Learning Resources graciously sent me a Now!Board to test out and review, and they are also giving away a $100 gift card to one lucky reader!
In the past, I hesitated to write product reviews because I didn’t want readers to feel like I’m posting advertisements. However, I realized that when I am planning to make a purchase, I go online to read reviews of the product first. So, I decided to give it a try… besides, I was excited about trying out the NowBoard.
What is Now! Board?
NowBoard is a device that turns any flat surface (whiteboard, wall, etc.) into an interactive whiteboard. It works with your computer projector. The kit includes a special camera, software, stylus, wand, USB cord, and carrying case. It’s surprisingly small and portable, so it can be shared among other classrooms. The cost of the NowBoard is $499, which is about half the price of a regular interactive whiteboard.
What Does Set-Up Involve
To set up the NowBoard, you first need to have the software installed on your computer and a computer projector hooked up to your computer. Hook the USB cord from the camera to the computer, open the NowBoard program, and follow the on-screen directions to calibrate the board. This involves placing the stylus on certain points around the board or wall. Anytime the camera is moved, you will need to calibrate the board again, but it’s a pretty quick process. The process gets quicker after you have done it a few times. I calibrated it a few times while the children watched, and they made it into a game by telling me where to find the “cross”. It pops up in various locations around the board for you to touch with the stylus, and I would pretend I couldn’t find it. They thought it was fun watching me chase the “cross” around the board. After it is calibrated, you’re ready to go. The process is basically hook up and calibrate.
Things to Consider
The surface you project on needs to be flat. Cinder block wall would not work well, but a smooth wall or a regular whiteboard will. You will need to have a space to set up the NowBoard camera 12 inches behind the projector. The projector in my room is installed on the ceiling, and I set the camera on a shelf behind our Large Group carpet, and it worked out fine. Because of the way my classroom is set up, I needed to purchase a 10-foot USB extension cord to connect to the 6-foot cord that was provided. If possible, find a place to sit the camera where it won’t get bumped by the children because if the camera is moved, it has to be calibrated again. This was a challenge in my room of active 4-year-olds, especially with the cord stretched out so far. In my classroom, if I calibrated it before the children came in the room, they were likely to move the camera, so it worked better to have the kids seated first, then calibrate it while they watch and “help”.
Ways to Use the NowBoard
I had my class use websites such as Starfall.com in a large group setting.
We drew and wrote letters on the blank page on the NowBoard software.
I made learning activities with PowerPoint. If PowerPoint is used in edit mode (not as a slideshow), children can move clipart around the screen. I made these two games below where children classified the animals that live on a farm, and another where children sorted the pictures by beginning sound.
To learn more about the NowBoard…
One advantage of “liking” the NowBoard Facebook page is to keep up with grants and giveaways that are posted around the Internet.
You can enter for a chance to win a $100 gift card from Learning Resources. Just enter your information in the Rafflecopter below and comment on this post. Ends at midnight on Friday, May 4, 2012!
Disclosure: I received a pre-production sample of the Now!Board to review, I was not compensated in any other way. All opinions are 100% my own.