Normally the color of things makes no difference. There is at least one exception.
When it comes to the stylus for the Eno board from Polyvision, color appears to matter greatly. To the gang at Polyvision, if you are reading this, I want the BLUE stylus back.
Over the past few years I have integrated almost 20 Eno boards into various classrooms throughout my district. Each of these boards shipped with the blue stylus, which performed without any issues.
Since the beginning of this school year, I have brought in over 100 more Eno boards, with plans on installing over 300 more within the next few weeks. Apparently, at some point, Polyvision switched to the new “black” stylus. Each of the new boards this year has included this new stylus.
For the most part, the new black stylus performs pretty well. I have received an extraordinary number of complaints about the new stylus though. Almost immediately after rolling out the new stylus, the teachers began to complain about battery life. Literally within hours of beginning to use the new black stylus, teachers reported they needed a new battery.
Normally, the lithium AAA battery that ships with the Eno stylus will last a teacher weeks or even months, depending on usage. The Polyvision driver includes a mechanism for alerting users to a “low battery” to allow them time to replace the battery before it completely runs out (usually right in the middle of a lesson that is being observed by an administrator.) It turns out the batteries are fine. There appears to be issues which cause the warning to pop up prematurely.
I must not be alone with this issue as Polyvision has recently provided an updated driver which turns off this “low battery warning.” While this “fix” will prevent the warning from appearing and will likely decrease the number of requests for unnecessary battery replacements, it does not really address the problem. It is sort of like placing a piece of black tape over the check engine light that appears on your car’s dashboard. The problem isn’t really fixed, but as long as you don’t see that annoying light you don’t feel compelled to do anything about it.
Now I will be receiving panic calls from teachers when their stylus’ battery really is dead, since they no longer receive a warning ahead of time. When the battery is dead, the teachers will be in a jam. They cannot use the Eno board without a stylus.
I want to be very clear here. I love the Eno boards. Even more importantly, the teachers who have received their Eno boards love them too. The boards are extremely durable and versatile. Teachers use them as interactive white boards, dry erase boards and magnetic boards.
The teachers and their students love the easy to use board tools that are included. The teachers that have taken the next step and are using the included RM Easiteach software, are very impressed. The only complaint we have is with the new black stylus.
Polyvision please bring back the “blue stylus.”
UPDATE ON APPLE MACBOOK PRO ISSUES
It all comes down to finding the right person to get the job done.
Kudos to the Apple Professional Services Team who really stepped up on this. Once the problem with our users losing Admin rights on their local Macbook Pro when they left our network made to a high level “badged” Apple Engineer, it was resolved very quickly.
This was resolved just in time for us to continue prepping the remaining 600+ Macbook Pro units for distribution on September 1st.
PROGRESS CONTINUES WITH POLYVISION ENO INTERACTIVE WHITEBOARDS IMPLEMENTATION
Four more eno boards have arrived. We hope to have them in place for the start of the new school year.
The new administration has also expressed an interest in quickly picking up where we left off with the plan to convert all 500+ classrooms to intelligent classrooms with new laptops, wall mounted projectors, eno interactive whiteboards and sound system.
Hopefully we are back on the road to progress.
Sometimes we get diverted from our plans and the task we’ve set out for ourselves. C’est la vie.
In some instances, slowing down or stopping entirely, offers a tremendous opportunity to (re)evaluate things. Though often unanticipated and/or unwanted, this can sometimes be a very good thing.
Things have slowed down but not stopped. The large Apple/Mac implementation is taking place, but just at a slower pace than expected. New iMac labs will be built and eventually all professional staff members should be receiving new Macbook Pro laptop computers.
As far as outfitting all classrooms with a projector and interactive whiteboard, I am still optimistic this will happen, but cannot determine a time frame for this project. I remain a huge fan of the eno boards from Polyvision and am looking forward to the time we get to implement them to the masses.
Often, there are circumstances beyond our control and part of being a professional is our ability to adapt. Slow and steady always wins the race.
“Yesterday’s over my shoulder so I can’t look back for too long, there’s just too much to see waiting in front of me and I know that I just can’t go wrong.” …JB
Though it seems like forever, it has really been 3 years in the making.
My eno bid specification was made available to vendors on 02-Feb-2010. The voters first approved the initiative at the end of 2007. Due to a variety of obstacles, including many personnel changes, it has taken far too long to get to this point. That said, I am once again very excited and optimistic about the project.
While the project is a multi-million dollar technology initiative, one of the largest parts is the addition of the eno boards and projectors. After much research and leg work, we are finally committing to outfitting 518 classrooms with eno interactive boards, wall mounted projectors and sound systems.
As part of unconnected project, at about the same time, we are also looking to provide every teacher with a Macbook Pro notebook computer to connect to the new boards and projectors.
If all goes well, my teachers will be very happy and their classrooms nicely outfitted by the end of April.
More to come.
Slow and steady seems to be the way things are moving on this project.
Slow because there are many changes that keep popping up. Steady, because I remain committed to getting this project underway soon.
The slowdown has nothing to do with any concerns about the eno boards. Just the opposite actually. There have been no concerns or questions about my decision to go with the less familiar, but stellar product from Polyvision. Once I explain the durability and ease of use, there remain no questions.
At this point, the delays center around the decision to switch from the planned ceiling mounted projectors in every room, to a wall mounted solution instead.
In thinking about it, the wall mounted option really does seem a better way to go for a variety of reasons. The short throw lens of a wall mounted projector will reduce the shadow given off by the user standing in front of the board. The mount of wiring for video and audio is also reduced.
If there are concerns about the strength of the drop ceilings or if the ceilings above the tiles is made of plaster, there could be a lot of problems during the installation.
We have settled in on a well-priced, high quality projector from Mitsubishi to compliment the eno board and sound solution in each of our 500+ rooms.
At this point, our planned “Intelligent Classroom” will consist of the following:
- Polyvision 78″ Eno NextGen Whiteboard
- Mitsubishi 500 U – STXGA 200 Lumens Short Throw Projector
- Mitsubishi Short Throw Projector Wall Mount
- The Audio Enhancements SA-16 Kit Sound Solution consisting f an amplifier (with inputs for external sources, wall mount speakers and the ability to include an add-on for a teacher microphone.The typical desktop computer speakers are just not adequate for a classroom of up to 30 students.
- Aten 2 port video splitter and booster
This will improve the signal to the projector from some of our older PC’s and allow for the image to be simultaneously displayed on the computer monitor and the projector. Laptop computers will not need this.
- Assorted audio and video and cables.
We have rolled out the first 15 of our potential 500+ eno interactive whiteboards from Polyvision. To date all is going extremely well. We now have boards in various classrooms throughout the district from 1st grade through high school. Though the boards were installed as recently as late August and early September, they were widely used on the very first day of school.
While acknowledging a learning curve that would be associated with any new product, all feedback from teachers using the boards has been extremely positive. In addition to the available board tools, many teachers are very excited by the use of the RM Easiteach software with the new boards.
The teachers who have them are very pleased. Those that do not are very curious and anxious to get one in their classroom soon.
If all goes well, all teachers in the district will have one before the end of this school year.
Apple has unleashed its latest operating system, Mac OS X Snow Leopard. I haven’t received my copy yet, but New York Times Technology Columist David Pogue has. Check out his article “Apple’s Sleek Upgrade.”
Mr. Pogue appears to be impressed and encouraged by the new OS, and apparently encountered a minimal amount of problems with 3rd party software packages as a result of the upgrade.
I anticipate receiving my update in the next few days and will be checking it out.
Of course, I will be looking very closely at how it works with the eno driver, as well.