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.”
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.
As stated in a previous post, the decision has been made to move forward with an ambitious plan to implement over 500 Polyvision eno interactive whiteboards.
This decision was not arrived at without much contemplation and evaluation. Other whiteboards were considered and thoroughly researched and tested. Boards from Promethean, Hitatchi, Mimio and 3M, among others, were also researched. The decision not to go with products from one of these manufacturers is in no way meant to reflect a bad experience with any of the products researched and tested. In fact, with little exception, all of the boards tested performed extremely well. Instead, the decision is based solely upon the strengths of eno.
Aside from the incredible durability factor of the eno, there are a number of other very impressive features. For starters, through its unique design, the eno interactive whiteboard contains no electronics components. This leaves no room for mechanical failures. As the Polyvision representatives were quick to point out, if (they say “if” because the product is new and therefore doesn’t have a track record) there should ever be any problems, the board and stylus can be swapped out separately. Again, the boards come with an unprecedented “lifetime warranty.”
The eno package includes the board and a teacher’s kit. The kit contains a bluetooth dongle and a stylus, along with replacement stylus points and batteries. The stylus, or more precisely, the pen, is by far the best of all that were sampled. Using this pen is more like writing with a pen on paper, than any of the devices from other manufacturers. Unlike other packages, the eno does not smear a line across the board when the outside of your hand leans against the board while writing, which happens quite frequently. Children will also feel more comfortable with this pen because using it more closely resembles holding the pen as they are taught to write with pen or pencil on paper, when first learning to write.
The software that comes with the eno is RM Easiteach software from RM Education. Armed with this software and the online resources that go along with it, a teacher can bring the classroom to life. To further prepare teachers, the Professional Developers from Polyvision are available to help. Arguments can be made that the “notebook” software from SMART is more readily identified as the industry standard. Polyvision reps will counter that the notebook software does work with the eno. They are correct. It does work, but at this time it does not offer the same Flash component functionality.
Often when teachers are told they are the lucky recipient of a new interactive whiteboard for their classroom, they inevitably bemoan that they do not want to lose valuable chalk board space. Fear not! The eno can be written on regularly with dry erase markers. Other boards make the same claim but come up short in this area. Often dry erase markers will leave behind a residue that can even permanently stain the boards.
For all the wonderful things uncovered about the eno in testing, this package is not without some issues of its own. As mentioned earlier, there are some software issues that will likely be improved as time goes on. While the ceramic design and lack of electronics in the board provide durability, they also prevent interaction without the stylus. A teacher or student cannot simply use their finger to work with the board. This is more of an issue in the primary grades.
There is also some concern about the battery life of the stylus. Further, since the stylus is integral and extremely portable, there is an obvious concern about loss or theft.
While the eno presents a solid new approach to interactive whiteboards, much remains to be seen about how successful this product will be.