SMART boards are good in small group or conference setting.  However, if
you are looking at a classroom setting, a SMART Sympodium with a wall
mounted screen will work better.  Contents on the SMARTboard can be blocked
by you when you are operating and standing infront of it, whereas you will
be operating on the interactive panel mounted on a podium away from the
screen in the case of a Sympodium.  Both products come with a pen stylus
that either serves as a pen (multicolors, eraser, highlighter) or a
mouse.  Adding a KeySpan remote will also allow your faculty to operate the
Sympodium panel away from the panel.  This remote system is great for those
who like to walk around while they teach.  The SMART Notebook is a great
feature--it takes the place of a chalkboard and also allows you to capture
your annotations without messing up your original slides.

Go to for product and vendor info.  Their vendors are
organized and restricted by geographic areas, so I can't recommend ours to
you.  You can also apply to their SMARTer Kids foundation grant for product
discount.  This grant will allow your vendor of choice to give you the best
rate possible.

The Hitachi Star panel is another good competitive interactive panel system
to check out.  We installed 38 SMART classrooms on our campus.  Other
equipment to complement the system typically includes a computer, a data
video projector, a DVD/VCR player, a sound system, and a visual
presenter.  The total set up costs around $12,000 - 14,000 (depending on
size of data projector, screen, visual presenter, sound system, etc), with
the Sympodium panel plus podium running around $6000-$7000 depending on
quantity, shipping costs, and podium selected.

The disadvantages to the Sympodium is they tend to intimate the faculty but
once they figure out that it is not as complicated as it looks, they LOVE
it!  Another disadvantage is the long and complicated installation
process.  If you plan on installing more than one SMART classroom, I highly
recommend standardizing the equipment/system for ease of training and usage.

At 03:43 PM 10/1/2004, you wrote:
>Does anyone have experience with Smart Boards and would recommend a
>particular brand/model or company or specifications or what to look for in
>terms of features?
>Mike McIntyre
>Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design
>273 E. Erie Street
>Milwaukee, WI  53202
>414 847-3216
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