sending them over. But today, I can use the kapp board to brainstorm my ideas, easily erasing and adding as needed, and then instantly share them with the pros on our design staff. It’s a simple solution to a tricky problem, and I love it.

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Melanie Turek


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