SMART has recently launched a new entry-level interactive touchscreen called the SMART Board MX Series, to help address tightening budgets in the education sector. Although it provides a sound solution for schools, it’s important schools consider the details before making this vital decision.
One of the key benefits of interactive touchscreens over the old interactive whiteboards is their more accurate touch function. The latest touch technology allows multiple users to engage at the same time, writing, drawing and using accurately as if on paper. Inferior performance here is likely to mean the tool is under-utilised or even left unused.
The SMART Board MX Series uses infra-red touch technology, originally pioneered in 2010. The more entry-level touchscreens still tend to use this lower-performance technology due it being lower cost. For many reasons though, infra-red technology has been superseded several times.
The SMART Board 6000 Series uses the more advanced, accurate DViT technology and the SMART Board 7000 Series benefits from HyPr Touch, a form on InGlass technology.
Vulnerability to Environmental Factors
One of the main reasons this older technology performs less well is its susceptibility to dust, ambient light and other environmental factors. This is due to the larger bezel which has a greater surface area, meaning the infra-red beams spread over the surface of the screen are more prone to disturbance.
This can, of course, disrupt teaching, and again means that the touch function may be used less and perhaps not at all. This affects teaching and learning.
Many of our customers have reported this to us in the past, regarding it as a fault on their screens which were purchased when infra-red technology was most common. After we explained it is, in fact, a limitation of the technology, most have since started the process of upgrading their interactive technology.
Loss of collaboration tools with Pen ID
SMART’s pioneering Pen ID™ technology is one of the most advanced in the marketplace, yet it is not part of the MX Series specification. Compared with the SMART Board 6000 and 7000 Series, it means users are unable to write in two different colours at the same time, a limitation of the MX Series for several reasons.
From a learning perspective, for example, it means teachers are unable to identify comprehension gaps and differences in learning outcomes between two pupils when writing on the screen. And from a teaching perspective, being able to show workings out vs answer, object vs label or correct vs incorrect is a powerful tool. This benefit is not possible on the SMART Board MX Series or the majority of other entry-level interactive touchscreens.
The benefits of Presence Detection, such as supporting your school’s green credentials
SMART was key in bringing this powerful technology into the mainstream, however, chose not to provide it on their new entry-level MX Series. In a nutshell, it means there is a movement sensor on the front of the screen which allows it to automatically switch off at the end of class or the end of the day. This means lower power consumption; good for electricity bills and also of course good for a school’s environmental credentials.
Inclusion of the powerful SMART Learning Suite software
The great news is the SMART Board MX Series includes a licence for SMART Learning Suite. Supported and developed by a global team of education specialists, the latest SMART Learning Suite educational software brings a wealth of tools, options and experiences to the classroom. Click here for more information, including 5 Reasons why schools benefit from using it.
When making decisions on the procurement of your school’s most important teaching tool, it’s vital the choice is made with teaching and learning outcomes at the front of mind. This is after all what we’re all here for! Making cost efficiencies is of course often necessary, but these must be carefully considered in the framework of teaching and learning.
As a SMART Platinum Partner and a leading supplier of SMART in the UK, it’s our belief that the SMART Board MX Series brings less value to the classroom compared to other SMART ranges. Those schools seeking cost savings can consider other options such as our Technology Lease scheme, and our specialist team are always available to discuss this and other options.
In the meantime, click here to see a comparison chart on the SMART website.