[Athen] smart board & mimio

Wink Harner wink.harner at mcmail.maricopa.edu
Wed Feb 20 07:56:39 PST 2008

Dear Athenites,

An apology to all: in my post yesterday, not only did I not answer the question
properly (the media I saw in my head was NOT what I described), and I confused
everyone! Shelley pointed out my glitch (Thanks, Shelley). Shelley, BTW,
is a real wizard at this technology and would be a good resource for all
of us to draw on. And Norm Coombs posted how inaccessible all of this technology
is to people who are blind. I admit my answer was really aimed at visually
impaired, which I think was Dave's original question, and my response was
not inclusive. To all, I apologize.

I had surgery to repair a torn tendon last week and it is apparent to me
that my usually snappy wit was impaired! So, with a clear(er) head, I did
some research, and am offering a more inclusive response. I hope. So here
is a Reader's Digest Condensed response:

With a SMARTBOARD, a stand-alone whiteboard which is interactive, you can
write on it, project POWERPOINT presentations and handwriting can be converted
to typed text. Share files with linked computers. Use screen reader(s), export
to refreshable Braille or export to Duxbury for hardcopy Braille output.
Use optional SMART Recorder to make audio recordings of everything done on
the SMART Board interactive whiteboard. With a microphone feed to the computer,
you can even record audio in sync with on-screen actions (truly "audio-visual!").
The recorder produces standard AVI files that can be viewed with SMART Video
Player or Windows Media Player. There also is a neat add on of Finale software
which would make the SMARTBOARD a virtual conductor's score for the classroom.
Finale can extract separate instrumental parts and export for print. I don't
know if Finale works with a music brailling system, but be assured by tomorrow
I will know!

Mimio, on the other hand, uses infrared & ultrasound technology to capture
what is written on any standard whiteboard. The markers are inserted into
a stylus which has an infrared/ultrasound broadcast and a screen capture
device (about 4" by 2') which attaches vertically to the side of the whiteboard
and whatever is written with the marker/stylus is captured by the mimio device.
There is a handwriting recognition plug-in for this which will convert to
text. Don't know how accurate the conversion is. Each screen can be saved
as a JPEG (TIFF or GIF) file, broadcast to a whole classroom full of computers,
saved, etc. Using a product such as Image Converter Plus (appx. $49), Universal
Document Converter ($69) and 'Convert Image to PDF' from Softinterface Inc.
(free download), the JPEG, TIFF or GIF files can be converted to PDF and
a screen reader can be used. If the conversion is to text, again there is
a choice of refreshable Braille or hardcopy Braille. I do not know how easy
it would be to convert math, but with MathType and MathSpeak software, it
would be a worthy experiment to find out!

Hope this is helpful, more inclusive and not too confusing!


Ms. Wink Harner
Disability Resources & Services
Mesa Community College
Mesa AZ


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