Here is a look at the questions Forsyth County, Ga., asked during its search for interactive whiteboards:

  • What is the standard warranty? Is it repaired on site or sent back? At whose cost? What is the turnaround time?

  • How can the board be damaged? What happens if it is punctured or scratched? What is the replacement cost? Can it be resurfaced? How?

  • How does the board function–i.e., electronic sensors, radio frequency, pressure sensitive, etc.?

  • Can it be used with dry erase markers? How easily and effectively is it cleaned? What happens if a permanent marker is used?

  • Is reflection or glare an issue?

  • Is documentation clear and easy to understand? Is there a “Quick-Start” guide? Printed documentation? Online help files?

  • Is the calibration process easy? How often is it required?

  • Is a stylus required? Is it small-hand friendly? Is it durable? What kind of batteries does it require, and how long do they last? What is the replacement cost?

  • How do you right-click? Can you use the stylus like a mouse with left and right-click capabilities, or must you use the toolbar or control panel?

  • Is the Toolbar/Control Panel intuitive and easy to use? Can it be customized? Can its location be moved to different parts of the screen for easier access by short or tall users?

  • How do you change the format of your annotation pen? (I.e., color, thickness, transparency)

  • Is there a “Reveal” function to cover and reveal parts of the display? Can the transparency be adjusted?

  • What curriculum resources or instructional support is available?

  • What’s included in the way of pre-made activities and manipulatives? Who created them, and how is the quality? Base 10 blocks? Grids? Rulers? Clocks? Money? Thermometer? Maps?

  • Do the activities and/or gallery have a robust search feature?

  • Can the user add to the activity, template, or gallery resources? If the user adds to the activities or gallery, will his or her contribution be included in searches?

  • Can activities be correlated to and saved by state standards? Searched by state standards?

  • Can saved files, templates, presentations, etc., be shared with other users easily over a network? How?

  • Is included instructional software licensed for use on other computers? How many? Can it be used without the board? For student use at home?

  • What formats are available for users to save, export, and share documents and activities? (HTML, Word, PowerPoint, etc.)

  • How easily can the user import or use existing lessons or presentations? How? What formats?

  • Is there any software that is not compatible?

  • Is there handwriting recognition?

  • Is it accurate? Easy to use? Does it recognize shapes and numbers? Can it be used in any application, or just certain ones?

  • Is there an audio capture feature, and how does it work?

  • Can a series of on-screen steps or processes be recorded and saved for later playback?

  • What can be printed, and how?

  • How does Zoom function? Is pixilation an issue? Can you annotate while zoomed?

  • Can you select and move one word from a sentence? How do you change color or format?

  • If you are pasting an imported object, can you see its outline or location before you paste?

  • How do you reset or clear the page? Does it have an undo feature that you can back up with, keystroke by keystroke? How many steps back?

  • Is there a floating keyboard? Calculator? Can they be resized?

  • Can a grid be overlaid? Size changed? Is a Snap feature available?

  • Is a ruler available? Can it be zoomed? Rotated? Used to draw a line? Is there a protractor available? Can it be rotated? Used to measure an angle?

  • Are there other manipulatives that can be overlaid on the display? What? Can they overlay on any application, like Word or PowerPoint, or only in the board’s software? How often would they be used?

  • Is a voting response system available? How easy is it to set up? Can it be utilized separately from the board?

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