Interactive whiteboard

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Whiteboard use on a media day (2011)

An interactive whiteboard ( IWB ) or an interactive whiteboard is an interactive digital board which is connected to a computer. With the help of a projector , the screen content to be displayed is projected onto the white surface of the whiteboard. Alternatively, a large monitor with a touch-sensitive surface can also be used (touch monitor). The whiteboard is therefore primarily a large screen. In addition, the whiteboard is usually used to control the computer - depending on the model, by finger pressure or with a wireless pen. In inexpensive versions, the operation and writing takes place directly on the computer or with the help of input devices such as graphics tablets , the whiteboard itself then has no sensors.

Some specific vendor product names (such as ActivBoard or Smartboard ) are used as generic names for interactive whiteboards in general.

Use in teaching

Whiteboard, used for presentation purposes

The most widespread use of interactive whiteboards is as a modern blackboard in the classroom. According to a study presented at the beginning of 2008, there are around 26,000 whiteboards in German schools and around 500,000 whiteboards in British schools. More than 60 percent of the schools there use digital whiteboards in their lessons.

With an interactive whiteboard, handwritten additions can be placed over an image displayed by the computer. Similar to PowerPoint presentations, levels can be defined that are gradually displayed. The dynamic integration of media (video files, music clips, content from the Internet) into the whiteboard is also possible without the need for a new device. So z. For example, a worksheet can be placed under a visualizer and the notes added with the interactive whiteboard.

Interactive whiteboards make it possible to save a developed blackboard image and use it in a later lesson or make it available to the students as learning materials.

Many manufacturers sell a learning platform together with their digital whiteboards , which is intended to support writing on the blackboard, the integration of various elements, but also the exchange of data with students and their home work. Textbook and school atlas publishers are now increasingly selling their own whiteboard offers.


Inexpensive versions of an interactive whiteboard are based, for example, on the Nintendo Wii remote unit or use a graphics tablet to enter text or operate the computer.

For some years now, tablet computers with a board-sized LC screen and touch screen have also been on the market. Displays are offered with a luminance of 430  cd per , and Full HD resolution is achieved up to a screen diagonal of 207.18  cm (82 inches). In this way, a good contrast is achieved with relatively low energy consumption (compared to a projector), even in a bright environment.


The following points are seen as disadvantages of interactive whiteboards compared to conventional blackboards or classic whiteboards in school lessons:

  • Higher initial equipment costs
  • Less visible work surface
  • older projector-based systems only achieve significantly poorer writing ability by hand (responsiveness and resolution compared to writing on a chalk board)
  • Projector-based systems: poor legibility with high brightness, therefore frequent need to darken the room with consequences for the concentration of the students (permanent darkening of the rooms is not permitted at the workplace )
  • Risk of loss or theft of the pens (if only the manufacturer's special pens can be used)
  • Costs of necessary training on special software
  • Lessons missed due to technical problems
  • Projector-based systems: costs for replacing the projector lamp (when used as a blackboard replacement approx. Every 0.5 - 3 years with an annual 2,000–4,000 operating hours)
  • Additional energy costs (with approx. 200 W for LED displays and 500–800 W for projectors, the power requirement is in the order of magnitude of room lighting, i.e. the costs for electrical energy increase)
  • CO 2 emissions (a school without its own PV system with 40 rooms produces up to 70 kg of CO 2 per class day if the blackboards are replaced by interactive whiteboards, i.e. up to approx. 14 tons of CO 2 per year)
  • Health hazard from projector lamps containing mercury
  • Costs and environmental consequences of disposing of old electronic devices
  • Maintenance costs (software updates, licenses, etc.)
  • Geometry tools (set square, ruler, compass) can sometimes only be used virtually

Criteria for using interactive whiteboards

Roman Herzog gives an autograph on an interactive board

Basically, at least the stand that can be reached with a chalkboard / overhead must be secured. For the non-interactive part of the lesson, it is advisable to have a chalk board or a normal whiteboard.

  1. Simple blackboard software - for both teachers and students , so that frontal teaching of the teacher is not in the foreground.
  2. Continuity Which blackboard software is used in the other schools - so that the pupils and teachers do not have to change when they change schools.
  3. Start time - start of the lesson by switching on the board and the projector itself is ready for use very quickly. The lead time before the actual lesson can begin, however, depends on how long the computer in use needs to start up and be ready for use.
  4. The size of the interactive board (writing surface) should keep up with the size of a standard chalk board . A screen diagonal of 240 cm (94 inches) should already be with the projector, with the LED display 165 cm in daylight and sunshine is enough for 8 m viewing distance.
  5. Legibility from a greater distance must correspond to the good contrast ratio of a chalk board, legibility in sunlight must be given. The room shouldn't have to be darkened. The students should be able to do other learning activities in parallel. The shadow cast should be reduced as much as possible using a close-range projector. In addition, the projector should be as quiet as possible (fan noise).
  6. Calibrate - The board should not need to be calibrated every time before use and should be ready for use quickly.
  7. Height adjustability - It ensures that people of different sizes can comfortably use the interactive whiteboard. If the projector is mounted on the board, the image moves with it. However, this has the disadvantage that the picture wobbles.
  8. Document camera - The camera should be able to be operated via a board (or teacher's PC) and should have a high resolution (at least 2 megapixels) so that the originals can also be photographed / scanned.
  9. Multi-touch - It should be possible to write with several pens at the same time, like a chalkboard.
  10. Availability - If a school is not fully equipped with electronic whiteboards, whiteboards should still be available regularly.


As a rule, the manufacturers of the interactive whiteboards provide software, the costs and license conditions differ considerably. There is also free software for whiteboards such as B. the Open-Sankoré supported by the French government or the successor version OpenBoard , numerous graphics programs can also be used to display virtual boards.

For the use of interactive whiteboards in school lessons, many school book publishers now offer specially developed blackboard pictures and work materials for teachers that are tailored to the respective textbooks.

Current media didactic research

At the University of Göttingen , the media didactic concept “ digital school bench ” has been developed since 2001 , the focus of which is the use of interactive whiteboards in schools.


  • Christian Kohls: My SMART Board. The practical handbook for successful use in the classroom. 2nd Edition. KIDS interactive, Erfurt 2011, ISBN 978-3-9814295-0-3 .
  • Peter Kürsteiner, Jürgen Schlieszeit: Interactive whiteboards. The method book for trainers, lecturers and managers. Beltz, Weinheim 2011, ISBN 978-3-407-36500-2 .
  • Stefan Aufenanger , Petra Bauer u. a .: Main topic: Interactive whiteboards. In: Computer + Lessons. Learning and teaching with digital media , No. 78/2010, ISSN  0941-519X .
  • Jürgen Schlieszeit: Teaching with whiteboards. Use the new medium sensibly . Beltz, Weinheim 2011, ISBN 978-3-407-62747-6 .

Web links

Commons : Interactive Whiteboards  - collection of images, videos and audio files

For school quality development (as of August 25, 2011)

Individual evidence

  1. Studi: Interactive whiteboards . In: Federal Environment Agency . August 6, 2013 ( [accessed October 15, 2018]).
  2. Textbook publishers still do not use new media in the classroom enough. (No longer available online.) TeachersNews, Aug 25, 2008, archived from the original on June 7, 2009 ; Retrieved June 4, 2009 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  3. wiimatoe after Johnny Chung Lee (PDF)
  4. Provider example (PDF)
  5. Samsung Digital Signage DM82E-BR LED display. Samsung DE, accessed October 19, 2016 .