By now I’m sure you’ve heard the term interactive whiteboard or digital whiteboard – especially in this new age of modern education with distance learning and hybrid learning environments. Some of you have probably used an interactive whiteboard. If you have then you know that this technology can help leverage group learning, content sharing, and team collaboration in classrooms and the workplace.

Using these tools helps reimagine participation, lesson planning, productivity, and knowledge acquisition in today’s learning environments. The ever-changing reality has impacted the way we look at available online and offline tools. It’s important for students and employees alike to collaborate in various hybrid configurations. But what exactly is a digital whiteboard? How is a digital whiteboard different from interactive, online, or analog ones? Keep reading to learn more about digital whiteboards and their key features!

teacher and student using digital whiteboard in class

What is a Digital Whiteboard?

Also referred to as a virtual or online whiteboard, a digital whiteboard is a software solution that replicates the functions of an analog whiteboard. Put simply, it’s a whiteboard you can use on a computer, smartphone, tablet, or any compatible electronic device. All that you share in a classroom or during a meeting, others can view in real-time or later online. The most advanced software offers graphic and annotation features and can even integrate a broad range of media such as videos, interactive content, or 3D models.

The digital whiteboard, in other words, is a content-rich interactive platform that everyone has access to at any point. All students and team members feel included in the lesson at any stage of the project regardless of their location. Everything that participants create can be easily saved, so you can finally say goodbye to notebooks, pencil sharpeners, or pens. With a digital whiteboard, everyone is always prepared.  The concept of digital whiteboarding is deeply rooted in the education world. However, similar solutions have become increasingly popular in the workplace. In the office setting, you’d call them “online whiteboards” or “digital whiteboarding apps.”

Key Features of Digital Whiteboards

Digital whiteboards are tools designed to present, interact, and collaborate. Contrary to their analog counterparts, they offer a bunch of features that foster engagement and bolster preparation.

  1. Access your files from anywhere: The best digital whiteboards have the possibility to save to cloud storage everything that’s been displayed on-screen. Online access to files offers unparalleled peace of mind and convenience for all. It facilitates business meetings, project updates, and distance or hybrid learning. As participants, trainees, or collaborators don’t feel the pressure of noting everything down first, they can utilize newfound time and energy to actively focus on the lesson or task at hand.
  1. Engage, connect, and interact: Our lives are strongly connected to digital reality, and that only expands with engaging visual content. Videos, pictures, 3D drawings, or diagrams increase performance productivity while making the whole experience more fun for everyone involved. When the students enjoy the class, they pay more attention to the lesson material and retain more of its contents. The teachers, on the other hand, can access a rich content database and plan high-quality, engrossing lessons effortlessly.
  1. Collaborate remotely: With a digital whiteboard, you can also streamline your board in real-time and have everyone participate at the same level. Brainstorming sessions and meeting recordings enhance remote learning and collaboration. Students and colleagues alike can contribute to the ongoing projects by making annotations, uploading their work from home, and redesigning visuals seamlessly across devices. As a consequence, empowered cooperation creates an inclusive ecosystem for those teaching, learning, or working remotely.
  1. Use a variety of media formats: A digital whiteboard encourages applying diverse multimedia. With a few clicks and a connection to the internet, teachers can view online resources, browse the content library, and find information faster. On top of that, they can include animated widgets, 3D models, and sticky notes by directly dropping them on a limitless canvas. Having so many different eye-catching assets truly elevates any collaborative experience from passive observation to active engagement.

Are Digital Whiteboards the Same as Interactive Whiteboards?

While they go hand-in-hand, they’re not exactly the same. A digital whiteboard is the software. An interactive whiteboard (also called an interactive flat-panel display) is the hardware or the physical object you get to literally interact with. In simple words, an interactive whiteboard is a traditional whiteboard taken from meeting rooms and classrooms converted into a huge touch screen display. It is the physical product that allows you to write, touch, and draw while accessing different multimedia instantly. To be able to fully benefit from it, though, you need a compatible program that will allow you to integrate and process all the material you wish. This is where digital whiteboards come into play.

If an interactive whiteboard is the body, then a digital whiteboard is the brain and the mind – the operational headquarters that allow all the processes to happen. You can combine notes, create documents, artworks, lessons, presentations, and later store content on embedded storage or on the cloud. Together, interactive and digital whiteboards create a fully functioning whole. Interactive whiteboards with a built-in online learning platform (digital whiteboard) and infinite canvas offer so much more than traditional analog whiteboards, including greater flexibility. Having a portable whiteboard that doesn’t bind you in time and space creates new ways of collaborating, learning, and teaching since you can simply open it on your phone or laptop wherever you are.

Transform Workplace and Education Environments

Digital whiteboards can transform any setting where people come together to share knowledge and collaborate.

In the workplace, using a digital whiteboard gives way to seamless employee participation – in remote, hybrid, and in-office configurations. Thanks to easy content creation and annotation tools, preparing and presenting becomes less of an issue and more of an asset, especially under tight deadlines. This virtual platform is also very useful when team members are scattered across countries or time zones.

In education, digital whiteboards are revolutionizing EdTech solutions. It fosters engagement, attention, and focus. Any lesson topic can now be visualized, gamified, and presented in breathtaking ways. The classroom use of such online sharing platforms also cultivates digital citizenship. Furthermore, it helps develop skills needed for future-facing jobs in STEAM areas (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) or design.

If you’re looking for something tried-and-tested, one of the tools you could go for is ViewSonic’s myViewBoard, a visual learning platform that streamlines lesson planning and evaluation methods. With a rich content library called Originals, it boasts premade lessons, interactive backgrounds, and games. Template teaching materials and quizzes on a vast selection of topics empower efficient preparation, presentation, and participation. As a result, teachers have less work to do, and students get to engage more deeply through gamified content on an infinite canvas.

Another interesting about myViewBoard is a cross-platform Open Learning Format (OLF). Usually, whiteboard files are tied to one device or software and do not allow any additional integration. Outdated or non-flexible media formats limit schools’ or offices’ capacity to adapt to the ever-changing digital landscape. ViewSonic’s OLF future-proofs modern classrooms by allowing all available media types, for swift work on Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and the web.

In these exciting times, collaboration and learning are becoming more efficient, fun, and convenient for all kinds of learning and working environments. Digital whiteboards pave the way for modern workplaces, classrooms, and collaborative spaces.  If you’re interested in learning more about how you can transform your work or education environment, let us help! Give us a call at 800-727-6383 or connect with online.

(From the editor: This article was originally published on ViewSonic Library.)