Smart boards, Promethean Active Boards, Polyvision Eno boards, and who knows how many others are making their ways into classrooms in almost every school district in America, and beyond, and they ain’t cheap.
The average board costs about $1000 and requires another $500 projector to go with it. Then you have install / maintenance / training costs on top of everything else. Things can get pricey really fast.
But what do they actually do? And how can we use them for ministry and church?
Here are a few thoughts:
You connect this device to your computer and a projector. The image from your computer is then projected onto a board and is able to be manipulated using a stylus, pen, or in some cases, a finger by one or multiple users. Some makers, like Smart and Promethean, make a tablet-like device which allows the presenter to make changes to what their audience sees projected on the board from the opposite side of the room.
As I stated before, they have quickly become the staple of the American classroom (at least in Ohio…). I have recently began to wonder why the Church has not embraced this technology.
In my personal opinion, I do not think an Interactive Whiteboard would work in a large church on Sunday morning. Maybe you can prove me wrong in the comments by telling me your ideas.
However, I do believe these boards could be a huge asset to Sunday school classes and Bible studies. Instead of just telling a story to our kids, we could allow them to interact with it by letting them work an activity on the whiteboard. They could do simple things like trace the path from Egypt to Israel on a map so the entire class could see or try and drag and drop the books of the Bible in order.
This technology is not just for kids either. Pastors, IT staff and other teams could use them at meetings to help in cooperative, strategic planning. If your church offers classes, the instructor would be empowered with a strong, pedagogic device.
Think Outside the Computer?
We have come to expect computers to do a lot, but rarely put them to the test. Our “power users” are often the ones who make video’s and graphic arts. In reality, most of our computers are used for Excel and surfing for LoL Cats. A lot of this comes from simply not knowing what to do with our expensive little black boxes.
I think the peripheral is starting to become just as important as the CPU it controls. An Interactive Whiteboard might be just the thing you need to put in your users hands to unlock their creativity and gifting.
Are you using a Whiteboard in your church (or place of work)? How so? What has the feedback been?